Monday, December 19, 2005

Well, I made it to the party. I didn't wear my black jeans, white sneakers, or any of my free running t-shirts. The wife done dressed me up all purty.

(I just spent about 15 minutes trying to cut-n-paste together a picture of my outfit with the cartoon image of my head from my Blogger profile. Apparently my pitiful image editing tools are incapable of such herculean tasks. Just imagine a very sharp-looking outfit, headed by a guy with a coffee cup glued to his face. Hilarious indeed.)

The party was pretty good, and the guests were fancily and festively attired. As it turns out, most fancy dresses for women don't cover the breastular area, (I guess that costs extra) thus the party was delightfully bosomy. I don't recall what most of the guys were wearing, but there were some tuxedos.

Being at the party reminded me of how horrible I am at mingling. I clung to my wife for dear life, wary of having to make non-feces-related small talk with the other guests. Within minutes of arriving at the party, I ditched my suit jacket because the very pressure of mingling was causing me to sweat profusely. I vaguely recall the following conversations:

1) When it became obvious that my wife required more social stimulation than I could provide while hiding behind her skirt, I turned to the nearest person and said, "Hi! I'm mingling!" The lady was nice, but soon the conversation degraded into a list of ingredients that went into the meatballs. I have a hard time feigning interest in meatball recipes. It's a character flaw I'm prepared to live with.

2) The wife and I chatted with one tuxedo'ed lawyer who, while swirling his glass of wine, bemoaned the lack of racial diversity in the enclave of Mill Valley, where he had recently moved. Poor guy. I'll bet he misses all his homeys from the projects here in big city.

3) There was another conversation that included someone sitting more than four feet away, so I was totally unable to hear her end of it. When there's background noise, as there is in virtually any social setting, I find it exceedingly difficult to hear people who aren't within a four-feet radius of me. It's the cone of conversation. Folks who are 4.5 feet away probably find me standoffish.

I find that when I do try to insert myself into conversation, it's invariably to make a smartass comment. It is, apparently, the only thing I bring to the table at a party. I listened in on one conversation about a painter who juxtaposes HIV-related imagery with Japanese writing, painted in a 17th century European style. I nodded knowingly and added that I do the same thing with my Java code.

My wife introduced me to some chap who she said did, "some kind of underwater, nuclear, robotic engineering," I gasped and said, "Me too!" He was taken aback and asked what exactly my experience was in that field. I was ready to write the guy off at that point. However, later, he was raving about how all his neighbors get together every month to perform big projects for each other, like building a deck, or revamping a garage, and I chastised him for wearing flashy buttons, inappropriate for an Amish gentleman. This he took in stride, redeeming himself as a conversationalist for me.

He immediately found someone else to talk to.

And that's why I work from home.


Leesa said...

I'm the same way. I do much better at home by myself.
And chatting with friends online seems to suit me much better than in person.

Mike said...

Online chatting is the best. I believe that has been mathematically proven.