Aunt-Bea improv

Improv: Life & Leadership

The most interesting parts of life are improvisation

Something I hear a lot is: “I’m in a rut.” “I need to get out of my rut.” or something similar. The quest for certainty and security often involves a trade-off of excitement and the unknown for the repetitiveness of the known, but much of life includes running into the unknown, the unanticipated, the X-factor.

Take the other night: I was out with a friend in Charlevoix MI where we decided to try the newly opened Roadhouse 757. The parking lot was full, so we took that as a good sign. There was a 10 to 15 minute wait for a table so we settled into a high-top in the bar area. After about five minutes, I went over and asked the bartender about service. When I returned to the table, I found my friend conversing with an elderly lady (the X-factor) – who had taken my chair!

Bea was extremely sweet and talkative. She lived around the corner, had gone for a walk and seen all the cars and decided to check out the new restaurant. She missed Giuseppe’s which had been at this location for years. She used to come in and sing karoke. She’d had a stroke some while ago. Had been in Florida. Had 9 children – 6 boys – and lived with her son, Kenny.

My friend and I just rolled with it – improv style. Bea wasn’t hungry and didn’t want a glass of water. As we talked, I wondered if Bea had headed out walking without telling anyone, and whether people were looking for her. Just in case, I went over and explained the situation to the hostess.

The young hostess asked what she should do. I said to let the manager or owner know and suggested they call the police to see if there was a missing person report, or an inquiry from a concerned family member.

Returning to the table, I found my friend and Bea still talking up a storm. The police soon arrived. One of the policemen stepped outside to call one of Bea’s sons and then offered Bea a ride home or he said they could wait with her for her son to come and get her. Bea thought this was a fabulous idea! She said she had probably been gone too long and should be getting back.

We never found out if she lived with her son or at the senior center down the road, but we had a pleasant time hearing about Bea’s life and enjoyed her sweet company. The X-factor had turned what would have been a so-so restaurant experience into a fun adventure.

The next day, my friend called to tell me he had learned that Bea is the aunt of his next-door neighbor. Small world!

Going with the flow – living improvisation – good for the heart and soul AND business.