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Look again

May 6, 2022

The chatter was loud. The drinks were merry. The roof top bar was filled with young and old, famous and unknown, connected by one thing. Entrepreneurship.

It was the final night of a seven day entrepreneur event in the city where the wind is known to be fierce and relentless. Chicago with its lakeside walks, metro raised on a pedestal cutting through and weaving between the skyscrapers. And a pretty silver reflective pea the size of a giant, sitting still, watching over every tourist and pigeon that wondered about.

It had been an exciting week with amazing speakers gracing the stage and entrepreneurs more famous than some of the biggest rock stars mingling with us regular folk. All there learning to lasso the beast of their business or showing the ropes to the young bucks.

With the choice of my poison for the night (H2O with a side of ice) rattling between my bony fingers I picked my target and headed in for the kill.

The two gentlemen in their late 40’s were having a jolly good conversation and I could spy a bit of alcohol induced red gracing the top of their wind cutters.

I smoothly sliced into their on going babble and was greeted with smiles and hi’s. Yes! I was in. 

These two senior sailors had just welcomed me to their sharing of tales. This was it. My chance to make friends with some very high profile entrepreneurs. 

After the intro’s however they were back to their conversation. I tried cutting in with some smart remarks to dive deeper but no dice. Like an impenetrable vault I couldn’t drill through. Not even my finest diamond cutter could leave a mark.

They just smiled and kept going on about what ever it was they were conversing. After listening to them for five minutes I was starting to second guess myself was about to make my exit.

To my surprise the other man politely pulled me back, apologised and said they’d soon be done with their conversation so please stay. Excitement in my eyes I returned to my passive listening mode and tried my best to show excitement. 

Another five minutes turned to ten. I had nothing but ice left in my drink and the piece of lemon looked like it had been beaten down and diluted into nothingness. Kind of how I felt. 

I had no idea what these two men were talking about. Every time I made some remarks on their conversation I got no reaction. De nada. Not even a sliver. They were so into it they had forgotten I was there. As if there was a soundproof glass wall between us. I’ve never felt so lonely in my life. 

I was too embarrassed to try to leave the conversation after the first failed attempt. Ten minutes turned to twenty. Twenty to forty. This was getting ridiculous. I was a nobody. What was I even doing here. I should leave the party altogether.

I felt like being inside a glass box in the middle of a failed art show as the most boring piece nobody cared about. Is that how the unpopular art pieces feel? Hanging on the wall or propped up on a pedestal, desperate to be seen or heard. Unable to leave. Forced to endure their fate.

But what if I wasn’t the only one feeling lonely that night. What if I had ignored another piece of art waiting to be seen as I determinately walked across the crowd to these two men. What if instead I had paid attention to my surroundings and seen another piece of art wondering about, looking for an ear willing to listen. What if instead of wanting to get the attention I so desperately desired I had opened my eyes and given my attention to someone else. Someone who had a story to tell.

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beardJussi Tarvainen

Former pro snowboarder. Author at night. Multi(failed)-entrepreneur. And mostly an awesome designer (said, my five-year-old son).

plenty more loot in the vault

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