Nice People, They Exist

My writing has not been consistent. I have spurts of it where it flows and I find it therapeutic. I have little notes of blog topics I’ve been meaning to hammer out. And yet, I have not covered all of them.

There is one large topic, however, that I have consistently pushed out. I was too worried I’d leave something out. Which is ridiculous.  Just write Irene!

Yes, yes. That’s what writing outlines are for and revisions. But no. When I blog I just sit down and content spills out. English teachers everywhere are retching.

Earlier this summer I visited back east. I was home for a moment in time visiting friends I hadn’t seen in twenty years.

Twenty years is a long time. I was happy to have hit (some of) my fitness goals and was feeling sassy. Following what can only be described as an epic weekend of raunchy behavior I had a morning meeting scheduled with my friend Peter Shankman. (Peter is a very important person, I just know him as a very nice guy.)

My morning meeting was in mid-town Manhattan.

I went to school in Long Island at the end of the Ronkonkoma line. Which is exactly one hour and fifteen minutes to Penn Station (assuming no delays).

Oh blessed Long Island Rail Road, how I detest you and your monotonous station announcements. Up bright and early to meet for a 9am coffee I caught an ungodly train at 6 something.

I had asked Peter for some time on his calendar. My interest in seeing him was to say hello, hear about the baby and hopefully rub the proverbial budda belly. I was ready to make some fundamental changes in my life and knew his optimistic smile would serve me well.

How do I know Peter? We met thirteen years ago when he organized a sky diving event during the dot com era. It was his first ever sky dive. As I watched this wacky dude running around with more energy than a fireball I had to chuckle. Two bus loads filled with different IT geeks jumped out the sky all day long and had a good time of it.

Fast forward to present time and I live in Phoenix. I saw Peter earlier this year when he came to jump in Phoenix. More than a decade had passed and he was basically the same. Just a super nice guy. Funnier than heck and ever so giving. I howled over dinner. At the restaurant he was up for taking a ride down the slide. Yes, the slide. Peter got right in line with the five and under crowd and slid down.

As I waited in Starbucks Peter emailed and asked if I could meet upstairs at his apartment. (His nanny was running late.) In his stunning apartment I met the infamous Nasa and his lovely family.

As we walked to an outdoor roof deck I realized how tight Peter’s time was that morning. I have no idea why he kept the meeting. There was a goof with scheduling. The meeting should have been downtown (if at all). But no, he kept the time on his calendar.

As we set looking out on the incredible views of midtown Manhattan Peter was completely present. His phone didn’t distract him as many are today. He was there listening to me.

We exchanged pleasantries. And then Peter surprised me. More like floored me.

He leaned forward, rested his chin on his palms and with his bright blue eyes wide open asked,

“How can I help you? What can I do for you?”

Me? What?

Wait.

In the midst of everything you have going on, you have time to do this for me?

As my pea brain burped, my mouth opened and closed for a bit. Then I answered directly and more honestly than I have to anyone. It just felt comfortable. Peter asked insightful questions. The personal and career advice seemed natural next steps.  And then he offered additional resources. (Where did he find the time?)

Later I learned he was in the midst of starting another company.

And yet, he made the time to do this for me. Someone he met thirteen years ago.

A month later I asked for a hail mary favor. I almost didn’t ask given how generous Peter had already been. However it was a challenging time. Peter in his overly attentive fashion responded almost immediately. I can’t thank him enough.

Peter Shankman is above and beyond a nice guy.

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