One evening at a lodge, I walked up to a tall, blonde haired, partially inebriated gentleman guest while holding out a plate of my very popular honey-drizzled jalapeno hush puppy appetizers. He stuck out a hand for me to shake and exclaimed in an ever so slightly slurred voice “Hi!” “My name is Barry, and I am a psychologist!” I responded “Nice to meet you Barry”, and shook his hand. I replied “a psychologist huh?” “I know you probably get hit up for cocktail counseling all the time, but…. Is there something you can do about my “restless mind syndrome?” Barry shot back a quizzical look and asked “”restless mind syndrome what’s that?” “I have never heard of it.” To which I replied with a big smile…”it’s like restless leg syndrome, only it’s in my mind, keeping me from sleeping at night”, “Uncontrollable racing thoughts running a non-stop mind marathon in my head.”. Barry laughed loudly with his head tilted back, and I turned away to serve another guest. At that instant it dawned on me, this guy is a shrink, and I thought “dang, I can just see him stealing the medical diagnosis I made up, write a book based on my very real chronic condition, and make a billion dollars. I hope Barry did think it was only a joke, because someday I am going to write my own case study. I could fill volumes!
One of the perks I had working as a lodge chef was being able to socialize with fly-fishing clients. I liked the breaks from the kitchen during cocktail hour allowing me to mingle while waiting for stragglers to come in from the river. Many of the guests were on a first name only basis with staff, other guests and sometimes even the owners. After all, the elite returned to this lodge year after year knowing that whatever level of anonymity they want to maintain while enjoying the great fishing and beauty of Montana would be strictly honored.
With a plate of appetite stimulators in my hand, I held an open invitation to join in fishing conversations or use as a free license to ease-drop. I can truly say, even a six foot blonde in a sundress can go virtually unnoticed in the midst of a group of wealthy surgeons, lawyers, and CEOs when they are intently engrossed in conversations about their destination hopping “catch and release” fly-fishing exploits.
A fully stocked no-host bar has the ability to bring out a sense of humor in even the most reserved lodge guests. With my naturally silly sense of humor, It became easy within a day or two, to jump right into the mix and start swapping accolades and fishing tales. I felt it a privilege to be able to inter-mingle and joke with interesting well-traveled people that I would never have the opportunity to know while working in the back of a restaurant.