Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You know what I suck at?

(Aside from performing brain surgery and giving birth and spinning kitten poop into gold and saying “innuendo” without giggling, I mean.)

I really, really suck at making small talk with security-desk guys.

And it’s not some hooty-falooty elitist/classist thing. I pretty much suck at making small talk with everyone. Dinners with old friends, date nights with the boyfriend, family reunions, strangers in bars … my whole life is one long string of awkward, deathly silences. And it’s all my fault.

But security-desk guys are supposed to make small talk. It’s in their job description. (Right?)

Here’s how a typical morning plays out in the lobby of my office building:

Me (walking through door): Good morning!
Security Desk Guy (barely able to tear himself away from the fascinating stain on his tie): Hi, Jack. (The entire security staff in my office calls me Jack. See how much I suck at this?)
Random homeless person who wanders in behind me: Mumble, mumble.
Security Desk Guy: Didja watch that Bears game last night? Here’s a picture of my wife naked. Do you need a kidney?

It’s just as bad in my condo building—and I see those guys waaaaay more often. I pass by the security desk at home at least six times a day, and all I get is an occasional nod and a complimentary opening of the automatic door. (Modern security guys have tons of cool remote-control toys that let them open doors, dim lights and probably even manage Willie Aames’ career with just a touch of a button. Little buttons are the future of technology, I tell you.)

In sharp contrast, my dad comes to visit me about once a year. He’ll pass through the lobby just once to buy a paper across the street, and by the time he gets back he’s gotten Lakers season tickets with the entire security staff.

I. Cannot. Win.

And just what would I hope to accomplish if I could make small talk? Manage FEMA, for one. Apparently all it takes to get that job is to chat blithely with Dubya about … oh, I don’t know … horses. Or something. And Dubya’s apparently a total crack whore, which is kind of like horse. And for him, managing the country is more about making kind-ofs than addressing realities.

Anyway, I gotta hone my skills first before the real job interview. So if you need me, I’ll be in the lobby. I hope my voice doesn’t get too … um … hoarse.

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