I get up at 5am to drive my son to his cello lessons in Chicago. On Saturday he’s in lessons for four hours. I wake him and he says, “No. It’s too early. It’s too hard to drive to Chicago all the time. I can’t do it.”
I don’t say anything. I sit on the side of the bed, in the dark, and I can’t force a seven-year-old to drive sixteen hours a week for cello. This is crazy. I can’t do it.
My son glances over at me from his squishy warm pillow. I decide I’ll let him sleep.
Then he throws off the covers, bounds out of bed and says, “I’m just like the kids in the video! I have to work hard if I want to be great! All great artists suffer! I have to suffer on the drive! Let’s go!”
In the car, my son watches the The Rachel Zoe Project. I have learned so much about the fashion industry from that show, like when you’re picking a dress for the Oscars, you don’t try the dresses on, a body double does.
I can understand that. Getting dressed is hard work. Which is why I’m in the car in my pajamas. I get dressed on the way to Chicago. At stop lights. Not that we have a stoplight for the first hour of the drive. We live an hour from a stoplight. So, you can imagine, when you live that far from civilization, it’s hard to get out of pajamas.
In the car I am busy learning about fashion and getting dressed and then, when we hit Rockford my son puts on Regular Show, which I like, but I cannot listen to each episode fifteen times. So I start falling asleep.
I tell myself that we are going to die and I slap my cheeks and I get out of the car twice to freeze my brain into staying awake and I am still asleep. I decide I’m going to stop at a gas station and buy junk food but we just passed the gas station and I was self-congratulatory about not stopping for junk food and now we have another hour before another gas station.
I call Melissa. “Are you awake? It’s not an emergency, but can you get up?”
“Yeah. I’m up.”
“Okay. Good. Happy birthday. And can I dictate a post to you? I’m falling asleep.”
“Okay. Hold on. Let me get my headset. Wait. No. You can’t do a post now. You have a coaching call right now.”
“Oh. You’re right. Okay. Bye.”
My coaching call is early Saturday morning because the guy is in a far away time zone working for a company that you have definitely heard of. He reports to the CEO at his company. From his email I found that hard to believe, but now that I’m talking to him, I see it’s true, and I can’t help thinking that he makes millions of dollars a year and it’s ridiculous that I’m charging him only $250 for this call.
He has an interesting job because the person he reports to is not an expert in their particular industry. So this guy’s job is to be the industry expert. Who knew there were jobs like this in the Fortune 1000?
Okay. So we are talking and we get to the next gas station and I decide to leave my son in the car with the car on and run in and buy something sugary just in case I start falling asleep again. But in the candy aisle I lose the call. I decide I’ll just pay fast and then call him back, but I get to the car and it turns out his callback went automatically to the car, and for the last few minutes my son has been talking to the guy on speaker.
When I finish the call I’m halfway to Chicago with nothing to do but eat my new emergency sugar supply. I tell myself this is not an emergency because I can dictate a post.
I call Melissa.
Me: Let’s do a post.
Melissa: Okay. I’ll put on my headset. You should write a post where you use that photo of us sitting next to each other wearing the same boots.
Me: Oh yeah. I love that photo. But I’m not using it today.
Melissa: You should.
Me: Shut up.
Me: Get What You Want By Giving Other People What They Want
Melissa: That’s the title?
Me: Yeah… The last time I flew with my son and his cello, we did not book a seat for his cello. I had a plan to pretend that I am stupid and didn’t know I needed to book a seat for the cello and then they’d give me a free seat.
Melissa: Oh, I have a great link for you.
Me: What? Shut up. I’ve told you a hundred times not to interrupt me while I’m dictating or I can’t keep track of where I am.
Melissa: Well, this will help you think.
Me: No it won’t. I already don’t know what I’m thinking. Okay. Fine. Tell me the link.
Melissa: This guy accrued thousands of frequent flier miles for his cello but Delta cancelled them.
Me: You can’t accrue miles for the cello?
Melissa: No. But he’s fighting it.
Me: I should have put both kids on the violin. You don’t realize what an expensive decision the cello is when you have a four year old playing on a cello the size of a large frying pan.
Melissa: Is that part of the post?
Me: No. Ready? Okay. So the flight attendant was onto me right away. I told her we already bought three first-class seats so could we just have another for the cello? She said that there were not extra seats she could sell me. I began feeling really sorry that I tried this scheme. I told myself I was never going to push the limits of seat selection again. And she could tell I was dejected and sorry I ever had this dumb idea. I said I was sorry. Because I was. Then she came up with an extra seat.
Melissa: If you’re going to write about you making a scene at the airport, you should write about how much your kids hate it when you make a scene. And then you can use that link I sent to you about how Disney should have an introverted princess. Your posts where you talk about how great introverts are always do well.
Me: What? Shut up. I can’t think. It’s not your post. We will do a separate post that is yours.
Melissa: Okay. When?
Me: I don’t know. Later.
Melissa: How about for my birthday?
Me: No. You said you don’t even care about birthdays.
Me: You’re sad. Okay. I’m sorry… Hey! Wait! Didn’t you get flowers? I sent you flowers for your birthday and they were supposed to come yesterday so you could wake up happy on your birthday. Where are they?
Melissa: You sent flowers?
Me: Yeah. And I got a delivery confirmation.
Melissa: Oh. Maybe they are on the porch. Let me check… no. They are not there.
Me: Blah. Okay. I’ll call and find them… Wait. No. Can you call and find them? It’s part of your job.
Melissa: You are going to pay me to find my flowers?
Me: It’s the thought that counts.
So Melissa calls to find her flowers. And I search for her links while she finds her flowers. Because I can see that if I am going to get a post written, it’s going to have to be the post she wants.
And here is the photo of the flowers that finally arrived this morning.
Do you know what I love about this photo? Melissa’s artwork in the background. She buys art at thrift stores and somehow manages to buy stuff that is good. And then she had the brilliant idea of hiring a gallery owner to figure out how to hang the art in her apartment.
Melissa wanted to hang the art in an orderly way. She is an orderly person. But the gallery person wanted the art to be her own vision. Which is why, of course, you hire a gallery person to hang your art. So Melissa let the person hang it how they want, and it turned out great.
And I tried to write a post about my topic and Melissa had her own idea about how we are writing the post. But look, I got a post.
Which goes to show that you can get what you want by giving other people what they want, if you hire amazing people to work with you.