Thursday, June 08, 2006

stranger than fiction

i spent seven of the longest, most miserable months of my life in 1992-93 in baltimore, maryland.
and before i start getting hate mail from baltimore supporters, let me say this - i am sure baltimore is a perfectly nice city. it simply was not the right place for me between October 1992 and April 1993.

and it was mutual.
i did not like baltimore.
baltimore did not like me.

i got to baltimore because of a man.
a man i had met in vail.
a man I thought i was in love with and could not live without.
apparently i was wrong.

he lived in NY.
the company i worked for was transferring me and i had a choice of destinations - so i picked the east coast to be closer to him.
huge life altering mistake.
in the seven months i suffered in baltimore, i saw him once.

while in baltimore, i held two jobs. one with the company that transferred me cross country and another waiting tables at an olive garden in columbia, md. the second job, i enjoyed. the first, not so much.

anyway, on Easter Sunday of 1993, i put my back to that city on the Chesapeake Bay and drove away.
never, ever to return.
good riddance.

but return i did. this week. for my current work.
and it weren't so bad. a few brief stomach turning moments, but i survived...
work was great. demo went beautifully.
had some FABULOUS seafood. soft shell crab, lump crabmeat et al.

so wednesday morning we (my coworker and i) show up at the customer site. meet their team. as usual - very nice, capable, talented people. the young woman in charge of the team is familiar to me. that's pretty common - as i have met so many customers over the years. so i try to place her. ask if she went to our conference in vegas last month. no. has she ever been in any of my classes? no.
hmmm. i am imagining things. oh well.

back to business. we dial up the office in the UK and start the presentation. goes well. really well. so we invite their team out to lunch afterwards. we decided to head down to the Inner harbor for some seafood.

in the car on the way down, their team leader asks if this is our first visit to baltimore. i wasn't really going to volunteer that i had spent 7 hellish months in their lovely city but before i could compose my response, my coworker volunteered that i had actually lived in baltimore once.

i said yes, i lived here, briefly. before moving back home to mississippi.

and this is where it gets good...

so this young woman i had been working with all day - the lead on their team - says to me, "i knew a t_cole once that moved to mississippi. we waited tables together."


"at the olive garden" i almost screamed.

"YES!!!" in unison!

Holy Crap! of all the people in all the buildings in all of downtown baltimore my customer's team lead ends up being someone i waited tables and partied with 13 years earlier?



CP said...


You left with bad memories. You returned because destiny has determined that your memories needed to be changed to happy ones, the kind you deserve.

Hope you can think back on that place now with nothing but smiles.


buddha_girl said...

Prety damn good, I'd say! I LOVE stories like this!

Why the hell didn't my ASS and Kir's ASS travel up to see you while you were on OUR coast? Cripes.

t_cole said...

Thanks CP - I do believe you are right!

BG - it is a good story. i giggled all afternoon as i thought about it!

and it would not have been worth the drive - on these trips i take lately (with vegas being the exception) i am in and out in a day or two.

next time i get close to you guys - i'll let you know and plan to stay a bit longer.

Eve said...

Oh thank GOD. I thought that you were going to say that you ran into the asshole boyfriend?!

Mama Nature wanted you to make amends with Baltimore, which by the way, is a city that I absolutely ADORE ;).

Polyman2 said...

fate is inexorable.

Hi t.

bg's Little Sis said...

they have some great crab up there babe, sorry we missed taking a trip to see ya! Glad it brought the Baltimore experience full circle for you, no city likes to be hated!

lots of love,

Big Pissy said...

GREAT story!

I love when stuff like that happens!

KC said...

I love stories like that. That never seems to happen to me, but my it happens to my boss all the time. He can go anywhere in the US, Mexico, and Canada and run into someone he knows. It's pretty eerie, actually because it happens everytime he travels. Every dang time.

E said...

I too LOVE stories like that! It is SUCH a small world!

cadbury said...

i think stuff like that is a hoot

wonderful story!!!

i was reading an article once about antarctica and found that one of the team leaders of an expidition had the same name and rough age as a childhood friend

a little digging later i had an email and it was him

not so fun as yours - in person, but at least i can relate

Reg said...

It's so nice to hear that people move on from serving jobs to become productive, well-adjusted, contributing members of adult society. It gives me hope.

georgiabelle said...

Ohhh....everyone has said such GREAT things! I totally agree with everyone... you mended your relationship with Baltimore and that's awesome! And, like NWG, I thought you were going to run into that guy, too!!! Like in a movie!
Will you keep up with the Olive Garden girl now, do you think?

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