I realized this week that I will never be sophisticated or cool.
Yes, I’m sure if you know me you are thinking, “No kidding.”
But after 15-plus years practicing law at a big-city law firm, I was still holding out hope. I mean, my colleagues and clients are a lot of well educated, smart, sophisticated, cool people, and I thought perhaps someday some of it would rub off on this small town girl.
This week I traveled to New York City to attend a charity function with clients. The gala (dress code “festive cocktail attire”–what in the world does that mean!?) took place in the Grand Ballroom of the venerable and historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue, so that’s where my firm’s travel person booked my room for the night (at the corporate discount rate, of course).
I’ve traveled a fair amount since becoming a lawyer, and have had the privilege of staying in some beautiful hotels. I don’t really ever get used to it. I certainly don’t take it for granted. I do, however, try not to gawk or to act like the hick that I am.
But when I walked in to the Waldorf’s ornate, beautiful lobby, I started to cry. It took a few moments for me to compose myself enough to check in. It was more than the elegance, beauty, and imposing size of the place. I simply felt overwhelmed by the fact that this truck driver’s daughter was staying at this grand hotel where kings and presidents and notables from all over the world have stayed. I felt incredibly grateful for all God has done in my life from the time I was that little girl growing up in western Washington’s tiny logging towns.
Add to that my status as an Extreme History Nerd. I kept thinking, “I am walking through the very same lobby where world leaders and celebrities have walked, in a place where people have come to make history.” It almost made me feel giddy to imagine what it was like to be those people in that place. I wandered around enjoying the beauty and the atmosphere, watching people moving through the lobby, gathering in groups to talk, and I imagined their stories. I reveled in the displays, tucked into a corner of the immense lobby, of historic Waldorf furnishings, dishes, menus, and photos, chronicling the hotel’s front-and-center role in the city’s and world’s life. Sigh. (I’m thinking there will be a Waldorf-set scene, or a whole story, in a book I write someday.)
Anyway, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m too much of a nerd, and still too awed by places like the Waldorf=Astoria, to ever qualify as cool. But I’m okay with that. I’d rather be awed and grateful than sophisticated and complacent any day. It was a blessing to be part of that world for a day.
By the way, the charity that was benefitted by the gala I attended is Project Sunshine, a program that provides support and services for pediatric patients and their parents. A worthwhile cause if ever I’ve seen one. Check it out here, and consider getting involved.