If you’ve been following Unwritten for awhile, or if you check out some earlier posts, you might know that I fight a consistent internal battle between two very different parts of my personality. There is “Good Lisa,” or professional, controlled, maternal, sweet, refined nice girl, and then there’s “Fun Lisa,” who just wants to let her hair down, pop her dancing hips into action, curse like a sailor, and release her sexual inhibitions. Good Lisa wins most of the time.
As with most of my travels, this trip supplied me with a whole new set of thoughts and ideas and taught me some old lessons from new school books.
My trip to New Orleans was for business purposes. I took my business attire, complete with a hideously ugly blouse bearing our company logo which I was required to wear nearly the whole time I was there. But I took two “just in case” fun shirts, and I decided to change into one of them for our client event on Wednesday night, since most of the other ladies had shed the unflattering uniform as the evening approached. I darkened my makeup, fixed my hair, and stepped into a cab for another brand-new adventure, feeling excited and terrified and prepared to handle disappointment, if necessary.
The taxi driver took me down the 26 blocks to my destination – a tiny art gallery in the middle of a very dark, dilapidated neighborhood. He did not get out of the van to open my door, but took my money and drove off. I stood there, trying to soak everything in, and spotted a small door in the side of the building across the street under the blue neon sign bearing the name Venusian Gardens. It seemed to be the right place. Flanking the door were two people dressed in navy shirts with the word “POLICE” written in huge white letters across the chest.
My heart started to beat faster with, strangely, excitement, not fear.
The place was a neon fantasy land, with colored class sculptures lighting up the darkened room. Illuminated giant jellyfish floated from the ceiling, their fragile tentacles dangling like wisps of colored tissue paper. The smooth sounds of a saxophone and jazzy voices poured over me like warm water and made me feel good all over. Before I really got my bearings, I was whisked away by our company CEO, who invited me to meet his wife and sit at their table. He got me a glass of chardonnay from the bar and I was on my way.
Small talk… intimate conversations about personal dreams and future plans… sprinklings of business talk with hints of future conversations… clients… co-workers… new friends and acquaintances… loud music… laughter…
Comfortable as I was in my chair, I knew I needed to help host this party, so I looked around and spotted a woman I had met earlier at our booth. She was standing at a table just off the dance floor with three other strangers to me, with no company employees around. That would be a good place to start.
I excused myself and bravely joined this small group of two women and two men. More small talk… and, could it be – yes – some flirting from the very good-looking young man to my left. That coaxed Fun Lisa out of her hiding place faster than the wine, but she remained elusive all night, teasing us all and then escaping to her dark place behind the “rules.”
After the party, a large group of us headed over to Bourbon Street for fruity rum Hurricanes and more fun. Good Lisa was nervous and uncertain, but ultimately she won out in the end, keeping her professionalism and dignity.
Halfway through the Hurricane, the flirting Banker Boy said, “I have a feeling there’s another side of you that I haven’t seen,” or something like that.
I replied honestly, “Oh yes, I have two very different sides of myself who fight each other all the time.”
But it was Good Lisa talking, and I think Fun Lisa was bound and gagged in the corner somewhere, at least until the warm fuzzy feeling from the rum had faded away. (I feel a little sad about that today, although I did manage to exchange contact information with Banker Boy over lunch yesterday.)
And with that simple dialog, I was shoved into re-examining this perplexing issue.