I was at a meeting in downtown Washington DC yesterday, and someone said something to me that I found amusing.
Setting: auditorium where people are gathering to listen to presentations that are rather geeky, but in my field. I was invited to join the panel as a “respondent,” meaning that after the speakers completed their presentations, I would join three people from other agencies to respond and engage a dialogue.
I was wearing the requisite jacket and tie, dress slacks, and a good-looking pair of black Lucchese hornback caiman boots.
Out of the blue, a gentleman came up to me and said,
“Oh, you’re that smiling boot guy.”
Well, of course, I smiled back and shook his hand as he extended his greeting. But I didn’t know this man. He caught himself and said,
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself first. I’m (so-and-so from such-and-such agency.) I heard you were going to be here and I wanted to meet you. A (mutual friend/colleague) told me to seek you out. He said that I could find you because of two things — you always smile, and you wear boots.”
We had a pleasant conversation while people were gathering. I also spoke with other colleagues who I knew and then settled to listen to the presentations. I then joined my three other colleagues on the stage for our response and dialogue. The way we were seated with no table skirt and at the low end of the room where the stage was, my boots were easy to spot from the audience.
What was even more amusing to me was that some colleagues back in my office viewed the session on-line as it was broadcast on the internet, and my colleagues told me when I returned to the office that my boots “looked cool — so much better than those drab black dress shoes that (the other guys) were wearing.”
Well, it’s nice to be known for my smile. And the boots. Always the boots. Even in a suit in drab ol’ Washington, DC.
[N.B.: no photos of these boots yet on my website. I have not had time to do a photo shoot and post a page.]
Life is short: smile! Your smile may very well be the only sunshine other people see today!