Saturday, July 29, 2006

Social Skills 101

I really have to laugh sometimes. I walked into Cable Access and noticed a meeting of the entire staff in the conference room just inside the door on the left. Then I saw Rosie approaching with another woman, and since I like kidding around with her, I said, "Rosie, should I go and make a statement to the meeting?" This tipped the other woman off to the event which was a surprise party for her. Whoops! I still didn't get it yet, and compounded the social misstep by heading back into the conference room. I walked in and said, "I suppose you've all wondered why I called this meeting" intending to be kind of funny, at which point they informed me that I had ruined the surprise. Sensing my work here was done, I headed to the edit room and began editing my tape of the Born to Slack show, about two lovable losers commenting on - among other things - our lack of social skills. So already I have some material for next time. On the way there, Rosie who is a really fun live-wire type heaped the abuse on for wrecking the surprise party. Of course, when I saw the other woman later I said I was sorry and she said not to worry - she already sensed something was up. But that doesn't mean the rest of the staff didn't retain a little bit of disappointment at my efforts. I asked if it was her birthday and she said that, no, the party was because it was her last day working there. In my mind I heard the expression "Thank God." I'll miss her, but you mean the memory will not be revisited every time I see her from now on? Perfect.
I recently honored the Hillsboro Air Show pilot for his impact on that situation. It's not everyone who can attend a social occasion and as a result of their presence, an entire metropolitan area thinks about never holding the event again. People thought I was kidding, but as a social screw-up I did admire the pilot's reach. You know you've made a bad impression when it's in the ground. You might say he took a scorched-earth approach to social approval, and from an etiquette standpoint, he failed to make a graceful departure. In my case, I failed to make a smooth entrance. You have to admire the speed. When it comes to social miscues, I waste no time. I arrived, walked in perhaps 10 or 15 feet and within seconds, I had derailed a surprise party and irked around 15 people. As my wife said when I told her about it later, "That's my boy."


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