The Norman looks good in a suit. Actually, I’m fairly sure that the Norman looks good in anything he chooses to slap on his extravagantly handsome form. But I’ve only ever seen him in a suit. He rocks a suave suit. He is French, after all
There’s something else about the Norman. It’s not about him being handsome, which he most certainly is. Or trim, which he also is. Or clever. Or fluent in languages that need more fingers than I possess to count. The Norman is all that. The Norman does charming effortlessly. In his sleep, I would hazard to guess.
Lots of men are handsome and charming.
But there’s something else: The Norman has a light. The Norman is lit from the inside. You can’t help but be happy when you’re around him. He draws you into his orbit. You imbibe his vision, once you hear what it is. It’s his gift.
The indigenous people of New Zealand are the Maori. And they have this concept called mana. Mana is a tricky thing to describe. It’s like sex appeal and charisma and authority had a threesome and produced a bastard child.
Mana’s like falling in love; its hard to describe but you know it when you see it. Close your eyes, and I’ll give you some examples. Mohammed Ali has mana. Mike Tyson does not. Bill Clinton has mana. George Bush does not. Al Gore doesn’t either. (Mana does not depend on political affiliation.)
It goes without saying that Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and Lucy Lawless have mana.
Mana can only be used for good. So no matter how charismatic and powerful Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones happened to be, they did not have mana. The Maori are quite specific about that.
Mana can only ever be good.
So the Norman has mana. And it has been my privilege to know him for a few years now. Whenever I see him, I feel inspired. When I see the Norman, when I talk to him about his work, about our work, I feel as if I can see into the future. Few people I have worked for have had that effect on me, ever.
The Norman knows how to lead. His staff have told me that he asks them every day to bring their A game. Or however you say that in French.
The Norman often asks me to do things. Several times a year he asks me to get on a plane and come to where he works, which I’m happy to do.
He lives in a European city that I happen to like. I like the food, I like the people. I like the architecture and the art. I do not ever not have a good time working with the Norman, who, when we are finished with business, has a particular fondness for Champagne. “I’m French,” he says. “Champagne is my milk.”
Wish I could say that, but I can’t. I’m not French.
A couple of times a year, the Norman comes to where I live. We don’t drink Champagne in New York. We don’t go out at all. We meet in badly-lit hallways. He’s important, with many professional obligations, and I am the opposite of that. But we say hi and get caught up.
The Norman is never not charming,though. He has mana, like I said. He can’t divest himself of that.
So I ran into him this week and he said. “Position yourself.”
Eh? I said, or words to that effect.
The Norman’s plan is this: he wants me to come and work with him full time in Europe.
It’s a great idea. I love that idea. Not just the Europe part. If the Norman was working in Tajikistan, I would go there. Outer Mongolia, ditto. Working with the Norman awakes me to the possibility that I could use all of my brain. And I’ve been cruising for quite some decades in the brain and work department.
The unfortunate part of the idea is that the execution of the plan depends on people who are not him. This is the catch.
I think that the Norman should be running the entire universe, or at least the neighboring planets in the solar system. But he doesn’t. People who have other goals are dictating his ambitions. Or at least the money he has to spend on hiring people like me.
But he wants me to come and work with him, which was why he asked me to position myself. To get ready to come and work with him. Fantastic job, one that would make me think. And not only that. Benefits. Paid holidays. High speed trains. Everything.
I’m a pessimist. If you’re still reading, if you’ve stuck with me through these turgid, dreary months, you’re down with that now, right? So I should probably not even bother to expend the energy to write this next paragraph. Gosh, oh, let me see, how is this going to go?
The thing that I would most like to happen is not going to happen. Most likely not. Law of averages, and all that shit. Yes, I should land my dream job, working for my dream boss; the dude with mana coming out his freaking ears, doing work in an important area that I would love to be involved in exactly one year after my husband left me for a younger woman.
But really, what are the odds?
I get it.
But give me a couple of days at least to imagine that it might happen. That’s all I ask.
To see myself in that lovely European city, more expensively clad than I really am, being all busy and drinking espresso and doing important work and having the Norman make me better than I imagine myself to be.