Thursday, January 16, 2003

1200 Jefferson Street

Yesterday was my last day at Balzac Communications. On Monday I'll start at Paterno Wines International. That'll be my third job in Napa, where we had moved exactly three years ago hoping to find a pot of gold at the end of's rainbow.

That really wasn't what it was all about, but I like to torture myself with the idea. Thought you'd strike it rich, eh buddy? Ha! Shoulda stayed up north… There's something awfully attractive about regret, isn't there? But in fact, one of the theories behind the move from Oregon back to California for the job was that if it didn't work out, I'd probably be set up for some interesting job in the wine industry. Which is precisely what happened.

Balzac was a great experience, but ever-so-slightly not the perfect place for me. At heart, I tend toward sullen, sensitive, impolite and sincere. Balzac is the opposite on all fronts. You really do have to be ready to chat. And joke. A solid 90 percent of the verbiage thrown around in large-group settings amounts to nonlethal darts. And whether you actually know or care about something doesn't matter because, after all, we're all PR professionals! It's not a matter of faking it. It's about doing it, having a take, being glib, being part of the party. All of which is perfectly reasonable and not that different from how the rest of mostly white, college-educated American culture comports itself. Or, in other words, yes, I know, I'm the weird one. Anyway, the point is that despite my great affection for pretty much everyone at Balzac, I always felt as though I were on the outside looking in. Now I move on.

Coming this weekend: Where I'm going