Wednesday, February 20, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I am someone who tells myself and others, I never get sick. Until I do.

It is so annoying to admit that over two weeks ago some germ or other got into my system, and since then I really haven't been running at full speed.

Cold, flu? Who knows, but the main problem has been the cough that will not leave. Many of us at the shop have had the same symptoms, and our customers tell us that they have also been felled by this wicked business.

The germs really did pick a very inconvenient time to come calling. On February 7, I'd planned an experiemental special evening at the shop, inviting long time loyal customers to come in from 6-8 pm, wearing or bearing their favorite vintage garments from our company. We had a lovely buffet of light refreshments and fizzy water and white wine, but best of all, had representatives of the company's design team on hand to meet the customers. In our invitations to the customers we described it as a backstage pass to meet the designers and ask/tell them anything on that they would like.

I felt absolutely rotten that day (could not even wear my absolutely required eye makeup) but the evening was a wonderful success. The customers loved meeting each other, and the designers had a grand opportunity to meet their public, so to speak. I took lots of photos and have written the first of a series of reports on the evening. I think that the company will be replicating this event at other shops in future.

Meanwhile, every time that I have had a day off, I have just slept as much as possible, rallying thereafter to get down to the shop again. Every time that I thought I had banished the bug, it just came back at me again.

But a lovely surprise came last weekend, and would not have happened if I had not been at work.

We are now featuring our spring preview styles, and New York weather is not at all springlike just now. So, along with the incipient economic recession that is sweeping over our land, business is not so good. Many customers now either concentrate on the sale area, or utter those "I am just looking..." words. On the weekends, we have many visitors from abroad and from other parts of the States. We can usually figure out who is not "local."

So. A couple had browsed through the shop, and were on their way out, and as is my habit, I went up to them to say bye, bye, and to offer the lady our most current brochure. As I gave the booklet to her, she turned to me, and said, "I know you. Aren't you Frances ...?"

Well, I am. Thank goodness, she quickly took away the mystery of her own identity and I realized that I was seeing a teenage, college-aged good friend, whom I had not seen in 40 years.
What a marvelous random gift of fate!

We had a grand, if too brief, chat, and exchanged e-mail addresses. I am just stunned that she recognized me! It is really marvelous to now already have been playing catch-up with the e-mail technology, and to re-c0nnect with someone whom I felt I had lost. If I had given in to the flu/cold or whatever has been giving me such grief, I would have missed this lovely reunion.

My lesson learned is that even when you might be feeling sorry for yourself, and doing a bit of moaning, life just might toss you an unexpected bouquet.

Pleasant dreams to all.