Friday Fodder – Persistence

Once upon a time…

“Hi, my name is Benjamin,” he said, sitting down on the barstool next to her. “Before the night is over, I’ll have your attention, your name, and your phone number.” 

“Not a chance,” she crisply replied, taking a sip of what looked like whiskey from the glass in front of her. “I come here every Friday night and have been for more than two years. I always go home alone.”

“Well, first of all, I don’t plan on taking you home. What kind of guy do you think I am? I have only just met you. Second, you have never spoken with me on any of those Friday nights. Because if you had, I’d already have your number, and you’d be madly in love with me.” 

His response made her laugh out loud. Against her better judgement, she decided to stay seated. “Alright Cowboy, I’ll give you one hour. You’re going to crash and burn, and it will be fun to watch.”

“Ok,” he said, signaling to the bartender to fill her glass and to bring him one as well. “Although, I do have a couple of rules.” 

Once again, she laughed out loud. “Rules? You sit down next to me – uninvited – boldly state I’m going to give you my name and number because you’re predicting I will fall in love with you. And then you have the audacity to expect me to follow your rules? What makes you think I won’t get up right now, throw my drink in your face, and walk away?” 

“Is this guy bothering you—” 

“Don’t say another word, Mac” she said holding up her hand like a stop sign. “Benjamin here is trying to get my name, so let’s not make it easy for him.” With a smile on his face, Mac filled their glasses and went back to tending the bar.

“Now, Cowboy, I‘ll ask you again. What makes you think I won’t just leave?”

“Because you laughed.”

“Because I laughed?” she repeated, attempting to suppress a smile.

“You won’t leave because I make you laugh. I’m sure you’ve been approached by plenty of good-looking guys, but you like to laugh. I could see it from the moment I walked in.”

“I was laughing at you, not with you.”

“You laughed just the same. It’s all that matters in the beginning.” 

“So what are these rules, then?” she asked, enjoying the banter more than she cared to admit. 

“First, I am required to treat you with respect. I am not trying to pick you up. I am trying to prove to you that I am worth your time.”

“And?” she interrupted, interested in the payment she would need to make in kind.

“You have two rules,” he continued. “The first is you have to give me a fair go. I am prepared to take no for an answer. But if I earn a yes, then I get your name and number.”

”And the second?”

“The second is if I guess your name, you have to give me your number, too. Do we have a deal?” Benjamin put out his hand and waited.

“Hang on, you could just keep guessing until you get it right. How about I give you three guesses?”

“That’s fair. I agree to your terms.” Benjamin offered his hand once again.

“You have yourself a deal, Cowboy” she responded, giving his hand a firm shake.

“Natasha?”

“Natasha? Why on Earth would you think my name is Natasha?”

“Every woman I have ever met named Natasha is strikingly beautiful. I’m right, aren’t I?”

“Nice try, Cowboy. Not even close. That’s strike one. Care to strike out a second time?” She smiled confidently, taking another sip of her drink. “Let me ask you this. Why me? We are in a bar full of beautiful young women. Why did you single me out in an attempt to win me over?”

“I’m glad you asked,” he smiled. “You see, one summer when I was about ten years old, my parents were looking for a plot of land to build their dream home. The four of us, mum, dad, my younger sister, and I spent three hours in a car with no air conditioning on our way to—”

“Is this story going anywhere?” she interrupted.

“I’m getting there. Geez, impatient much? I hope you don’t interrupt me like this on all of our dates.”

“You’re pretty confident for someone who tells pointless stories to strangers in bars.”

“For good reason. Now, because I always finish my stories, I’ll continue. After a long hot ride, tempers were a bit raw. When the real estate agent offered to drive us around in his air-conditioned van, we jumped at the opportunity. My sister and I were relegated to the third-row seat, but I was close enough to hear the real estate agent say something that changed my life.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. You came over to me because of something a real estate agent said to your parents when you were ten years old?”

”Yes I did. The man told my parents, ‘I can take you to all the properties we have listed and let you decide which one you like, or I can just take you to the best one right away.’ And so we did. That first property was indeed the best. In fact, they still live there today.” Benjamin paused and looked at her. “Sure, I could have made my way around the bar and talked to a bunch of different women, or I could just simply go directly to the best.”

“You made that story up,” she responded curtly, raising her glass.

“I did not. You’ll see the property when I take you home to meet my parents.”

“Slow your roll, Cowboy, I’m not going to meet your parents. Stop trying to trick me,” she said with a smile that gave too much away. “Anyway, what makes you think I’ll choose you?”

“Because you love me.”

“I don’t even know you!” she said, incredulously, but quickly added: “What makes you think I love you?”

“Well, you see when I went to high school . . . ”

“High school? That has nothing to do with us here today.”

“Let the record show that you just referred to us as an “us” for the first time.”

“I didn’t mean it that way.”

“And yet you still said it.”

For a moment, she looked entirely put out. “Fine, what does high school have to do with me?”

“Rebecca?”

“Rebecca? No, my name is not Rebecca. I’m almost afraid to ask. Why Rebecca?”

“When I think of the name Rebecca, I think of a spitfire with a sneaky sense of humour.”

“Well, thank you, I think. Strike two, Cowboy. You’d better tell me about high school before you completely strike out and it’s game over.”

“Well, I was pretty small going into high school. In fact, I was just under five feet tall and skinny. I had never had a girlfriend, not even a girl who was a friend, so I knew I had a choice to make. I could either go through high school awkward and lonely or I could choose to think differently. From that day forward, I simply decided that all the girls were in love with me.”

“That’s not endearing. It’s narcissistic.”

“Maybe, or maybe not. Confidence is attractive, and I exude confidence. But that’s not what makes a girl fall in love. To make a girl fall in love, you have to treat her special. The good news is that’s exactly how my dad treats my mum, so I have an excellent role model. You’ll see what I mean when you meet him.”

“I see what you’re doing. You’re pretending that I love you already – just like school.”

“Guilty as charged,” Benjamin chuckled. “And I’m willing to put in the work, too. I’ll send you flowers and take you out. I’ll write you love letters and sing you songs. I don’t want you to fall in love with me because I decided you should. I want you to fall in love with me because you discovered that I’m the man for you. Remember the first rule. I will always treat you with respect. I’m not going to play games with you. Oh and remember – I make you laugh.” 

Almost on cue, she laughed again and smiled warmly at him.

“So, what if after all your hard work, I still get up and walk out the door? What will you do then? Are you going to chase me down in the parking lot? Follow me home? Are you a crazy person?”

“No. If you get up and walk out that door, I’ll do what my dad did for my mum.”

“Uh-oh, I feel another story coming on.”

“Yes, but it’s a good one. The first time my dad saw my mum, he was working in a café. Dad says she acted as if she didn’t even know he was there. The details have changed a bit over time, depending on who is telling the story – there were either four or five girls with my mum. According to my dad, one detail always remains the same. He knew the moment he saw her that mum was the one for him. That very first day, he asked her for her name. And she declined.”

“I’m beginning to like your mum.”

“When she declined, he just smiled and told her that one day she would tell him and he was willing to wait. Usually, at this point, mum jumps in and tells her side of the story. Unbeknownst to my dad, she was actually so impressed with him that she wanted to tell him her name right away, but she felt she would have been too forward. Instead, she went back to the cafe every few days. Even though he would talk to her, tell her stories, and make her laugh, he never asked for her name. She wanted him to, but he was giving her the time she needed to come around. Finally, mum became so impatient she marched into the café and right up to my dad and said, ‘My name is Juliet, and yes, I’ll go out with you.’”

“And they lived happily ever after, right?” she chimed in, feigning disinterest.

“Pretty much. That was 30 years ago. So, in answer to your question, if you say no and walk out that door, I’ll come back on random Friday nights and, as long as you’ll let me, I’ll tell you more of my stories. Then one day, just like my mum, you will give me your name. Until then, I’m willing to wait. But, I will say this: my mum said she always regretted not giving my dad her name on that very first day. No matter how many days they have had together, she has always wished they could have more.”

“That’s quite a story,” 

“Monica? It has to be Monica. My younger sister’s name was Monica, and she was the kindest person I’ve ever known.”

“Was? What happened to her?”

“That’s actually more of a third date conversation,” he responded quietly.

“I’m sorry, Cowboy. That’s strike three and your hour’s up. Like I said, I’m not here to meet people. Even charming people with interesting stories.” And with that, she gave the universal sign for the tab to the bartender. After presenting him with her credit card, Mac handed her the receipt. She quickly scribbled her signature, downed the rest of her drink, and walked out the door. 

Benjamin smiled. He just knew she would be back. And so would he. 

“Hey there, fella. I think this is for you,” said the bartender.

Benjamin looked up as Mac handed him her signed receipt. “Turn it over,” he said. Benjamin flipped the receipt over and read the writing on the back.

‘My name is Juliet, the same as your mum. Give me a call and tell me another story.’

Just below the note was a phone number. After taking the last sip of his drink, Benjamin pulled out his cell phone and began to dial.

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”

― James A. Michener

Moral of the Story:

The harsh reality is that the world is full of “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve beens” – people who have wonderful ideas and aspirations but did not have the stamina, desire, or know-how to make it happen. Many of them gave up too quickly because it seemed too hard, too daunting, or too scary. Simply put, they weren’t mentally prepared to do what it takes to succeed. Here’s the thing: if you aren’t willing to see your dream through, someone else will be. Visionaries are ahead of their time because they push boundaries and innovate change. To become successful, you must hold true to your dream and keep pursuing it even in the face of adversity. Do you want to be the one wondering what could have been if you had only tried or the one who gave your all and either succeeded or failed?

Studies have shown that in some cases persistence alone can be the sole driver of performance and success. Consistency fuels persistence. Showing up, day in and day out is the single most important thing you can do to set yourself on a path to achieving your dreams and becoming the best person you can be. Embrace your imagination. Creativity is bred through persistence. Those ah-ha moments, where the sky seems to open up and you can reach out to pluck the perfect solution to a problem, do not happen in a vacuum. They happen through persistence and dedication. No matter your goal, when you are in it for the long haul and are consistently moving forward on what you said you would do, you begin to build a community around you based on trust and respect.

“If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it.”

― Criss Jami

Affirmation: My persistence changes setbacks into comebacks

My fierce commitment to my goals keeps my persistence alive. Rejections strengthen my resolve to persist no matter what. I am transforming my life because I refuse to give up. My persistence moves mountains. Ambition is the path to my success and persistence is the vehicle I’ll arrive in. I achieve everything I set out to do. Seeing a task through to the end is easy and fun for me. My persistence turns a hopeless situation into a success. In spite of obstacles, I persist. In spite of challenges, I persist. When the naysayers tell me to give up, I persist. An armour of persistence protects me from everyday distractions. My determination to follow through empowers me. Persistence is the secret to my success. Failure is temporary but persistence is permanent. With confidence and persistence, I know I can do anything.

“We are made to persist.
that’s how we find out who we are.”

― Tobias Wolff

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