It was long after dinner when I arrived at the hotel where I’d be presenting an all-day, shop management seminar the following day. It was my habit to leave early the day before an event just to be sure there was time to panic if something did not go as planned.
I got to the hotel, checked in, and headed to my room to ‘nest.’ To get everything unpacked, hung up, and put away. It was muscle memory. Doing the same thing the same way every time I traveled, and back then, I traveled a lot.
After looking around the room to be sure everything was where it was supposed to be, I headed down to the lobby for a quick bite and a drink. The food was necessary for sustenance. The drink, a reward for surviving a day of travel delays and canceled flights.
I was sitting at the bar playing with one of the soggy French fries garnishing a perfectly awful hamburger when a young lady took the stool to my immediate left and ordered a drink. I didn’t pay much attention to her. The hotel catered to business travelers and just about all the stools at the bar were taken.
After a few minutes, she turned to me, smiled, and said, “You’re playing with those fries and haven’t touched the burger. Is the food really that bad?”
I told her it had been a long day spent in the air and in and out of airports. So, maybe it was just me.
Cocktails and Conversation…
That led to what seemed like a perfectly benign conversation that lasted about thirty minutes before she finally got up to leave. She smiled, gave me her room number, and invited me up for a drink. I pointed to my wedding ring and told her I was married. Without missing a beat, she said, “So am I. We’re both far from home. So, who’s going to know.”
I looked back at her and shook my head from side to side.
“Really?” she said. “Who’s gonna know if you don’t tell?” she quipped.
My reply was simple. “I will…”
“I will…” was the Good Wolf’s answer (Stomach… Or Soul?).
The Good Wolf’s answer is doing the same thing you would do if everyone was watching when there is no one around to witness what you did or didn’t do. It’s doing what’s right. Not just what’s right for you in the moment. It’s being exposed to the right cultural norms. Norms that celebrate the self, but still demonstrate a healthy appreciation for the important people in your life. In all our lives.
It’s making a commitment to the hard choices. To turn your back on easy actions and simple answers to complicated questions and difficult circumstances. It’s being sure not to put yourself in compromising situations almost guaranteed to return questionable and often hurtful results.
If the question is any variation of “Who’s going to know?” Choosing “I will!” is almost always guaranteed to keep you out of trouble, on the right path, and in the company of a pack of all the other Good Wolves.