I went on a work-related trip to Miami in February. I had never been to Miami before, except as a Very Small Baby and that doesn’t count because I don’t remember it. The trip was a workshop for small business owners who provide a product my company offers to their employees and I was pretty much just a participant in order to get a feel for the team and how they do these workshops.
During the course of the trip – which was only three days – I stayed in the poshest hotel I’ve ever been to, I had a $13 mojito out of a plastic cup, got shooed away by Avril Levigne’s body guard,* put a band aid on a smoke detector (see previous post, That Ticking Thing), saw my first professional basketball game** while sitting in a sky box, amazed a club full of Cubans that a white girl could salsa, and convinced a stranger that I was in fact British.
After the workshop ended, we went to the game then back to the hotel for drinks around the pools. One of the guys from my team and I were sent in to the bar to open a tab on my corporate card. The bar area was sort of Marrekesh-ish, dimly lit by candles in red glass lanterns and intricate low-hanging light fixtures. It was pretty deserted as most people had taken their beverages outside to enjoy the night air.
My colleague and I waited for one of the bartenders to take our order. I stood counting the kinds of bourbon they had on the mirrored shelves and listened to the man next to me give his order. Even though there weren’t many people in the bar, he was standing just behind and to my left so that I could feel his suit sleeve brush my back.
“I need six sambuccas,” he slurred. “Yeah, I know, who orders sambucca, right? Sambucca?? They’re British, you know, I guess they like that stuff.” He was shouting as if it was extremely loud in the bar.
In an effort to get a look at this guy who kept jostling me and who sounded like a jerk, I turned my head. He saw me. “Oh, I’m sorry, are you like, British or something?”
I didn’t even think twice about busting out my best British accent.
“What?” Which sounded sort of like, “Wot?”
He rubbed his face and winced. “Oh, shit, was that…was that an accent?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, trying not to look him in the eye because that would’ve ruined the whole thing. “But I happen to like sambucca.”
I couldn’t get out of the way of his backpeddaling. “OH, SHIT, I’m so sorry,” he babbled, “I didn’t know I mean I never met anybody who likes sambucca I just have these clients who wanted some SHIT I didn’t know sorry.”
It seemed unkind of me to continue and I couldn’t hold it in.
I grinned. “I’m just kidding. I’m not British.”
He stared, unbreathing, tension draining from his pasty white face. His tie was mostly undone and his shirt disheveled.
“Had you going there, didn’t I? I’m from Kentucky,” I said. He stared. The bartender smirked, shaking her head.
He laughed nervously. “Oh. Well.” And then he promptly rushed out of the bar.
Two minutes later he was back. He’d left all the drinks on the bar, and the bartender had his credit card.
* I actually didn’t recognize her as I was going to the beach and since the pathway was narrow, I didn’t think much of using it until a beefy guy in black stuck his chest out menacingly at me. She’s very small, Avril. Like a punky moody elf.
** Heat vs. Celtics