December 7, 2001
I must have been out of my mind.
A month of so ago I saw the name of an
old friend advertised as a speaker at a conference. It was a
name I hadn't thought about in a long time. Fifteen years ago
I worked for him in a big law office. He was distinguished by
the fact he didn't treat me like the inexperienced goof I no
So I was happy to come across his name
and made a point of looking him up.
As often seems to happen, we had a heck
of a time trying to get together. He's a busy, successful lawyer
and I'm Well, he's a busy, successful lawyer. Not surprisingly
he's very much in demand, and in his business time is literally
money. Other people's money.
I kept suggesting we get together for
lunch. Lunch is a great meal for friends. You can choose from
a wide variety of foods, you can linger or even have a beer if
you have a lot to catch up on. If it turns out your lunch partner
is a bit of a dud, trying to borrow money or wants to spend the
whole time sharing a religious awakening with you, you can always
say you have a pile of work at the office that needs your immediate
attention and skip out.
As it turns out, lunch with my friend
got rescheduled three times. It clearly wasn't going to happen
in spite of our best efforts. That's when my friend said those
three words that send a chill down my spine: "How about
I have two things against breakfast.
First, I don't eat it. My stomach gets up about an hour and a
half after I do, and every day I leave the house with nary a
cornflake inside to get me through to lunch.
The second complaint I have is that business
people who want to have breakfast with you always want to have
it at an ungodly hour. While you can carve a good long lunch
out of the middle of the day, breakfast has to be over by the
time the morning work whistle blows. That means in by seven and
out by eight eight-thirty at the latest - so everyone can
be at their desk by nine. Just so you can have a mumbling, bleary-eyed
business meeting that no one will remember later.
To be anywhere by 7 am means getting
up before 6 and hopping around a dark room on one foot trying
to figure out if a sock is black or blue while trying to not
wake your spouse. I feel the same way about dawn as the bad guys
in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
And business breakfast food is nothing
to write home about. You can either pucker your stomach with
cups of caustic coffee, or sip an $8 thimble full of orange juice
to wash down your muffin and eggs.
In spite of my reservations, my friend
and I set a day and time for breakfast. Of course on the appointed
day I woke up at 7 and realized I only had a hour to shower,
shave, dress and get downtown (in that order). I made it with
a minute to spare.
Except no sign of my friend. When I asked,
the waiter informed me that my friend had been there an hour
before and was already back at his desk. I had got the time wrong.
I felt badly, but at least it taught
him a lesson.
And a week later we had a very nice lunch.