Memorable Moments in an Alien World

{October 3, 2011}   Sass + Risks = Success or Pepper Spray?

Living in a new place that is rather foreign to me is bringing out my unabashed risk-taking side. It’s fun…mostly. It also leaves me with the distinct impression that I may just end up having to change my phone number and/or name. Either way, it spices up my day.

“Amanda, what could you possibly be doing that would leave you with that impression?” you may ask. Well, I’ll give two examples.

Before I got this job, I was constantly encouraged by some friends (and you know who you are) to “network.” So often was I spoken to about networking that it became a bit of a four-letter word to me. Regardless, I designed and ordered 250 networking cards (you know business cards for those of us without businesses)! Then I get blessed with this job, but I still have about 237 networking cards that have gone unused.

Scenario #1: Well the other day my staff and I took the students out in the community. I was stopped by a very exuberant woman who said she was so glad we were doing this work, it was so important, that she had a daughter with a disability who went through a program similar and she is doing so well. Then this stranger in the 99 Cent Store in Venice – figures – asks if I have a card. She says she has millions of dollars and is making a movie about her daughter and if she got a card, she could probably give us some money.

Against all sound judgment, I felt my hand reaching inside of my purse for my networking cards, even as my mind was screaming, “No!!! What the hell are you doing?!?” I gave her a card and looked at one of my staff, mouthing the words, “Why did I just do that?” Too late. It’s done. And look at that. Stranger-woman is now walking away, putting my card in her purse.

Scenario #2: I’m sitting inside The Slice, enjoying a lunch special of wings and a salad. I’m alone and when I’m alone, I’m uber sensitive to what’s going on around me. I over-hear a girl about my age conducting her busy day on the phone. I do a quick sketch in my mind of who I think she may be and then strike up a brief conversation. She seems really nice, but I have to be going so I give her my contact information and mention something about having coffee sometime! Now at this point I have no idea if she thinks I’m trying to get to know people in LA or if I’m coming onto her. Furthermore, I don’t care. I just keep figuring to myself, “Hey I don’t know anyone here and I don’t want to get behind in that process, so…” We’ll see how those two scenarios work themselves out, but as I was driving around today, attempting to acquaint myself with the city, it occurred to me that I am not calculating my risks as painstakingly as I used to.

Maybe that’s a good thing.

Or maybe it’s a good thing that I’m carrying pepper spray in my purse.

Either way, my risk-taking switch is on!

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