A few weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to go to a networking night for the Urban Land Institute. The catch was that it was for people age 35 and under….the night was called “Youth Leadership” or something like that. But somehow I ended up on the invite list at the crotchety age of 36 and I thought it would be fun to go and network with all the movers and shakers on the local development scene. Not to mention that the ULI is influential in a lot of the LEED process, which is my newest obsession at work, so I knew it could be very beneficial for me to go.
Aw hell, who am I kidding – it’s all about the free booze.
Honestly, I set out with good intentions. I even checked out ULI’s website to see exactly what this stuff was all about – the last thing I wanted was a bunch of tree hugging hippies yammering on and on about real estate development. Give me some spanikopita and a beer and I’m a happy camper. Put up some conceptual boards on easels that we can all stand around and ooh and aah over and I’m fulfilled.
But really – where the hell is the bar?
I did eventually find the bar, and dammit – they were out of beer. The thing had only been going on for 30 minutes and they were already out of beer. What kind of networking thing is this if you don’t have a little booze to loosen things up with? So I grudgingly got a glass of wine and did the obligatory oohs and aahs over all the renderings, talked to the developer (who by the way is one of the coolest people ever and a major player in our city since the 1970’s), and met a few architects. So maybe, even without beer, it wasn’t so bad…
But then – one of the guys suggested we all go to a local restaurant (one of my favorites) and have a few cocktails and appetizers. You have never seen a group of people move so fast out the door, you would’ve thought someone yelled “OSHA inspection” the way we all hauled ass out of there. Fifteen minutes later we were firmly ensconced in a corner table with drinks and some of the best appetizers ever. With Joey’s work schedule, it’s not very often that I get the opportunity to hang out after work and have a few drinks…that’s where you find out all the good shit going on in the office. So after a few rounds and licking the plates clean, we called it a night and everyone headed home.
So overall, despite the lack of beer, it was an interesting event with the added bonus of getting to go out afterwards. And yes, they had a bar at the restaurant. At that point, since I hadn’t been able to procure anything other than cheap chardonnay all night, I wasn’t going to forsake a good whisky sour. Or two.
So I guess when my boss asks me tomorrow how the event was and what I learned, I'll gladly report that yes, the development in the eastern end of the city is going to be impressive, but the developer ran out of beer and therefore I ran out of interest quickly. Do you think that would sound bad? Like maybe I should leave out the part about the development being impressive and just focus on the lack of beer? Decisions, decisions.