Thursday, January 10, 2008

Deportation with a side o' grape

OK - so I have this rule where I never, ever blog about work. It's sacred. It's protected. It''s the way I pay my mortgage so I figure it's probably best to keep my deviantly sarcastic side far, far away from the possibility of my (gasp) boss reading it. Today, however, I will be blogging about work.

Deep breath.


So I went to Seattle on Tuesday to meet with one of my clients. It was a scheduled trip and I go fairly regularly so my expectation was a nice meeting, some business discussion and a fabulous dinner. This particular client is a blast to hang out with and dinner is quickly reduced to too much wine and a fair amount of giggling.

The problem with this trip is that it also had a serving of deportation, a heaping helping of legelese and a dash of ghetto somalier. The upside was the fact that I got to wash it down with a big ole' glass of grape.

Let's see if I can explain without really to frame story without admitting fault...WAIT! I got it! Pretend I am talking to my husband about lack of funds in bank account...

My company has a business relationship with an individual from Holland who has been helping us with a client in Seattle. After much legal advice seeking we bring said business person into US and he begins his consultination/consultivities/consultyness and all is right with the world. Flash forward to last returns to US from holiday in Holland only to be detained at US customs. I get phone call. Panic and much frantic drinking ensues. Monday arrives - many calls to attorney. One attorney becomes two attorneys. Attorneys disagree. Chose to listen to attorney who seems most lucid - granted that means he is also most likely more expensive, but throw caution (and yearly budget) to the wind due to feelings of guilt.

Fly to Seattle. Passportless Consultinator kindly picks me up at airport. Go directly to Starbucks. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200 (even though I could really use the money to pay for upcoming lawyer bills). Conference call with Consultinator and new, lucid attorney. Get informed that halting deportation is impossible. Scan room for nearest door. Remember I don't have car. Resign self to fate. Pray for alcohol. Angry Consultinator unceremoniously drops me at client offices 3 hours early for client meeting. Sit in lobby with no internet connection playing FreeCell on laptop in attempt to self-medicate.

Meeting time arrives. Discuss business. Shake hands. Meeting over. Meet car and driver (oddly enough WAY cheaper than cab) for ride to hotel. Get in backseat, put on earphones, close eyes for short trip to downtown Seattle. Open eyes in Everett. Inform driver he just drove half an hour in the wrong direction. Close eyes.

Check into hotel. Check email. Raid mini-fridge. Change for dinner.

The client picked the Metropolitan Grill for dinner. It is a fabulous steak house and I am very excited because I haven't actually gotten to eat there. We get our table and are promptly greeted by our waiter. He looks like Vin Diesel. Only heavier. With a beard. And a Brooklyn accent.

"Welcome to The Met. What can I getcha to drink?"

ME: "Wine. I need wine."
CLIENT: "She really needs wine."

"Whatcha celebratin'?"

ME: "I got somebody deported today."
CLIENT: "She's not kidding."

"Really? Just one?

ME: "Day ain't over yet."

At this point I ask about a particular wine and our waiter informs us that he will need to get the somalier to answer our questions. Let me pause at this point to insert the descriptive commentary from one of my fabulous co-workers. It really sets the stage well:

"Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. A NICE dinner. As she’s telling me this story, I envision a thin man with a pensive look in black turtleneck, black jacket. You may think of a European woman who’s been in the back listening to Zazie. I could go so far as to even conjure up a Hemingway-look with a hint of pipe."

OK - you know - a SOMALIER. These guys are slick and polished and...well...FRENCH or something.

Nope. Not MY somalier. Here's how it goes:

S: "You have questions about the wine?"

ME: "Um...yeah. Can you tell me about the Wolf Blass Shiraz?"

S: "Oooohhh. Ah man, dat's a good one. Yeah. It's all, like, fruity."

ME: "Fruity?" I am SOOOOO dubious at this point. "Is it spicy?"

S: "Naw. It ain't all dat spicy. You'll like it. You can taste it. Let me getchyoo sum. It's off the hook." (Somalier exits stage left)

I look at client. Client looks at me.

ME: "That didn't exactly go the way I envisioned."

CLIENT: "No. Not so much."

ME: "Look like we gonna be poppin' the cork and bustin' up wit sum grape up in here. Yo." (Throw gang sign)

As a sidebar - the wine was very good. Full bodied. Not too spicy. Went GREAT with both the filet AND the molten chocolatey thing we ordered for dessert.


MommyTime said...

Hilarious! I would order any wine that a sommalier described as "off the hook," just for the story alone. That it actually tasted good is a great bonus.

Sorry about the deportation.

Unknown said...

It's funny in some language, but not in Dutch !