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Gorby and Me!

During his eight-years as President of the United States, Ronald Reagan held five summits with the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Summit number three between the two men was held December 8-10, 1987, in Washington, DC.

On the trip to the White House on the final day of the summit, the Soviet General Secretary shared the back seat of his Zil limousine with Vice-President George HW Bush. From the Soviet Embassy, they would have traveled down Massachusetts Avenue to DuPont Circle and then continued down Connecticut Avenue to 1600 Pennsylvania.

In December of 1987, I was a stockbroker working in the nation’s capital; my office a seven-iron and tap-in from the White House. At 24, I was less than a year away from returning to New York to work at the counter of my family’s Bronx paint store; Tremont Paint.

My red 1985 Nissan 300 Z would have been two-years old; though still showroom condition due to my early obsession with keeping my cars overly clean. A gift to myself after a particularly successful month selling stocks and bonds to DC’s wealthy, THE “Z” had a smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission (there was no such thing as a six-speed at the time), and was my first sports car.

Idling as the first car at the at a traffic light waiting to turn onto Connecticut Avenue and onto my office near the White House, I was probably thinking about a girl, a baseball game or another girl-who didn’t know the first.

As the light changed to green, a DC motorcycle cop pulled in front of my Z, blocking me and all other traffic from turning. Connecticut Avenue was closed I was told. “Gorbachev!” the cop said.

As I stood next to my car on the corner of 21st and Connecticut, the motorcade sped by.

Passing directly in front of me, the motorcade with Bush and Gorbachev should have continued on but strangely it stopped at the curb on the shuttered Connecticut Avenue, just feet to my right. It didn’t take long for the pedestrians on Connecticut Avenue to realize what was going on and a crowd formed as the two men began shaking hands.

Gorby called it “glasnost.”

I rushed towards Connecticut Avenue looking for a brush with greatness but was held back by the heavily armed DC motorcycle cop who barked “Stay with your car!”

In a few minutes the excitement was gone and the motorcade delivered the General Secretary to the White House where he and President Reagan signed the INF Treaty, reducing their respective nations nuclear stockpiles by over 50%.

It still bothers me to have gotten so close and not get a chance to shake hands with Gorby.

But at least it took a heavily armed DC cop to hold me back!

On Friday of last week, I delivered the link for the first completed web and e-commerce site of THE Revolution, my digital solution for independent paint dealers, to its owners at Town Line Paint and the other five dealers who have already purchased a site.

With only days until we launch the Town Line site to the paint consumers of Malden, Massachusetts it was time to show them their site in a detailed way they have yet to experience.

Feature by feature.

On a 90-minute Zoom call with the six Minutemen of my Revolution and 15 invited guests, we went through each page of the site.

Town Line’s site will start with paint and sundries! Wallpaper, décor, flooring and sprayers will all be added in the days after launch, which will come after a few more days with the developers and a few touch-ups from the graphic design team.

But why not try and sell some paint while we finalize the other work? And it gives the owners and managers of Town Line to get used to their new site.

Why should inspecting paint jobs be immune from the pernicious effects of 2020?

A late start caused by New York’s early Covid-19 outbreak and delays caused by my father’s passing conspired with labor issues and policies the board adopted which hampered our efforts, and made 2020 the most difficult of the six-years I have worked for this particular HOA. But, having finally gotten a look at the remaining uninspected portions of the job, I was able to call it a wrap, leaving me more time to finalize databases and speak with dealers about my Revolution!

Eight weeks ago, the sites of THE Revolution were as blank as this page before the blog was written! And in days they’ll be ready to launch. Teaching me a lesson that my friend Mikhail Gorbachev learned in the summer of 1991:

Revolutions are fast! And rarely stop once they’re begun!


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