The remembrance has the feel of a potential column, so I guess I will give it a little rein, however much I may dislike old-fart recollections:
By six o'clock I was where I was supposed to be -- standing outside an elevator on an elevated floor of an apartment building overlooking the East River in New York. Rich-folks territory. Rarefied air. There was a single doorway off the landing where I stood -- the one leading to the apartment where I had promised to give a painting estimate. I had promised to be there and I was there, but I was tired.
The day had begun at about 4:30, rolling out of bed, hiking down to a Zen Center I then attended, doing a couple of hours of morning meditation, heading out to a painting job I was in the middle of, working eight hours, returning home for a quick shower and then out the door for the appointment I had made. In my one-man painting business, I had several rules and one of them was to do what I said I was going to do or, if that didn't work, to assume the responsibility for not performing as promised. Over time, it proved to be a good business model: Trust was important.
I stuck out a finger and rang the door bell. I could hear it going off behind the door and almost immediately I heard something else -- a yapping dog. I waited ... and was tired. I could hear the dogs yapping get louder as it, and presumably its owner approached the door.
The door opened.
The dog -- about the size of an American Kennel Club toaster -- yapped wildly, standing at its owner's feet but making protective lunges in my direction. And suddenly, I had had enough and the first words of greeting to this potential customer were:
"Madame, if that dog bites me, I am going to kick it through the window."
Though I said this in an even tone, it was as if I had bitch-slapped the woman. I was fully prepared to see the door slammed in my face but instead the woman became apologetic in the way that dog-owners do when they love their pets and can't quite understand why others would not feel the same. She picked up the dog and invited me in and ....
It was the beginning of a long relationship in which I worked for her and her husband on a number of occasions. They proved to be the exception to the rich-and-entitled-folks rule of thumb in my head... the rich may have the money, but they didn't get rich by being honest and nice and I preferred some semblance of nice and honest in my environment....
Well ... this is too slow-moving. Maybe I'll work on it, maybe not, but I'll keep it as notes....