What does friendship mean to you? Is it defined by the financial gain you earn from it or is it because you just genuinely like that human being and they make you laugh? In this particular relationship, everything was measured by a persons usefulness in his eyes. I know he did not like the friends I surrounded myself with because they weren’t good enough for him, whatever that means. The only people he could relate to were his family back in Pittsburgh. I think back on this time in my life and try to remember one friend he ever made and I cannot think of one. The people around us were there because of me. I had an eclectic group of friends and it brought me a lot of joy. Yes, I am taking all that credit.
We had made it to about 18 months when he announced that he had won Salesman of the Year for his company. Wow! Yes I was very excited and proud of him! He worked for a huge company so this was a big deal. In order to receive his award he would have to attend the annual sales award conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. I asked if I could go and he said no. I was hurt (but what else is new). I cannot remember his reasons why I could not attend and he went about his business of becoming J.R. Ewing. The award banquet was about a month away so I just put it out of my mind and figured it was business as usual. I’m his wife. He’s winning this huge award and I am not included.
I am not sure what went down with the president of the company but the week leading up to West Palm he was in San Francisco on business and he called me and said that I was asked to attend the awards banquet by the president of the company and I should book a flight from Los Angeles and he would fly in from San Fran. What? You want me to go now? His response was something like “I wasn’t planning on taking you but the president explained that my wife should be attending this so that’s why you are going.” Wow. I guess it’s obvious to a lot of people. He didn’t sound excited to have me joining him but I quickly booked a flight and headed to West Palm three days later. It happened that fast. I love to travel! I have never been to West Palm Beach so I was super excited to see what that world was all about. I was anxious to meet the man that insisted I attend and try to dial in on my husband’s world a little bit.
Let me give you a little background about me. I was raised to be a lady and my father was the master in social settings. Whenever we attended any event we just planned on a long day because he made sure he personally said hello and good-bye to every single person. We were always the last ones to leave. I learned my socializing skill set from him. He was gracious and kind and I thank him for those lessons. He always introduced me to anyone he was speaking with and I learned to shake hands and greet people at a young age. I believe in saying hello. You never know what you will learn about strangers when you lean in and start a conversation. I was not intimidated about this trip. I was ready!
From the Pacific to the Atlantic in one day. This little fish was happy! I am out of my environment! Flying in at night over Palm Beach is beautiful. I landed, took a taxi to the hotel and checked into our posh room. It would be hours before he arrived so I headed to the lobby to see who I could meet. Guess who greeted me first? Yes, the president. I do not know how he knew who I was but he and his wife immediately saw me and made the introduction. They were lovely people. He went on to say how happy he was that I could join everyone. This truly meant a lot to me. I became fast friends with his wife and she graciously introduced me to everyone else. She then proceeded to lay out our agenda for the next few days as the men would be in meetings most of the day. We were going shopping somewhere fabulous one afternoon and then poolside the rest of the time. Shopping? I know I will not be buying anything because let’s review. He controls the money. I wish I could remember the name of this beautiful shopping experience and I wish I could go back because it’s just a blur in my mind now. None the less, a plan had been made and I was included. After spending several hours with everyone I knew he would be arriving soon and I was instructed to be back at the room when he got there, so I excused myself and headed to my perch to wait for him. When he finally arrived I told him all my exciting news of how I met his boss and his wife and all these wonderful people. I also gave him my agenda and he looked at me like “YOU are hanging out with the president’s wife?” YES I AM.
We did exactly what she said we would do. It was like she was a mother hen watching over me the entire time. I watched her and the other wives shop like it was nothing. I was secretly rooting them on because it felt very powerful to see women dropping money like it didn’t matter…and it didn’t. I just watched. It was the Rodeo Drive of Florida and it was spectacular. I could not spend any money but they never made me feel less than them. They invited me into their world but were never condescending and that was the best example of how you can be filthy rich and not be an asshole about it. I had such a great time with these ladies. Once we got back to the hotel she announced that I was to meet them at the pool for the rest of the day. I did as instructed and after three days with these women, I was probably better liked than him. All they did was talk about me because I heard the reports. Remember, this was a competition not a relationship. This was probably why he did not want me to attend. People like me. You see, I am a nice person. I will never forget these women and before this marriage was over, I was on the cusp of living this life too.
I think that friendships can be moments in time that are brief or they can last a lifetime. Either way, friendships should be handled with equal care and you appreciate that person and moment that you are connected. In my world, friendships are not about how you can get me to the next level. My friends mean more than that to me. I hold onto them forever. I know he never thought I could blend in, but then again I never got enough credit. I do not remember their names but I will never forget how kind they were to me.
Upon our return to California he decided that he was going to outsmart his employer and he was forming his own LLC and he would start to build his own empire behind their backs. Great. Those friendships I had just formed would now go away and we would never be in that social setting again. LOL. Why not? J.R. Ewing has arrived.