I sat in a coffee shop last week, within listening distance of a chiseled man in a grey suit and perfect hair. He was interviewing another man for a job. This second fellow obviously brought his A game to the poker table: I’ll see your $800 suit and immaculate hair and raise you one power tie. After a firm shake and a “hello,” chisel man’s first words were to tell power-tie man how he’d been at the gym at 4:45 that morning. I’ll admit it, he said, I’m intense. He couched it as confession, but I’ve never seen a man so eager to step into the booth. They talked numbers and mergers and acquisitions. After another firm (and slightly awkward) handshake, they parted ways. With all that exchange, I’m not sure if they shared a single truly human word.
It’s easy for me to be smug. I’ve never owned an $800 suit, and hell will freeze over before you find me in the gym at 4:45. My mercury refuses to acknowledge – much less rise to – that intensity level. Yet I’ve had many a conversation where I neither asked for nor offered anything truly real or truly human. I can breeze in and out of a space with the best of them. But what do I miss with that shortsightedness? I hope I see chisel man again. I’d like to ask him what he finds so fascinating with pre-dawn sweat and how he keeps that beautiful jet-black mane in impeccable shape.