The past two weeks have been the truest test of my strength and independence since my move to the bottom of the country as I have had to endure both my very first company sales meeting as well as my first sales trip as a Sales Manager respectively in that span of time. It was there that I was forced to grapple with serious life issues such as the definition of “resort casual” dress and what the appropriate etiquette is for a business lunch. With the assistance of others as well as a little fancy footwork with Google I was able to somehow get by without being called out as the impersonator I truly am. Somehow nobody publicly pulled back the curtain revealing that in actuality I am not a seasoned hospitality professional, but really merely an overgrown student shaking in her boots.
In these past weeks I have gained skills pertinent to my career in sales as well as my life happiness. I learned how to craft an effective presentation, how to resolve objections, as well as overcome obstacles, and how to enable a safe environment to conducive to buying behavior. The most important step in my growth came after a very hard day with my boss after I came to the realization that I was completely ill prepared to begin handling the accounts given to me on my own. I spent the night feverishly preparing making myself sick with worry for the appointments I had set the next day. Four hours of sleep and three semi productive appointments later I was feeling weary. I had decided that I would forgo the standard take-out in the frigid hotel room evening and I would treat myself to delicious meal at a well regarded restaurant.
Initially I was unsure if this would cause me more strife or provide me with the release I needed after my emotionally straining days in the recent past. Would I feel awkward dining alone in a restaurant described as “cozy and romantic”? Would I cause other diners to feel sorry for me and my single status? Should I bring myself a book or my laptop? After contemplating these factors I opted to go for it bringing nothing at all, ready to forget my sorrows and focus all of my thoughts and energy on the savory treats I was about to enjoy. Driving to the restaurant I felt strong and empowered. “I am a single independent woman and I will enjoy this dinner for all that it is worth”.
The warm scent of seasoned meats and vegetables welcomed me as I was led to the only table for two in the small 30 person farmhouse-esque restaurant. It was by the window and I was surrounded by jovial families and intimate couples. As I perused the menu it immediately became clear that I would need to order the oyster appetizer. The oysters were lightly poached in a creamy broth with pancetta, Napa cabbage, topped with parmesan and then braised and garnished with a dollop of caviar. They were heavenly to say the least. The oysters were soft and fresh. They were healthy and plump like little sea angels. They melted in my mouth like golden nuggets of joy. With each slurp and slither my stress dissipated into the back stacks of my mind. I stated to myself dreamily that everything that had gone wrong in the past few days was worth it since I was able to eat these oysters. In addition I chose to order what I thought was an entrée composed of lobster, chanterelle mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes, but was actually almost entirely Charr, a delicate flavor fusion of both salmon and trout. When my entrée was presented, my heart sank. Instead of the rouge claws and tail I desired there was precariously balance a blackened piece of fin fish. Although it was tasty and well prepared (although a bit dry despite the shellfish emulsion) it rapidly displaced my residual euphoric feelings from the oysters with feelings of over overindulgence and guilt.
I feel that the most important lesson I learned in the past two weeks is two fold. The first lesson I learned is that you should never feel wary of dining alone, especially if you are an avid people watcher and food fan. But more importantly, I think I finally now grasp the idea of moderation. If I had only ordered my oysters I would have walked away from my restaurant experience in a hazy fog of absolute food obsession. Since I ordered more than what I absolutely needed and desired I left happy but somewhat food logged with food memories slightly muted. Though to some this may seem small, I think my lesson to be an important one that I hope is lasting. And I now I extend this lesson to you, Happy Eating!