My Crazy true life stories...
And what YOU can learn from them...
There is perhaps no better internal thought that a person can have for doing uncomfortable things than, “what do I have to lose?” This story is a PERFECT example of when throwing caution to the wind and living by that simple question turned out AMAZING...
As I boarded the puddle jumper connection from Dallas to El Paso, I was nearly hit in the face twice. The first was an unwelcomed surprise from the backpack of the person boarding in front of me being slung behind their back but the second was a much more welcomed surprise. As I ducked my head under the short entrance of the plane, my eyes immediately locked with a gorgeous red head stewardess and I was caught so by surprise that my thoughts escaped as immediate words...
“Whoa...Hi,” I gave her a large genuine smile which caused her to smirk and blush. I knew this look well...It was on.
As I made my way to my seat, I felt my heart rate rise as I knew that I was going all in on this stewardess. I had made a promise to myself that while on this contract I would get laid on the road. It was my third contract as a sales marketing ambassador for DirecTV and my first traveling contract as a single male. The previous contract I travelled for 6 months but was in a serious relationship throughout. I had already driven from Atlanta to El Paso with a few DirecTV call center stops along the way and I was headed back to El Paso after the holiday break to get the massive 24' box truck loaded with supplies and make my way to the El Paso call center. When I made the promise to myself I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew that I finally had a golden opportunity.
I sat down and smiled at the older woman sitting in the window seat. As there were only two seats on our side, I was next to the aisle. I immediately started a conversation with her. She was very nice and we had great conversation which spanned the duration of our 1.5 hr flight. Of course within that 1.5 hr flight I took every opportunity to chat up, smile, and interact with the pretty flight attendant. As the final passengers sat in their seats, she came down the aisle checking seat belts and closing the overhead bins. I looked directly at her and she smiled broadly back. She was definitely feeling the same butterflies I was feeling.
As luck would have it, her seat during the flight was at the front of the plane facing the passengers. While I was sitting towards the middle of the plane a ways away from her, we were still FORCED to face each other. I made sure to catch her eye any time I caught her looking at me and each and every time we both smiled like 2nd graders experiencing butterflies of attraction for the first time. It was exhilirating. Never had I been on a plane with such a pretty flight attendant in a situation where there was mutual attraction.
The flight progressed and I saw my attendant angel stand and begin beverage service. My palms were sweating as I knew I had to say something good when it was my turn. Since it was such a small plane, my turn came quick.
She smiled at me and I almost froze but caught myself and said, “if I order two vodkas, will you join me?”
She smiled, laughed, and replied, “Oh my god, I would love too.”
“Well...Pull up a chair” I retorted. We both laughed as she handed me orange juice and continued on her way.
As we began our final descent I did the only thing I could think to do. I reached into my laptop bag pulling out a pen and piece of crumpled up paper. I wrote:
if you're in the El Paso area I'd love to get together. Call, text or send your messenger pigeon : ) 305.219.####.
As we began deplaning, my palms were sweating even more profusely as the butterflies felt like they were now flapping their wings in my throat making their way towards my eyeballs. I took a few deep breaths as I grabbed my carry on from the overhead bin and made my way towards the front of the plane. 'Oh my god' I thought as I looked at her talking to the pilot. 'I can't just interrupt their conversation. That would be rude!...But wait, if I don't give her a way of communicating with me then how will there EVER be a chance of us getting together?...Well, what do I have to lose?' As I approached her and the pilot we locked eyes and I held out the piece of paper...
She smiled as she took it. I said...Or mumbled...Or uttered...Or stammered... “It's a shot in the dark...”
I continued on my way, heart racing, palms sweating, and body quivering with nerves and excitement. I didn't care if nothing happened honestly. I took my best shot and now it was in her hands...Literally. A half hour later I had completely forgotten about her as I settled into my drab and boring hotel room. For the next two days life went on like any other call center visit...
It was somewhere around 10am on my second day in the call center in El Paso when I heard my phone go off with a text message. As I was working on some of the tech equipment behind the TV setup, I checked my phone. Holy shit it was her!
The message read;
Hey! I didn't want you to think that I didn't appreciate you giving me the note. It was so sweet and I would totally meet up but I'm stationed in Denver currently. BTW my name is Beth.
Beyond excited, I immediately wrote back;
Wait. Seriously? You're in Denver? Will you be there next week?
Because I'll be there next week! : )
What! You're kidding right?
Nope! It's clearly fate. Now we HAVE to meet!
Absolutely! When are you here?
How about I call you when I finish work today and we'll figure it out?
Holy balls! I couldn't believe my luck! First off I couldn't belive that she actually reached out to me. That's a win in of itself, but to have us be in the same place at the same time...JACKPOT BABY!
The next few days were a LONG few days of work in the call center. The drive from El Paso to Denver was even more grueling as I ran into a blinding snow storm in New Mexico. I didn't even know it snowed in New Mexico, let alone the type that made you end your drive in favor of an overnight hotel stay! The next morning was even more fun as the truck wouldn't start and I had to sort that mess out. I finally got on the road with a 7 hr drive ahead of me. I text Beth to give her an ETA and she replied that she would have dinner ready for me.
The drive proved to be easy and uneventful as there really isn't much of anything on Route 25 in New Mexico and Colorado other than trucker stops and open road. In fact, the only thing that kept me from becoming groggy and pulling over for a nap was the excitement of having this beautiful flight attendant greeting me with a home cooked meal.
Darkness had fallen by the time I made it to Beth's place and it was cold. I mean -3 degrees cold! Keep in mind I was living in Miami at the time and the only winter coat I owned was the DirecTV branded coat I had been thankfully given. I bundled up and walked towards her apartment and to my surprise saw her rushing out to greet me. She was the only thing warming up the current situation. Even hotter than I remembered.
“You didn't have to come out in this weather-
I was cut off by a huge smile and hug that somehow immediately turned into us making out. And yes...Pretty sure icicles were made from our saliva...Too graphic? : )
“Maybe we should take this inside?” I said as we both laughed our ways into the much needed heat of her apartment. There wasn't much more physical action that took place as she lived with 5 other flight attendants and 2 of them showed up as we were eating but the next night she came to my hotel room and let's just say that there wasn't much small talk but a whole lot of pillow talk. : )
The rest of the week I essentially had a girlfriend with an expiration date. It was perfect!
A secondary mantra that I do my best to live by that perhaps helped me in having the stewardess reach out to me is this: “Live your life in rapport and it's an easy life.” What do I mean by this? In other words, talk to people you meet. Take an interest in them. Take an interest in the human condition as a whole. We are ALL much more connected than we are separate from one another regardless of how different you may think someone is from you. I will at some point have a Utopia Life blog on this very topic to dive into how I approach rapport with others. I know what you're thinking- that's great Steve, but why is this relevant? Well unbeknownst to me the nice woman sitting next to me on the plane actually took the time after I handed the stewardess the note to say to her, “you should call him, he's really nice.” Live your live in rapport people! Others go to bat for people they like!
“Angela I am hanging up the phone and I am going for a run. I can't deal with this right now.” I hung up the phone and turned it off as I wrapped my Ipod holder around my arm, cranked up some house music and headed outside into the balmy Maryland summer's night. I needed to clear my head.
I'd had enough of her craziness. Why on earth was I dating my father? Why didn't I head the warnings from my friends? They told me she was nuts but for some reason I didn't listen. Was this a sick joke I was playing on myself? Reliving the chaos of my childhood dealing with a bipolar father in the form of my current girlfriend.
It was July of 2008 and I had been dating Angela for 6 very weird months. In those 6 months I had finalized the lawsuit on the beverage company I had co-founded called Lock+Load, lost a job as a sales manager in which conversations with Cal Ripken were normal , done numerous drug studies up and down the East Coast, produced a bunch of music and DJ'd up and down the East Coast. Come to think of it, my life was as chaotic as my girlfriend's brain. It was like I was the physical manifestation of her mind operating in the external world.
I reentered the apartment after a fairly quick 3 mile run around the golf course and turned my phone on assuming there'd be some sort of Angela shit storm waiting for me. My phone booted up with a steady chorus of dings indicating I had a whole bunch of texts and voice mails. Most of them said some variation of 'call me' but the last one said something that got my attention;
'pelese calll emee did sumthg vry badddd.'
“God damn it” I mumbeld as I called her.
On the about the 5th ring she picked up and whisper mumbled, “Heeelloooo?”
I knew right away she had definitely done something bad. I had been trying to break up with her for the past month but her depressive guilt trips had succesfully kept me entangled in her crazy web. This would prove to be the moment I was afraid of...
"What did you do?” I asked.
“Baaaaaad” she answered.
“WHAT DID YOU DO ANGELA?”
“I did something verrrrry baddd” She replied.
“WHAT DID YOU DO!?”
“Pillllllssss” She slurred.
“You took pills?”
“Yeeeesssss. A lot. And wiiiiine”
“How many pills?” Now I was concerned.
She breathed heavy on the other end attempting to muster up the strength to answer. “Whoooole bottttle.”
“Jesus Angela! Stay on the line. I'm calling 911. Do you hear me? Stay on the fucking line!”
“Oooooookaaaayyy” She breathed into the phone.
I couldn't tell if I was making a phone call or dousing popcorn with salt as I dialed 911. I've been in some pretty bad mental emotional stated before but actually acting on these feelings was something I just couldn't comprehend. I had once called 911 for someone's boyfriend who had been stabbed but never someone I was emotionally involved with, let alone for an attempted. It was just like all those tapes from different shows and documentaries. They answer '911 what's your emergency' and you babble as best you can something they'll comprehend as you can barely make sense of what's going on. I was thankful that at least I had Angela's address memorized because lord knows she wouldn't have been able to provide. I hung up the phone with 911 and switched over to Angela.
“Are you there?”
I heard heavy breathing as she slowly anwered, “yeeeessss.”
“You need to go throw the pills up NOW.”
“Well go try again!”
For the next 10 minutes I listened to her gag and puke. Not the brightest moments of my life nor hers but it took care of the situation as I heard the paramedics arrive to her apartment in the background. I hung up the phone and immediately laid down. This was all too much...
I wish I could say that this was the only time this happened with Angela but when I finally did break up with her, she made another unsuccessful attempt on her life. I suspected this would happen but after talking with multiple friends, it was clear that I needed to move on with my life regardless of the path she chose as a result. Breaking up with her was a VERY hard thing for me to do but it was VERY necessary. Looking back it was as though I needed to go through this experience to somehow rectify my experience in growing up with my father. It was as though I wanted to get closer to bipolar to better understand it. I'm sure that sounds like nonsense to you guys who are reading and it's painful for me to admit but it's my truth.
Also, it's important for us as humans to step back and take a hard look at ourselves after being in a relationship like this. If we don't ask the tough questions like, “why was I attracted to her in the first place and why didn't I listen to my friend's warning about her?” then we can expect to end up repeating the same misstakes over and over. Also, it's so typical that our past subconscious conditioning influences our dating choices that we need to really go deep on our upbringing if we ever expect to attract what will propel us forward in a positive and meaningful way. It's not easy as I've made plenty of bad dating choices but I can tell I'm improving with every dating misstep and I also continue to fine tune what it is I need and want.
At this point you may be thinking that I'm a bit selfish for making this story all about my growth and not acknowledging the attempted suicide. So...If you know someone who says anything at all with regards to suicide or not wanting to live or any variation thereof, take it SERIOUSLY. Tell others and get this person help. Or just lend an ear as best you can. Unfortunately with Angela, she would never give advance warning. She would just act.
As always, I hope you got something from this story...
There are times in life when you have a choice whether to attend an event or gathering that isn't mandatory but may have a very positive influence in your life . It may not even be apparent whether or not the event will have a positive influence but if in your gut you have a feeling it may, you will probably want to listen. This is the story of one such gut feeling...
It was eight a.m. In May of 2007 when my phone reminder started to beep. It was much earlier than I liked to be on the road, but I was ok with it since my follow up visit to “hallway hospital” would end with a pay day. In an effort to fund our personal lives in our quest to get our beverage company Lock+Load off the ground, my business partner and I had been doing non-FDA approved drug studies. Yes...We were Labrats. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. After eyeing the reminder, I quickly called Mike. He didn’t answer so I left a message.
“Hey. I’m headed in for a follow up appointment, but I totally forgot that today is the biz competition. We have to go. It’s important.”
After leaving the follow up appointment almost an hour later, I called Mike again.
“Hey” he answered.
“Did you get my message?”
“Yeah…. Do we really have to go? I mean, we’re not even in the competition.”
I was pissed that he didn’t see the value in going but I had come to expect this from Mike. If it wasn’t on his personal agenda, then it wasn’t a priority. It took another five minutes to convince him, but I got him to reluctantly agree to go.
I arrived back to our apartment a little after 9:30am and quickly changed into business casual attire. Mike was of course running late. I hopped back into my car and made my way down the road to Mike’s apartment.
“Let’s go, let’s go.” I said with an enthusiastic smile on my face.
“I’m coming. Remind me again why we’re going to this thing?” he said in a snide tone.
I wasn’t going to re-sell my position to him, so I gave a short answer.
“It’s called networking Mike.”
Fifteen minutes later we were on the road. The event was scheduled to start at 10am so we would be about a half hour late. I hate being late but better late than never…
We arrived at the University of Maryland business school a little after 10:30am and made our way to the auditorium where the event was being held. As we heard the doors close, I peeked through the glass and did a double take.
“Mike, take a look and tell me what you see.”
He glanced in and then quickly back at me with a wide grin on his face, “That’s awesome!”
There was a spectator holding a bottle of Lock+Load sitting front and center in the auditorium. In his excitement, Mike started to reach for the door. I grabbed his arm.
“Wait for people to start clapping.”
Mike’s emotions had a tendency to grab hold and keep him from realizing what is going on around him. Five minutes later, the clapping started and we made our entrance.
As we sat down, Mike’s attempt at a whisper was more like a dull talking voice, “Holy shit!”
I looked over at him as he pointed towards the podium at the front of the room. Perched on top, were all three flavors of Lock+Load. This was definitely a nice consolation prize for not getting into the competition. I was very glad that we made the trip and it’s not a long shot to say that Mike was too.
Asher Epstein, the Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship addressed the large crowd. “I’d like to welcome everyone to the Second Annual Cupid’s Cup Business Competition. Before we begin, I’ld like to introduce the man who made this event possible. So without futher ado, Founder of Under Armour, Kevin Plank.”
As Kevin made his way to the podium, I was excited to hear what he had to say. I heard his presentation the year before at the first Cup’s Cup and I really enjoyed what he had to say about his core business principles. As the clapping and cheering subsided, I was awestruck when Kevin picked up a bottle of Blue Force Lock+Load, opened it and took a large gulp. Not a good day to forget my camera! I couldn’t believe it. Kevin Plank was one of my business idols and here he was drinking a product that I helped create. This would be like being a new song writer and having Led Zeppelin perform your song. And if you don't know who Led Zeppelin is, stop reading this, open up Youtube, and just start listening...
I looked over at Mike. He was grinning from ear to ear and shaking. I honestly thought he was going to get up out of his seat, run to the front of the auditorium and high five the founder and CEO of Under Armour. I did love him for his intensity.
Kevin gave a really engaging speech much like the year before. I found his humbleness and sincerity remarkable. Most people in his position would have developed large egos. Not Kevin Plank. He actually spoke out against “being on your soap box.”
The event started after Kevin concluded his speech and it took about an hour for all of the contestants to summarize their sales pitches. I don’t remember who won that event nor who the contestants were yet I do remember the year before. It’s funny how current excitement about something else can cloud your memory.
After the winner was announced, there was a catered reception which we utilized to network our product. We had been leaning on the Dingman Center for help, so we ran into numerous people we knew and we were introduced to others.
As we finished eating, we headed back into the auditorium where we ran into Asher.
“Hey guys, how is everything going?” he asked.
“Things are great. We made our first team sale and have been talking with a few potential investors and distributors” Mike replied.
“Wow, sounds like you guys are making some real progress. Come with me guys, I want to introduce you to Kevin”
I couldn’t believe it. I was about to meet my idol. My palms were sweating profusely as we made our way to Kevin Plank who was still standing by the podium talking to a few other people. Asher tapped him on the shoulder while Mike and I stood by waiting anxiously like two kids waiting to get into their favorite concert.
“Kevin, I want you to meet Mike Rosenberg and Steve Wood from Lock+Load.”
Kevin turned towards us with his hand outstretched.
“Pleasure to meet you guys. I like the concept that you’ve got here” he said as he reached for one of the bottles on the podium. Then he moved closer to us as if he was about to share the golden secrets from the business holy grail.
“Now, you guys know as well as I do this shit is all about branding.”
I shit you not, this was his only advice to us. I couldn’t believe that Kevin just dropped his fine tuned CEO social mask and ‘kept it real’ with us.
“Isn’t that right Jeff” Kevin said as he looked over his shoulder at a long blond-haired man who looked like he had spent a lot more time on a surfboard than in a board room. “It’s all about branding.”
“That’s right; without a solid brand, you’ve got nothing.”
“This is Jeff” Kevin introduced. “He came over from Vans where he did all the branding for them.”
After a quick introduction, Kevin and the rest of his Under Armour entourage – apparently under time constraints – rode off on the gold plated horse they came in on.
I had an even greater respect for Kevin Plank. Not only because he’s a ‘man’s man’ but because he is one of the best in the business while still remaining humble and sincere.
What a great day…