Sunday, June 10, 2007

In Honor of EAGLE's 10th Anniversary

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

I just woke up from a dream I need to record before I forget it. Pat's still fast asleep.

The Dream

We are invited to a party at the home of two wealthy EAGLE members. One of the hosts meets us in the lobby; he is a gorgeous, winning colleague from real-life. If I were a single, gay man, I'd wish he were gay and single....In my dream, he is gay at least.

He leads us to the front door of a loft space. We will be meeting his partner, who is among our top sellers (sales execs.), for the first time. This is their debut; neither of them has chosen to be openly gay at work, or in association with work, prior to tonight.

The door opens and a tall, nearly-black-haired guy slides past me and out, averting his eyes. Is this the other host? Or is this one of their friends, who doesn't bargain for being part of an EAGLE celebration and just wants to leave before it gets going?

I've never before seen our other host, and so I wouldn't know if it were him. The mystery is not solved. I do not ask who he is because I'm swept away by the delicious sight before me.

The loft is as big as the Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Route 46, if not bigger, and against the right wall and forming an aisle are two floor-to-very-high-ceiling stacks mostly of paperbacks, so that even more books fit on the shelves.

The next aisle over is the same idea, only it's filled with every kind of men's fashion, which interests me less, even as it's reminiscent of the Great Gatsby'a collection, or the "American Gigolo"'s.

As I walk in, I'm ready to say the standard line, "What a lovely home," but I'm so amazed by, and attracted to, the books, I just start walking toward them, saying, "I've never seen a home set up like this -- in just the way I'd wish it to be."

We walk down the aisle, looking at the titles and the setup actually reminds me of the Montclair Book Center, only at a more fashionable address -- probably in Soho -- and the lighting is more stylish. I like recognizing a number of the books, and this would be the most comfortable way to spend the entire party.

The guy walking with me down the aisle looks up at the shelves near the ceiling and says, "I don't like the way this is set up."

"That's why there are sliding ladders," I say, marvelling that no book is inaccessible, and, "This is how to design a home if money is no object."

I make my way to the back, left-hand corner of the space, past a whole group of lovely women, some of whom I recognize from EAGLE, and a number of whom look like the most beautiful extras from scenes at The Planet on "The L Word." There must be 50 or more women and I'm struck shy and keep walking, even as I smile sheepishly at one of my friends, who notices me while she's talking with an especially glamorous group of them.

I'm at a cappucchino bar or some other food/drink part of the space next, where one of my Canadian colleagues comes over to talk with me.

"How was your idea received in the end?" he asks.

"The idea, apparently, is ahead of its time, as it has gone nowhere so far."

Real life intermission:

This is the part, where I don't tell any IBM secrets and so will not elaborate on the idea.

Back to the dream:

I am happy to be asked about the idea, but feel guilty not to still be championing it tirelessly. I switch the subject, telling my Canadian friend, "You know that Xxxxxxx [one of our hosts] is from Toronto."

He makes a cheering sound. I knew he'd be proud that such a successful IBMer is Canadian.

I'm heading to the bathroom and I pass the gorgeous women's section again, feeling cowardly, but also that at least I've got an excuse to keep going, rather than stopping to be with them; I need to go to the bathroom.

On the way, I see two EAGLE friends, one male and one female, talking, and I stop for the joy of hugging them. The three of us chat for a minute and then I need to go to the bathroom...and then I wake up...and go to the bathroom.

Today is EAGLE's 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, just several months after Pat and I moved to New Jersey from Illinois, we hosted an EAGLE - Tri-State Chapter party at our home and four people showed up.

There were nearly 100 IBMers on the Tri-State Chapter distribution list and I was disappointed, but nearly all of them lived in New York and Connecticut. I'm thinking of our barely-furnished house 10 years ago, and our barely-formed Tri-State Chapter of EAGLE, and my barely-launched IBM career, and I'm so grateful at what a decade can bring:

Our house is homey -- inside and out; compared with the initial, fewer-than-10, U.S. chapters, EAGLE now has more than 40 chapters worldwide, and with still more coming soon; and 10 years ago, I could not have imagined that my career would take me to India on assignment.

Thank you, God.

What has changed for you over the past 10 years?

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