About Mark Behringer

It's more than knowing just about the real estate Because where you live is just as important as what you live in ! Let's get those ducks in a row !

The Dance

Seductive ladies dressed in brightly colored, long flowing, backless gowns with thigh high skirt slits, sit almost motionless at small candle lit tea tables at the edge of a polished hardwood floor.  In the shadows slowly cruise men in black, carefully choosing their target while summing their courage to act.  And then ….the first strands of a charged tango melody pierce the air.

First one black form then another leaves the darkness of the surrounding shadows and with purpose head held high stride to the beat of the music across the expanse of the open dance floor.  The only sound is that of the instruments. Not a word is spoken by anyone just the quick, quick, slow of the tango rhythm.

Standing at almost attention, eyes straight ahead, soldier ready in the candle glow of his chosen table he extends his right hand palm up.  The seated lady taking little notice, making no eye contact, as if in her own dream world, slowly places her left hand, palm down upon her suitor’s thus accepting his offer without a word or a shared look between.

He preforms a small bow then a step back he continues to hold her hand as she lifts from the chair revealing the full extent of her beauty.

With the flow of the dance counterclockwise around the room he frames the couple, strong, upright and steady with his embrace. She the color, the fabric within the frame responds to his lead with reaching steps of extended line from toe through hip in a swirl of dazzling gown.

Quick, quick, slow then there is a pause. The classic tango pause.  Each stops and holds their place within the dance and with a sudden turn of the head they look for the first time, directly into each other’s face, eye to eye.  Then just as sudden they look away in unison outward toward their out stretched clasped hands and so continue the circle route of the dance around the room, now cheek to cheek.

Having experienced each other’s touch within the tango embrace for the customary three songs their introduction is complete with a final showy spin.  He with head above the crowd surveys the surroundings and gains his bearings, collects his lady, she taking his arm and they stroll back to her seat at the sideline table awaiting her arrival.  He holds her chair. Thanks her for the dance. The first words by either during their brief encounter.  She in like thanks him before again assuming her dream state in the candle glow, to wait her next awakening from a hand held palm side up.

if it looks like a and walks like a

I post this here for I know quite a few who follow the site are writters. Even though writters are pretty much like the rest of humanity, I still feel safer revealing here.

Deep in creatative mood, seated at my laptop, locked on a thought with fingers trying their darness to keep up, I hear a call from the real world.  My creative self  attempts to throw all sorts of sound blocking screens.  “We must stay on task”, says I to I.

The sound, the call, the real world interruption persist. I don’t see any smoke.  Don’t see any blood. Continue reading “if it looks like a and walks like a” »

…but, this is a Love story

I recently sold a condo to a couple, their first home together but, this is a love story.

A true story that got this old dried out sales guy, to well, get all sort of warm and gooey. Kind of resorted my faith in the younger generation, in right wins over wrong and in, yes love.

My buyers were young newlyweds. Not only that but both were foreign born coming from different parts of the old Soviet Union. Both after finishing old world “University” training, had decided to leave the security of their families and move solo to Seattle hoping for the promise of a better life with more opportunity.  Not so very different than many others before them, like my own Pappa who made the trip when only 17.

Traveling so, halfway around the world, they found each other in the very strangely different and wonderful world of Seattle at a coffee bar. Sometimes we locals forget just how lucky we have it and need a fresh view from another’s prospective. A view full of awe and wonder. The same is true of love, after all this is a love story. Continue reading “…but, this is a Love story” »

As the Parade Passes BY

Serviceable folding chair, “check”; bag of cheese powder  Cheetos and beef jerky sticks, “check”;  cooler a.k.a. footrest, of cold drinks, “check” ; the family crest identifying tethered red balloon, “check”;  the predawn run to Main Street to save OUR spot on the curb has begun.

“For what?” you may ask. “To see the parade pass by.”

I have thought of this metaphor often, coming to the seemingly simple question of, “Who sees more, the one sitting still, actively watching or the one blindly marching closely behind the uniform row before?”

Now I should let you know that I have been in both places, a sitter and a marcher. In my youth I did the high school, ride the victory bell around the track, all the way to being the chief ”Float Flower Putter Backer”  at the mile after mile Rose Parade in Pasadena.  As I have matured, however, I’ve been more of the orange fingered, face stuffing, “just sit there and hold our spot,” type of guy.

But…back to my question of, “Who sees more?”

As a Real Estate Broker, I hold “Open Houses.”  In a way, creating my own parade, in which I’m the sitter. Got my folding chair, bag of goodies, cool drink and a red identifying tethered balloon or two. Now the parade starts as people start to wander in but, here’s the part I find most amazing. Unlike our parade down Main Street, my parade comes from all over the world.

I have had the opportunity to meet, come to know and work with people from 5 of world’s continents.  Over 70% of the 50 states of America and all of the top ten cities of the world.  Just by sitting still in my chair, waiting for the parade to go by.  There’s no way I could have got to know all those people by marching all over the world blindly in group tours. Not to even mention the cost and the packing.

So what’s my point? Only this, “To be available.” Sit down, be still, put up your red balloon of welcome.  Be available, look people in the eye, smile, say good morning to those you meet.  Don’t be the one caught up in riding on your very own parade float with only the chosen few of your own little world to interact and ride with.  Being so busy, putting the decorations back on as they fall off to be available to experience the world you’re motoring through missing out on amazing opportunities.

It’s come to the point that I look forward to setting my sign out down at the corner with my red balloon and then to hurry back to my folding chair, tear open my bag of cheetos and wait to see what great spot on this planet I’m going to be introduce to that day.   It’s all about just being available to the parade passing by 24/7.

P.S.  One of the people I have met, a South African, told me the following story.  In her country she had always kept a pot of tea ready for those who might stop by during the day to visit. When she moved into her new home in Seattle, she got her pot out and warmed it up.  After a month or so she called me wanting to know what she was doing wrong, for not one person had stopped by…..and she is such an amazing woman with the greatest stories of her life growing up half black, half white, in the racially torn country of her birth.

I’m just saying be available as the parade passes by your door, engage.

 

 

A Writer ???

“A writer”, somehow in a strange way it seemed to fit.  It was kind of like putting on that special occasion outfit.  A little awkward at first, a bit stiff, a couple of pulls and tugs here and there, but as I began to let the everyday normal me go, it…well…seemed to fit.

I was attending a fairly large social function, somewhat formal, enough so that I felt a little under dressed.  As I slithered about the close quarter’s crowd, trying not to draw attention to the fact that I had not worn a tie, a stylish woman took notice of me.  Fearing that my lacking tie had been spotted, I averted my eyes, only to have her come closer. Upon her approach she said the most amazing thing.

“You’re the writer.”

I took a quick look over my shoulder, then said “You talking to me?”  “Why yes. A couple of other people have pointed you out.”  Now confused on several levels, the first of which, that I hadn’t done a very good job of ‘not drawing attention to myself’, pulled  together and uttered the best response I could come up with, “Oh.”

She then motioned me over to another women who was holding a small glass of wine with her little pinky finger posed just so.  ”Beth, this is Mark, he’s a writer too”.  By now my mind was on warp speed, “a writer too?”  What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Well, I and Miss Pinky Finger had just a ‘lovely little literary chat’ about her latest efforts in the series of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” articles.   She talked about her chickens and talked about my ducks, who knew that I could pull the whole writer thing off?

So it was, that I had been handed the writer persona by someone who had not recognize the everyday normal me and well the special occasion outfit felt pretty good.  Maybe I should wear it more often?

 

Easter Bunny vs. The Peamouth Minnow

Okay…Okay !!!   To all my “urban wildlife” people, I haven’t written anything on that subject for quite a while.  Furthermore,  the Easter Bunny maybe considered “Urban Wildlife,” to some, but the 6 foot tall pink one I saw down at the mall, posing for pictures with sugar high octane kids just doesn’t cut it for me.  So….I give you the Peamouth Minnow.

The peamouth minnow a rarely seen, hard to find, but a wonderful and delightful surprise is an adult, natural and northwest native version of the childhood Easter Egg Hunt.  These foot long fish come to Kelsey Creek to spawn and in so doing attract blue heron, river otter and eagles. They’re thousands of them to see, but only if you know where and when to look (they are here only once a year for 24 to 48 hours).  In fact the City of Bellevue has volunteer groups out trying to locate them, expecting them any time from now until mid-June. The City even offers a training course to help you better understand the mystery fish of our in town neighborhood backyard streams.

For those of you with a little adventure in your soul ( beyond the pink mall bunny), the below link will give you a lot of info on the what, where and when of the peamouth millow with detailed location maps of the best spots to search, mind you all within Bellevue Washington city limits.  Truly a bit of northwest natures real “urban wildlife.” Good Easter egg hunting…fish egg that is.

http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/Utilities/Peamouth_Flyer.pdf

Where you live is as important as what you live in !

That Forth Ring Will Cost You $100

My style is low key.  I like to think that I’m a good listener.  When I was a boy growing up in the small oil town of Oildale my Mother would say that I was smarter than the two year older Jimmy Dewgan down the street.  I enjoy people from all walks of life, so after a College degree in Business Management and Marketing from the great state of California’s educational system, I found my way into sales.

Now that’s not all that odd, as most all of us are in some way or other in sales.  Especially if you’re a self-employed, independent business person.  The fact is some are just more aware of it than the rest.  I in my effort to understand the skill better; decided to explore a different method of the craft.  The HARD SELL.  After all my easy going, “speak only if spoken to”, wasn’t making me a rich man so why not explore some other options.

To me “The Hard Sell” was a world apart, maybe a universe apart, for my nature.  So it seemed to be the perfect place to broaden my horizons.  The challenge became, could I fake it long enough to get hired and then with an open mind, find any sale’s technique gems.

My Mother was right, I am smarter than Jimmy Dewgan and not only could I get hired but actually I produce enough to stay around for a month and observe the very best at the craft before my stomach couldn’t take it anymore.

Oh there were some good times.  The meetings when the sales manager would stand up on the conference table and throw the tray of glazed doughnuts into the wall. (Good thing I brought my own lunch) The, “I don’t care if your Grandmother comes in here, she’s not leaving until she buys something.”  And one of my favorites, the classic good cop / bad cop. 

But the gem I learned that made the whole experiment worthwhile is  “the forth ring will cost you $100.00.” Seems the owner had figured out that his marketing efforts…. radio ads, TV spots, balloons, flyers, dancing guy in the clown costume  out front with the big arrow sign…all cost him a hundred dollars per incoming phone call.  So if you were on the sales floor and the phone rang, you had better answer it by the third ring or you would have a hundred dollars deduced from the following Friday’s paycheck.

A bit harsh but, I can tell you, whoever was on floor duty, rarely if ever let the phone ring that fourth time.  I’ve seen grown men in white dress shirts, silk ties, suit and all, dive over desk tops.  Women kick off 3 inch heels sliding across the floor, to answer the phone calmly before the forth ring.

To this very day I cannot stand to have a phone ring more than three times.  How much have I spent on networking groups, blogs, referral fees, logo design, identity development just to get that phone to ring?  The now ingrained habit has made me money.  I have taken clients away that where frustrated with their agents that they couldn’t get hold of or would not return calls timely.  This habit of mine was entrenched back in the day before email, smart phones, texting and tweeting. Even so, if someone is making the effort to call and talk to me personally, about my business, I owe it to them and more so to myself to TALK to them by the third ring or lose my $100.00 along with all my efforts to make that phone, dumb or smart, ring.

So Am I Chopped Liver or What?

Yesterday while checking out at the drug store it happened.   Hit me like a ton of bricks.  A store in which I have shopped at least once a week for over twenty years.   Most of the store employees have been around for ten or more years.  So over time, I and most of the clerks have become pretty familiar with each other to the point that they know what’s going on in my life by just tracking my weekly purchases.

Anna my checker today said, “You’re looking sharp”.  The comment caught me off guard.  My mind raced thinking of the proper response.  But, all I could think of was, “Does that mean on all my previous visits, I was chopped liver?”

The comment and my reaction have been bouncing around in the corridors of my mind for over a day now.  I pride myself as a confident well-adjusted person; however my reaction to her positive personal comment was anything but.  I’m to the point where I’m seriously planning to avoid using Anna’s checkout lane next time I’m in the store.

To give a well-meaning complement takes a very confident mature person.  A person who is neither threatened nor jealous of you but, is comfortable and positive within themselves. That’s what I came up with after two days of inward reflection.  GREAT, oh inward self.  What does it mean to me and my outward self?

Anna with her complement had shared some of her positive energy with me.  It was my place to politely accept her gift, thus lifting and adding to my own storehouse of positive goodwill and……… with a storehouse so filled be better able to share in like kind.

So, I’m thinking, it was not about “looking sharp” today and having been “chopped liver” for the last twenty years.  No, it was about having been chosen, yes chosen, to be part of a “domino effect” of and for goodwill. Just say thank you for the gift. 

“Dear reader I congratulate you for preserving through my sorting out process.”

Now that’s one complement down and you’re welcome..

Now I think I need to go buy some toothpaste and tell Anna she’s doing a great job in the domino game of positive goodwill sharing.

Is the World Dancing to Your Song ?

I had the opportunity to meet Lungala Rubadiri, a well-educated East African with perfect English.  However, it was not his university degree with honors, which captivated me.  It was the amazing stories of rural hunter-gatherer village life.  It was the word of mouth teachings of wisdom told around the nightly fires of his native Uganda for generations.

My favorite is called “The Drums.”…..   A man sits before many drums.  Drums of all sizes and shapes.  Drums of every color and design.  He must identify the drum that best represent his inner soul.  But there are many choices.  One cannot choose to play all the drums that are offered.  

He must find the drum that connects with his heart and soul.  The drum that allows him to play the rhythm that resonates with his very being.  If he chooses carefully, the world will dance to his song!

So my question to you is, when I hear your song, does the mere sound of it make me feel like dancing?  If not, maybe it’s time to choose a different drum.

But, if  I can indeed hear your heart and soul resonate from your drum, well then let all who hear dance to your song!

The following link is Lungala telling his “Drum” story, enjoy    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oCgs8fZyj8

Mark Behringer

Benjamin’s Birthday

At 1:48 p.m. Thursday Benjamin greeted the world for the first time.   A mere two hours after his birth the family would host a welcoming like none I have ever witnessed or been a part of before. 

 Now new born babes are not new to me, having experienced the birth of my own three children and having had visits with 4 earlier grandbabies within hours of each of their births. This one was different, much more of a party atmosphere.  As one who firmly believes that all things in life happen with purpose, it took me a few days of reflection to see the light of the gathering’s meaning.

Twelve of us celebrated together in the one small delivery room, passing the bundled Ben from one to another for each to hold and introduce ourself.  His mother, my daughter, looking amazingly fresh and joyful having produced the babe just two hours earlier, sitting up in what looked like some sort of cross between a bed and an Easy Boy recliner, all smiles. The child’s father seated next to her holding their baby Ben proudly.  A threesome all a glow, representing the love of family.  Four year old big brother Nick, trying his hardest to wait his turn to hold his new brother, representing sibling acceptance and support.  Sister Rachel, two (and we can’t forget, a ½ years old), dancing all around the forest of standing legs, unable to contain her excitement, representing pure joy.  Uncle Jon, just quietly watching as he leaned against a wall for what looked like a needed support. Half scared thinking of when it will be his day to be the new Dad, represented the father’s extended family.   My daughter’s mother and I, though no longer joined, united in our love for Benjamin, represented our contribution to Benjamin’s family tree.  Courtney, a college dorm mate of the third time mom there too, representing an involved circle of helpful and dear friends.  The attending nurse, passing through the group handing out food snacks hostest style, representing a full plate of life’s opportunities, free for the taking.  And the one role that took me the longest to understand was that of the student.  A young man from the University of Washington studying in the medical field.  A stranger, who had asked permission to witness the birth and be part of our group celebration.  I decided that his presence represented a life of curiosity and learning invited to come into our family circle from the outside and become part of this new life.  Now in the middle of all this my Mother telephoned with her welcome greeting for Benjamin.  She being Ben’s Great grandmother, represents not only three living family generations but, firsthand accounts of the family members two generations before that. Her personal in the flesh, family history five generations deep, to be shared with the sixth.

 Now dear reader the story does not end there.  No, for having read my tale you have become an important part of the Benjamin birthday story too.  His coming has now also touched you representing that greater global world that each of us, all be it sometimes unknowingly, interact with every day from our very moment of birth.

Benjamin’s first day, his first few hours of life, reminds me of the truth that states, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  Join in this party of celebration, as we all lift our glasses with a toast to each of our own wonderful, amazing futures yet to unfold.              To the Future…Cheers !

Mark Behringer