Luck is Good
Ten more minutes:
After the World Cup Final, I trekked over to the Rio to railbird the GLOBs (Gorgeous Ladies of Blogging) in the women's WSOP event, still horribly hungover, and honestly, I'm the worst railbird ever 'cause the room was crowded and hot and I just couldn't stand there without waves of nausea threatening to overtake me. So I went back into the Rio proper to buy something for AJ. On my way back, I stopped at the various hospitality suites to pick up some free swag.
The first was Poker Stars and I noticed a line about 20 deep waiting for an audience with Greg Raymer. I wouldn't mind a handshake and commemorative photo with the '05 champ and all-around good guy, but I sure as hell wasn't standing in line for one. The day I stand in line for an autograph is the same day I kill myself, especially with a pissed off head and stomach. I skirted the queue and got my t-shirt and tote bag, when a head of luxurious brown hair flashed in my peripheral vision. There, seated on a white leather couch, was Isabelle herself. Mere feet from where I stood. And there was no line.
I walked up calmly enough (hangover stilled my nerve, I guess) and greeted her, mentioning that those 20 suckers over there were lined up to see the wrong person (I still got it). She smiled and shook my hand, no double kiss, and asked my name. I gave it, causing the other inexplicably sexy woman on the couch to make a lame joke about my name that I've heard a million times before, a fact of which I appraised her, trying to sound jovial, but likely coming off as snide due to my general uncomfortableness in the company of strange, stunning women.
The whole scene reminded me of this girl I used to have a massive crush on about 15 years ago. She was a co-worker and, at the time, I believed her firmly out of my league. She was somewhat petite, with huge brown eyes and dark hair, a working man's Winona Ryder (circa "Heathers"), complete with the impressive chest. I was wholly infatuated and could barely get a sentence out every time I had dealings with her.
One time, I had done some work for her and delivered it to her desk. "Thank you," she said and instantaneously I was stuck for a response. Seems pretty easy, yes? but I couldn't find anything to say in those agonizing seconds. "My pleasure?" A little flowery. A simple "You're welcome?" Boring. "No sweat?" Hey, there ya go, informal, stand-offish, I'm a cool guy, playing it off and I'm TOTALLY not touching myself inappropriately to thoughts of you three times a week. So, finally, I responded,
That's right honey, please to enjoy my own personal perspiration.
I stood there, shifting from foot to foot as Isabelle signed my T-shirt. I was less self-conscious than I was scanning my vocabulary for something fancy to say. Nothing came to mind and I could really only stare at her thin fingers as she wrote. She stood, handed me the prize and said, "Thank you." I laughed a bit then, searching for a response, something to make me stand out, something that made actual sense.
"Good luck, Isabelle," I said.
"Luck is good," she responded.
Maybe I didn't stand out. But she hardly shrunk away in horror or looked at me as if I'd dropped from another galaxy. I'm gonna take that as a good sign. Certainly a step above offering her the dampness in my armpits, which, incidentally, smelled like vodka and grapefruit juice.