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A Beer and a Shot

October 14, 2007

About an hour before the start of the fundraiser in honor of the late Tom Wales, I quickly downed a beer and a shot of cheap vodka. My invitation was the result of Amy and I sharing a small office together – Amy is the daughter of Tom. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney who was gunned down in his home on October 11, 2001 – his murder remains unsolved.

I didn’t want to go to this event. It was formal, it was on a beautiful Saturday night, and it was downtown. Parking would be a nightmare. My apathy for the event is the reason for the beer and a shot – get a little loose before I started to mingle with near strangers.

I got to the fundraiser and I saw it was a cash bar. Shit. I would definitely need a drink and I had forgotten cash. I asked a hotel employee where the closest ATM was and he said that he would show me where it was located. I followed him as we cut through another event at the hotel – a swanky auction with notable Seattleites. As we weaved, excused ourselves, and cut through the wealthiest of Seattle folk, I see former Governor Gary Locke walking towards me. I nod at him and he nods back at me. This exchange was missed on the less than graceful hotel employee.

I order a martini, make small talk with my tablemates and enjoy the best piece of chicken I had ever had. I was seated next to a good-looking girl named Ainsley. I had met her before at a political event – she is Gregoire’s fundraiser. Throughout the night, she gave me Husky football updates while she checked her BlackBerry a thousand times. Her cuticle was raw from the constant rubbing against her manicured nails – I guess that nervous tick is a consequence of politics and 16 hour days.

After the event wrapped up, I started talking to some Evans School Alums. And then I was introduced to a girl who just started her first year in the program. We started talking about the Peace Corps, past professors, our backgrounds, politics and before I knew it, she asked me for my phone number. Before she asked me for my number, I didn’t even see her as anything more than a person I met randomly at an event. After she asked, I saw her as someone who I would like to get to know better. We continued to talk. The event had cleared out and the banquet staff were the only other people around.

As I talked to her, there was a connection. She laughed at my stories, my insight at school, and I found her very enjoyable. The clock on the wall showed that we had been talking for a half hour. The conversation moved on to race and she told me that she was Filipino. That is when she dropped the dreaded “B” word. “Everyone tells my boyfriend and me that we are going to have beautiful children.” I honestly didn’t hear the next minute of what she said – I was trying to recover from that statement. As we continued to talk and I tried to mask my disappointment. Her ride came back into the ballroom and she said goodbye. I held my hand out to give her a handshake and she said that she we were past handshakes and she gave me a hug. As we parted, she yelled back at me and said that we would have to hang out sometime soon.

As I rode the escalator down of the Sheridan Hotel, I smiled – Because I just realized that her name is Marisa and the irony of that was not lost on me.

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