The Difference Is Time
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
October 2010
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
October 2010
Hope springs eternal in the human breast ~ A. Pope Alexander Pope just didn’t understand women. How can one have anything springing when the boobs drag along the ground if let free and wild? My hope was dashed when my breast reached a great size for about 4 days and then naughty Newton’s creation, gravity took over. I was never a Hot One. I was back in the pack trying to see how I could salvage myself. Just as I thought I was making it to the breakout zone, I hit the ejection chute of forty-something. It wasn’t the gray hair. It was that the hair wanted to stick straight out like a wire. It wasn’t that my tummy, chin and mammary glands turned into an artistic portrayal of Mother Earth Goddess. It was that the plumbing gifts of Mother Nature no longer worked. It wasn’t that men were off chasing boy toys. It was that the sensitive ones who cared about the Inner Woman turned out to have “life partners” at home. I was a Mistress of the Universe who never traveled well. I desired to be one of those business babes who could do it all with one Louis Vitton satchel. I traveled like a bag lady with brief case, blueprint tubes, and garment bag trying to balance a few manuals. Each trip became a challenge to pare down and sophisticate up. Of course, I’m sure my colleagues never thought that. I had crossed the threshold. I was a comer - a contender. The executive suites’ heavy oak paneled doors were not barricades. They were just another pair of doors. The first time through those doors was a Dorothy-in-Oz experience. The carpet was Berber. The furniture was Chippendale and upholstered in leather or raw silk. The coffee was French roast, served in bone china. The Assistants were somberly dressed with a bit of white ruff at the neck and with perfectly coiffed hair. No phones jangled. Conversations were in the hushed tones of a museum. Discussions were never about the mundane. Here gathered the strategists. Out of this sanctuary of business, there was a sense of deference from those who were stopped by those imposing doors. They paid quiet respect to that odor of business sanctity that came with knowing how the executives took their coffee and with having executives knowing how you spent your weekend. A sense of entitlement led to an ease of magical occurrences, now wisps of memory. The line was longer than usual that noontime. I was between meetings and my bag was at my desk. Before I stopped by the food court, I patted my pocket and felt the crinkle of a bill. Good, a few moments saved and lunch today. The meal of a fresh spinach salad and a small baguette of French bread was rung up. My hand slipped into my pocket. That 5 dollar bill was pink, a message waiting slip. The sharp small in-bound gasp almost turned into the refined version of “Oh, shit.” Almost because there was a hand on my shoulder and a gleeful voice chuckling, “could you use a small loan?” It was the corporate CEO extending funds for the small feast. The plane was met by the corporate Bentley. Through heavy sleep deprived eyelids, the English countryside drifted by in a streak of greenery and misty rain. The trip ended at the corporate cottage, a Georgian-styled manor house. Luggage not seen since landing appeared at the door of the turret suite with its high poster bed, beckoning ball and claw tub and warmed Egyptian cotton towels. A bouquet of English wildflowers weighed down a small note of welcome and the day’s first schedule of meetings. Time enough for a hot bath, a bit of luncheon and a refreshing nap before the first gathering of the international business review with formal dinner and drinks to follow. A knock at the door and a quiet voice asked if I had any clothes needed to be serviced. Later, as I was dressing for the meeting, I glanced out of my window. The late afternoon shadows played across formal gardens and rose-covered brick walls. In the distance, a small group wandered out from a tamed dark woodland. Days of meetings and nights of civilized 7 course dining ended with port, cigars ( I was offered English cigarettes,) Liar’s Dice and nightcaps in the upper parlor. The last evening the General Manager’s assistant did me the high terror of sitting me in the place of honor to the side of the Managing Director. We discussed world history and American brashness. I kept saying my etiquette prayers to Emily Post. Yes, I was a former contender. But I peaked too early and slid from the “not enough gray hairs” to the ex-young Turk rejection ramp. I knew I was in trouble when most of my conversations began with ”When...” I am now in the role of transformation. It doesn’t pay as well and the perks are non-existent, but there is a soul-satisfaction. No more walking the hushed halls of business barons, I sit on my porch. The view is no longer from an office overlooking manicured lawns, it is of lake, old growth forest, reeling hawks, and distant green hills. My schedule is set by the dictates of my physical condition. My spirit delights in meditation and writing. My brain is making the shift from being a left-brained engineer to a right-brain philosopher. I have come to the realization that I am no longer a “former.” I am a “future.” And, Mr. Pope, hope does not spring eternal. It flourishes only in the now.

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