Recently, I was in Portland, Oregon, working with The Wine Academy of Spain on a three day Spanish Wine Certification Course. This was the second city of a brief, four city, west coast tour. These classes are all day long, intense, and tend to be fairly disorganized. This particular venue was quite nice and the staff was fairly well prepared for the event. They pre-sorted and catalogued all 200 bottles of wine. The tables were laid out classic banquet style instead of our usual classroom set up. They were dressed prettily, as if for a wedding. The wine glasses were huge balloon type goblets and were completely inappropriate for a wine tasting. We needed new glasses.
A student offered to bring us 100 new Reidel professional tasting glasses from his Tiki and Wine Bar. We took a mini break and I continued working on tying up every loose detail for the remainder of the tour. This is a job that is never finished and is always changing with every moment. It keeps me flexible and on my toes. The student returned with the new glasses, the tables were reset in a flash and the show continued on flawlessly.
By the end of the second day, my partner Esteban, and I were feeling a bit exhausted. The students always like to take us out on the town to show off their city and Portland would be no different. Portland has a fantastic restaurant scene. As we were cleaning up, Esteban tossed me a bag of Honey & Almond Nougat candies, knocking over two full glasses of red wine, which splashed down my legs soaking my blue jeans purple. I squealed and we laughed. Quickly I realized I had nothing to wear to Davis Street Tavern but an inappropriately formal dress. The same student chimed in that he used to be a jeans broker and had a supply in various cuts, styles, and brands. He asked my size and promised to deliver a pair to my hotel in time for the dinner. Relief.
I washed my jeans out in the tub in my hotel room. Hand washing jeans is no delicate task. Luckily I had a balcony and hung the sopping wet mess in the hot and humid Portland air to dry. It was going to take forever. So I wrapped myself in my robe and turned on the shower. Looking down at my purple stained thighs I laughed to myself. Someone was knocking at my door. “Hmmmm,” I wondered to myself, “Someone must have the wrong door.” I heard the knocking again so I tightened my robe and answered the door. To my surprise, there stood the student, grinning and clutching a pair of jeans. Shocked I said hello, I hadn’t expected a personal courier. I thought he’d leave them at the front desk for me. How did he get my room number? He pushed his way into my room, thrusting the jeans into my hands. I was completely shocked. “Ok,” I said very cautiously, “Let me try them on.” They looked suspiciously like a well-worn pair of men’s jeans but they were very cool Ben Sherman button fly’s from London. So, I popped into the bathroom locking the door and pulled on the baggy in all the wrong places, quite obviously not women’s jeans, jeans. I looked like I had a package where I clearly do not. I slid on my tee shirt and walked into my suite to thank the student for the effort and to show him that the jeans were a moderate success. As I rounded the corner, I stopped short, I gasped, and exclaimed, “What in the hell are you doing!”
There he was, sprawled across my bed his clothes strewn on my floor. “I thought you might want some company, it must be lonely on tour for so long,” he stammered, grinning like some sort of deranged hyena. I spun around facing the wall and answered, “No, no I do not, you have got to go, now. I need to take a shower and get ready for dinner, and you have got to go.” He had the balls to say, “Can I join you? You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I just want to join you.” I walked over to the door and flung it opened, standing next to it motioning for him to leave. He wriggled back into his clothes and wandered out the opened door, which I promptly slammed on his ass! I shook my head and said out loud, to myself, “What in the hell is wrong with people.”
I dolled myself up in an edgy top and great heels, and I looked ok in the jeans at the dinner. I avoided the student’s acidic stare and bitter little comments. I mingled with the students and later over beers I told Esteban the story. He was not pleased at all but we had a good laugh.
About a week later, once I had returned home, I received a text from the student. He told me to keep the jeans in exchange for the highest score on the exam, which would qualify him for the free trip to Spain in the fall. Now, I have nothing to do with the grades for the exam but I suggested to Esteban that he fail him for unprofessional conduct and attempting to bribe me with his old jeans. But, I kept the jeans anyway.