Last Thursday I had a chance to stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. I was there for a trade show and took liberty at their first class pool and have a few drinks to enjoy the scenery. I am reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life as the pool was shut down due to lightning in the area which happens regularly. I got a stool by the sports bar and 2 women came up and one ordered a shot of fireball and I said something stupid like, “long day…need the fireball (hehehe)…”. She said, “do you want to go outside and have a drink with us.” I’m in my bathing suit and Eagles t-shirt and said, “sure”.
So we get a table outside and the one lady talks about how she lived in Hong Kong for half a year. The other is more reserved and had recently traveled to New Zealand for the first time outside of the country in her life. Their table was ready and they asked me to join. It seemed unusual but I didn’t care as long as it was a table of 4 and not a table of 2 with a 3rd chair. Chantal orders wine and nachos and Sandy had wine too. I’m being a good listener and hearing about Chantal’s pilot 2nd husband, her kids, and Sandy’s business about insurance adjusting. They ask what I do and I lie and say I’m CEO of a $50 million dollar company. “I wear my bathing suit to throw off the gold diggers.” We’re then joined by 2 others from the show, Reuben and Sam, who work for a drone tech company. Sam’s a babe from Miami. So we shoot the shit and everyone wants to go to dinner. I didn’t want to go to dinner so they went without me and I went to the bar. Here is where it gets interesting.
In my mind, after a few drinks I’m gregarious, honest, and charming. I can hold conversations and ask questions that people are not used to answering. Some people enjoy this about me and it makes others uncomfortable. Sitting at the bar I start by talking to an elder guy who is at the latter years of his career. He tells me about his sales experience, where success lies, and the family he raised. We got along well. Here’s the fun part, accidentally I had my camera on and I recorded 2 hours of these types of interactions. A drunk recollection of a conversation differs greatly from real life so this was an eye opening exercise in what I sound like when I’m 6 beers deep talking to people I’ve never met before.
At one point in the night I was introduced to a girl who was probably 25-30 and good looking. I was able to hear our exact conversation and it was excruciating. I’m probably being hard on myself because hearing yourself is like nails on a chalk board. It went like this:
Her: “Hi Tom, I’m Julie.”
Me: “Hi Julie, what are you doing here?”
Her: “I’m a sales manager for XYZ and have the South Eastern territory”
Me: “Do you hate it?”
Her: “No, I like it.”
Me: “It’s ok if you hate it.”
Her: “I have to go.”
There were some more boring sentences in there but that was the gist. It was painful and that’s because I’m not even sure what I should have said if I was suave and sober. So the evening continues and I can tell by my speech that my brain isn’t working at 100% speed. There are a lot of long pauses filled with “uhhhhhs” and too many “you knows”. When I was there, I didn’t think there was any unusual activity behind these conversations but after hearing them, woof. At one point I’m talking to a branch manager of a roofing supply in Florida and we have some pointless banter until I ask him “whose your team”. He says, “Seattle” and I bring up DK Metcalf and we start naming some players like Shaun Alexander and Marshawn. I say something, “that at least you have Doug Baldwin” and he hasn’t been on the team in 2 years. I start pitching the product my company sells and it is so patchy and clunky that I was cringing throughout. He texted me his business info so it’s not like it goes horribly, I just know it could go better.
This brings me to a conversation that I have no idea how I entered it. I was talking to a hundred millionaire and in our initial greeting I shrugged him off because he doesn’t look like that. I profusely apologized once I realized and he graciously accepted. My inebriated self remembers thinking that the conversation went great because I had the opportunity to go over life details with someone far more successful than myself who grew a business into a “big” business. It was clear though that in my drunk state, the questions weren’t “bad”, they just weren’t polished. They weren’t spoken with precision. This guy was holding a water at a bar with hundreds of people to give you an idea of the type of person I was talking to. The conversation couldn’t have been that bad because he talked to me for 15 minutes, but I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking during it. Was he being helpful or tolerating me? What would he think of me if we meet again?
The final conversation of the night was shooting a shot with a 10 out of 10. She was a blonde rocket and I have no idea how I managed to get myself next to her or even start a conversation. All I can remember, and the recorder was off at this point, was getting into the same type of what do you do introduction and her answering some type of family oriented roofing position. I followed it up with, “yeah, that’s fine, but what is it that you want to do with your life?” She said, “you just asked me that.” I want people to be open with me and some people don’t like to do that with perfect strangers which is completely understandable. I also think it’s possible that they don’t even think that way. With her reply and my lack of signals, I knew I had to call it a night.
The 2 hour recording was helpful to me because it made me hear what I truly sound like instead of only going off memory. It was eye opening because, at times, I sounded like a blithering idiot and others it seemed like likable. I remember enjoying the evening and not making a fool of myself (or so I thought). I’m constantly learning more about alcohol and Jordan Peterson puts it that alcohol doesn’t make you considerably dumber, it makes you care less about the risks involved with life. I find this true but I noticed it reduces the reaction time between speech and brain while making you more error prone. High end, non alcoholics, who chose to drink, have the ability to control this and not get messy. As I’ve aged, I’ve improved but still have a way to go. I opted out of a Tequila shot that night, but still did a poor job eating dinner and drinking water throughout. This experience though continues to give me the confidence moving forward that people are people and the best advice is to keep pushing forward. Feel free to learn from my mistakes.