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About 10 years ago, I was managing a Mortgage Bank. This job not only included the day to day operations but also business development with clients. During this time, I learned that sales meetings revolve around eating. I think this was where I really went overboard in my weight gain from all the heavy restaurant meals.

At one point, I ended up spending a few days in Seattle. I was staying at one of the downtown hotels and from my room, I could see a sign for a restaurant that I wanted to try. The restaurant was at the top of a shopping mall. The building was about 5 stories high and was obviously re-purposed as a shopping mall. It appeared to have been created from some type of former office building and warehouse space.

I went down, squeezed into my compact rental car, and made the drive towards the building. I found access to the mall from the street, into an underground parking garage. The garage went down 3 levels and was pretty dark and (being in Seattle) seemed damp. I found a parking space, climbed out, and went to the elevator.

I pushed the button for the top level of the mall. The elevator moved up to the second underground parking level, stopped, and the door opened. I was face to face with two women dressed in professional clothing who were both around 40 years old. They both looked a bit shocked to see someone on the elevator. I stepped back to allow room for them to get on. One of the women started to move forward, but the other grabbed her arm and said they would wait for the next elevator. I asked, “Are you sure?” and was told that yes, they would wait.

The door shut and, since it was an older elevator, took a few seconds to start moving. I could hear a bit of their discussion. “Did you see that guy? He was scary and I wasn’t going to get on the elevator with him.” It didn’t hurt my feelings because I understand that women in a dark parking garage need to be aware of the situation. They would have no way of knowing what my intentions were. I also understand that as women they needed to follow the instinct and come down on the cautious side. I don’t think I come off like a maniac with a machete but after all, I was 6’3” and somewhere around 500 lbs. Given my size and throw in my dark features, I am sure I have a menacing presence.

I didn’t give much more thought to it. I went to the restaurant and had my dinner. After I finished eating, I went and wandered around the mall. I did a bit of shopping and happened upon an ice cream parlor. I figured I would get myself an ice cream cone and then head back to the hotel for a rousing night of Matlock on TV. I got my ice cream, found the same elevator I rode up on, and pushed the bottom level for the basement parking.

The elevator moved down one floor, and the doors opened up. Once again, I was face to face with the same pair of women. This time they both just moved onto the elevator and hit the button for their parking level. They didn’t appear to have any concerns about me because they both turned their backs and kept on with their discussion. The moved off the elevator and I went to my car.

I started to wonder why they didn’t get the same alarm about me on the way out that they got on the way in. Apparently, you can’t look like Norman Bates welding a knife if you are standing there holding a sugar cone with a double scoop of rainbow sherbet.

Paul

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