During the summer of 2006, with W. ruining our favor with the world, the dollar collapsing and my beloved Lakers redefining a tragic "we suck" rebuilding stage, I caught the travel bug. It's not something you can take of Sudafed and sleep it off. It can only be cured by hitting road. Luckily I work for a marketing boutique where I HAVE to travel. Poor me, right? Traveling has come to define me and my perspectives.
Along the road I find myself talking to a lot of people. Anonymity and an outgoing nature is a powerful elixir for mixing tales of truth and allowing perfect strangers to tell you virtually everything about themselves.
Take last Monday on my way to Reno for the Western Fairs Association annual conference. Trust me, I get to more exotic lands usually -- Paris, Dubai, Beirut, London -- but I'll have to save those for another time. Anyway...
...I'm at Burbank Airport, a quick commuter landing strip where I can get through security in less than two hours and usually have time to text and check email.
Monday mornings at the Burbank are special though. Nothing to be taken with a grain of salt. The worker's least favorite day here is "Stripper Monday." No, there aren't shiny metal poles in the center where twentysomethings writhe for tips and trips to the Champagne Room. This is the day where the strippers return home from Vegas after a long weekend working the alcohol-soaked clubs.
As I killed time watching the tight jeans and high heels pass by, I struck up a conversation with my neighbor in wait, a thirtysomething, petite redhead who's Blackberry was glued to her thumbs, that went something like this:
ME: Good news! Flight's on time, got to connect through Vegas. Where are you heading to?
HER: I'm headed to Phoenix from Vegas.
ME: Oh, we you there for business?
HER: Kind of. I'm an exotic dancer.
She was indeed serious. Penelope does this route every week. Every Friday she travels to Sin City and works at the Crazy Horse. Even in this economy she clears $1700 a week in tip. So with gyrating stances and seductive dances, she takes her place on the stage of life, swaying the hips she uses as her lips. She says she's the maker of dreams, or that's how it seems. She has a business degree from Cal State Northridge and in regular clothes she could be your little sister's best friend.
So it hit me right here that finding your niche isn't easy. Penelope found her niche. Dancing her weekends for the pleasure of horny young men and the convention set in exchange for monetary delights.
I wondered if I was prettier would I have to spend those sleepless nights crafting those marketing plans that are dream makers on their own, guiding the visions of corporations and countries. You know, life is strange...and I wouldn't change a thing.