Well, it’s Miami Boat Show time again, and as a boating professional, I can tell you, it is one of the hardest shows to work for several reasons. First and foremost, it almost always conflicts with Valentine’s Day, as it does again this year. Oh, this is great for the spectators and shoppers; “Hey honey, how would you like to go to Miami Beach for Valentine’s Day?” What the hell, is she going to say, no? She’s been freezing her butt off for 90 days by February 14. “Baby, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I can’t decide between the diamond-bezel Rolex, pearl-white BMW, or Miami Beach? What do you think sugar plum?” The smart play, of course, is to not mention the boat you’ve been drooling over for the last 12 months while sitting on your porcelain throne.
The first few years of working the show, I was a young, single guy with a very casual romantic life. Hell, before my girlfriend and I started sharing a bathroom and an occasional toothbrush, I could score points with a cheeseburger and a beer at the local pub on Valentine’s Day. But the day I put a ring on her finger, Valentine’s Day took on a whole new meaning; it became her day. Yep, I could no longer have a casual attitude about February 14, and as with most other things in my life, I would learn that the hard way.
“Baby girl, Miami Boat Show is coming up in a few weeks, and as usual, it falls on Valentine’s Day. So, I was thinking, before I have to leave town, we could take a day, have lunch at the Hob Knob, spend the afternoon at the Ringling Museum of Art, then grab a basket of fish and chips at Walt’s Fish Market. How does that sound?” Apparently, as I would find out later, I was about to misinterpret her shrugging shoulders and “I guess” response as, “That sounds great!” I mean, I completely misread the situation.
The cheeseburger lunch at Hob Knob was delicious as usual. We spent several hours exploring the Ringling estate and museum and even visited the gift shop. Our fish and chips at Walt’s Fish Market was as good as it’s ever been. In my mind, I had pulled off the best Valentine’s Day in the history of the naked winged boy with a bow and arrow. I had even jokingly remarked I might change my name to Cupid, at which I received a smirk. Right over my head!
I arrived in Miami via company plane and promptly checked into my hotel and called home to inform my bride of five months that I’d arrived safely. Cell phones were very uncommon in those days, and today, I am very thankful they were. “Hey baby girl, I’m here, write down my room number.” All the while, I can hear sniffling. “Are you OK? Do you have a cold?”
“I’m OK; call me when you get back from dinner tonight.”
“OK, I love you, good bye.” Well, this phone scenario would go on three times a day until February 14. Finally, on Valentine’s Day, she told me with sobbing tears, what was wrong.
“When we were at the Ringling gift shop last week, I tried on those heart-shaped, pink gemstone earrings and you didn’t even notice. I was trying to tell you I wanted those for Valentine’s Day. They were only eight dollars.”
Oh Lord, suddenly Hob Knob and Walt’s Fish Market were leaving a bad taste in my mouth. So, I did the only thing I could possibly think to do; I called the Ringling gift shop and had those earrings shipped across town the next day! There was no way in hell I was going to walk into a house of horror after a grueling week at the Miami Boat Show.
So, while you are out shopping for that boat that has drool all over it, remember to thank anyone working at the Miami boat show because you just never know what may be going on back at home. And, I now know that “I guess” certainly does not mean “great!,” and a shrug of the shoulders is akin to the middle finger. Enjoy the show!