Ether-Aunt

In Good Company: A Happy Hour martini at Fuzio's

I never really knew what networking was about until the job market forced me into it.  As a newbie, I thought it was about collecting business cards much like accumulating Facebook friends today.  But after almost 20 years in the workplace, it’s really about making meaningful connections.  When it goes right, it could lead to good things, and at the very least, you are putting yourself out there.

Like meeting anyone for the first time, I go into them with my gut instincts, especially the people you come upon unexpectedly.  These in particular feel like they are created from the ether and act as signposts pointing me in the right direction.  For instance, at one networking function for Music In Schools Today, a local organization that supports music education in public schools, I met a wonderful retiree I will call my New Jersey aunt who lives in Alameda, CA.

For someone who really never had an aunt to speak of growing up, I am pleasantly surprised by these chance meetings with sixtyish women, which might also explain my recent obsession with the TV series, “Murder, She Wrote” starring the ageless Angela Lansbury who played the good-natured mystery sleuth writer Jessica Fletcher.  She was everyone’s aunt, who gave the right kind of advice and support with whatever troubled you.

Women north of 60 don’t have anything to prove because they’ve seen and done it all.  They’re comfortable letting things go and waiting for things to come to them rather than forcing things to happen.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure there’s plenty of effort poured into the things they do, but they make it look so easy, so natural, much like Brenda W., with whom I recently had the pleasure of sharing Happy Hour at Fuzio’s.

She had just come down from work in the tower upstairs and wasn’t going to be hurried, as she deliberately extracted a book from her bag and set it on her lap.  When pressed to order, she politely told the woman behind the bar she wanted to decompress and relax first but went ahead and asked for the white bean dip with chips.  We struck up a conversation that began with where to place her purse at the bar and winded down with family, weekend plans and her intention to see a movie across the way if she felt like it.  In between, I found out she’s a native of Cleveland, OH, which, to a Pittsburgh, PA transplant like myself, is reason to put a stop to things immediately.  But when one has lived in California for years, previous identities fall away, and we’re all simply—for lack of a better word–Californian.

I often end my networking interactions by distributing my business card.  Brenda told me my name sounded like a movie star’s, despite my demurs that show business commonly prefers short and simple, easily identifiable monikers.  But she said who cares because that’s what it sounds like to her–the magical stuff a special aunt who came from the slim seam of the space-time continuum is supposed to say.

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About Rachelle Ayuyang
I am a writer feeding my soul by doing something I love, mining some of the deepest parts of me to dig up gems and sometimes diamonds in that rough.

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