Saturday, November 5, 2011
One of my most important clients is located in northwestern Italy. In my line of work, you always try not to put all your eggs in one basket, but sometimes it is inevitable. I have many clients all over the world, but this client is special. The company is a large multinational that deals with power generation and gas turbines, and they are lovely, professional, exquisite people. I feel like they are family.
Last week this area of Italy was hit by intense flooding. If you have ever visited the Cinque Terre or dreamed of doing so, you should know that the cinque have become quattro. Monterossa was practically obliterated by the flood and ensuing mudslides. When last month I heard on the news that there was a satellite falling from space that would hit the earth, all I could hope was that it wouldn't hit Italy. I imagined it falling on Assisi, or the church on the hillside above our old refuge in the mountains, or even on our own house with its thick stone walls. I also imagined it falling on the Cinque Terre, and what a tragedy that would have been. The beauty in Italy around every corner is no myth. It's real.
My favorite clients have gone silent for the past week. My finances are shot, which just goes to show that I shouldn't have put my eggs all in one basket. I am fretting and frayed, and wondering how I will pay for the zillion payments that I somehow must spit up every month. What a mess I have made.
My pleas were finally answered when one of the project managers I work with there wrote me that their offices were buried in a tomb of mud, and that they only now had any power or Internet access. She also wrote me that they were all feeling lucky that no one in the company or in their families had been killed, since many have been. She was afraid. It had started to rain again.
Pain is relative, and the tremor in her e-mail gave me pause long enough to gain perspective. Money is nothing. My business will rebound, as will my favorite business partners. Those northern Italians are funny that way. They always, always bounce back. Hard core.
But still, a prayer wouldn't hurt.