at 6:30 this morning i went through a hateful ritual of putting on a suit and driving to tysons corner for a networking breakfast. long story short, our firm is a member of a business development community called the breakfast club (read: pyramid scheme) that hosts events to draw together professionals (read: whores) to build networks and business. the breakfast is once a month. i have managed to weasel my way out of representing the firm at these glad hand shows for a solid span of 8 months. my arsenal of excuses is exhausted, so there i idled along chain bridge road soaking up some jose gonzalez and practicing my canned responses and intimations of placation.
instead of mixing it up in the crowd, i tend to shuffle my feet in one place in the corner hoping i can make it through the coffee and chitchat hour in the banquet room without having to press my card into a single hand. this is clearly impossible, but i am proud to say i managed to walk out of there with only one card in my pocket. it turned out to be a woman, a guest, who seemed to hate these things as much as i do. in a way we were the greasers at the party of socs, maybe kindred spirits. in any case, i usually survive and should admit that occasionally i have a good conversation.
in these situations, voices in my head, possibly from a darker comedy side of myself, mutter things that i'd dare not literally speak in a social situation. there have been times when i've had to put forth a concerted effort to suppress the urge to blurt one out. these impulses, banal and childish as they may be, put a smile on my face, so i thought i'd share a few with you.
ron: hello, i'm ron pella. good to meet you. (extends limp fish handshake)
me: hi, ron. say, how's your wife doing?
see, that wouldn't work out so well. raises lots of questions, gets someone hot under the collar pretty quickly. it assumes so much. still, wouldn't you love to say it just once? no?
subtle grunts followed by explosive shit sounds come from the single stall in the country club men's room. snickers come from men in suits pissing at the urinals or picking their noses in front of the mirrors. i'm waiting to enter said stall due to case of stage fright and inability to piss at these particular types of urinals lacking any edge or partition. eventually i give up and decide i'm bailing early on this thing anyway and can make it. before i go, i rap my knuckles on the stall door a couple of times.
poor bastard: what, it's occupied!
me: i know...i just wanted to see if i could get your business card when you're done.
poor bastard: what?!?
me: it's okay, i'll wait out here for you. i'm just going to slide mine under the door now.
a guest speaker, the cliche chest thumper, rants on and on over his slide show presentation. he's so into it. it reminds me of tom cruise's character, frank mackey, in magnolia - the self help sex book author and motivational speaker who coaches guys on getting laid. in a zone out moment i almost expect today's speaker to start chanting "respect the cock!" like frank mackey. when he wraps up his diatribe, he asks if there are any questions.
at this point, i wonder how the crowd, a mixed bag of generations, perceives the breakfast club film reference in the title of this quasi club. each and every time i've been to one of these, the speaker offers to take questions, and the obvious question, which judd nelson framed perfectly, just had to be asked.
yeah, i got a question. does barry manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
alas i survived and made my exit during the follow-up speakers bit, telling a colleague i was headed to the restroom. he knew i was ghost and whispered me out as i passed with a "keyser soze."