Actually, it's just one...
But "one reason to love Amex" isn't a very enticing title.
Last night I accidentally, sort of, (I really didn't mean to) crashed an American Express happy hour thing.
About a week ago, my dear friend Jen placed a gigantic bracelet order, and I promised to have them to her by the end of the week. Yesterday morning the bracelets had been wrapped, tagged, and packed, and were ready to be delivered. Even though Jen works downtown and we are surprisingly nearby during the day, we could not work out a time to meet, so Jen mentioned that she would be going out for happy hour after work at the new W Hotel Downtown. I think her exact words were "I'll be going to happy hour around 6 if you want to swing by."
At 6 o'clock I set out in the pouring rain that was being blown sideways by the wind and headed to the W. I normally walk everywhere everyday, especially when the destination is nearby, but last night I decided to take a cab because:
a) there was a monsoon underway, and
b) I had just spent an entire week perfecting 11 bracelets for my friend who is an unwavering supporter of everything I do, attempt to do, and dream about...and the last thing I wanted was for the bracelets in question to be destroyed by the elements, finally proving that she shouldn't really be that supportive, and I am, in fact, not really something to write home about.
Well, there were no cabs last night. None. Not one. Anywhere.
So I walked, using my body to shield the bracelets from the sideways rain. I kept thinking with each step, rain slapping me in the face, "take me, but don't harm the jewelry!" By the time I walked up to the hotel entrance I was a sad, soggy mess, but at least the bracelets were dry! My plan was to dash upstairs, make the delivery, hug my friend and head out.
That clearly didn't happen...
I walk out of the elevator and into this room filled with people in suits, and ties and nice sweaters, looking very pulled together...and dry. Jen comes over to greet me, and at least 50% of the room turns around in tandem and takes in the slightly homeless looking person with whom she was talking...that's when it dawned on me: this wasn't happy hour with the girls....Jen's girlfriends don't work downtown. This was a work happy hour! Jen works with American Express.
I quickly took inventory of what I was wearing: faded black jeggings, vegan lace-up boots (as in not leather...it was raining, people), a very slouchy over-sized striped tee, and a very wet black wool cloche (that's a hat for those of you who aren't well versed in fashion terminology). Wet matted hat hair and a dripping umbrella completed the look. I didn't even have on mascara, for crying out loud.
I must have looked like a maniac.
(Ugh. My mother would just die if she knew that I went out in public looking like that.)
At that point I began contemplating my options:
1. throw the bracelets at Jen and run. I could get the money later.
2. back out slowly without making eye contact...no one would even know I was there.
3. freeze and blend in with the furniture like those bugs that try to blend in with leaves to escape predators....
But Jen convinced me to stay for a glass of wine and promised that we could go sit in another area where I would be less "conspicuous". Well, that lasted for about five seconds and then I was pulled by Jen (and Larry...mostly Larry) into the happy hour with the whole motley crew, where I stayed for at least two hours.
So here is my reason that I love Amex even more now: They are just good people. Hard workers, yes, that goes without saying, but even more importantly, just plain nice. Family men, wives, mothers, twenty and thirty somethings laughing together and sharing stories...the type of people you want to know and be around. Without a moment's hesitation they very kindly invited me (a complete and rather strange looking outsider) to stay and mingle with the group. (I can't say I would have been so inviting if I had seen me...woof.) It speaks volumes for the office culture and the company as a whole...
It was a great way to cap off a very long and exhausting work week. I needed to have a little fun and I always love making new friends.
Thanks to all of you for taking in a wet jewelry-peddling gypsy off the streets and allowing her hang around for a little bit!
Hope to see you all again soon!