Thursday, June 07, 2007

Red Wine

My largest client came to town yesterday. They sent a team of 5 executives from Los Angeles to spend 2 ½ days with me here in Nashville attending a series of meetings I set up with potential distribution partners. I work closely with one of them, and this trip was my chance to get to know others on the team better. The week was just as much about team development as finding a business partner for them.

I had planned for this week for sometime and wanted to make sure everything went well. We had made dinner reservations for Wed night after I picked them up from the airport. It was a chance to get to know each other better and plan for the upcoming 2 days of meetings.

We went to a restaurant in Nashville named The Trace. Everything was off to a wonderful start until a minor gaffe occurred. After buttering my bread with some sort of bright red roasted tomato butter, my butter knife slipped off my plate and painted a bright red blotch on the shirt of the most senior member of my client’s team. A very nice gent that I was sitting next to and trying to get to know better.

He graciously accepted my apology, assured me it would wash right out (I knew better), and we continued our conversation. I noticed the table we were sitting at had extensions that popped out from underneath, and my side of the table gently slopped downwards proving a slight angle that helped my knife slide right off the plate and hit the target. I took note of it and would be more careful the rest of the night.

Things were progressing well until one of the worst things that could happen at a dinner meeting did- and it involved red wine, a brand new blackberry, and cream colored corduroy jeans.

I am part Italian, and as such, I have no choice but to animatedly move my arms and hands about when I talk. It is in the blood. And blood is very closely color matched with a nice 1995 California Pinot Noir.

As my arms flailed about telling a story, my left arm clipped my full wine glass. Not much at all, but enough to send it on its way to the table surface on the sloped edge it sat upon. Everyting moved in slow motion. The screams of horror sounded several pitches lower than normal as they do when tape runs in slo-mo. The glass hit the table..the wine sloshed skyward, the nice man sitting next to me that could end or extend my consulting agreement made his move…and the wine landed. Right on his new blackberry, with shrapnel splashing onto his nice new light colored pants.

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