Friday, October 9, 2009

friday story time, vol. 2: not so classy first impressions

i pride myself on the fact that i am a pretty good people person and fairly adept at feeling out a crowd and behaving accordingly; in short, i can strike up and maintain a conversation with just about anyone.  this was a skill i honed at a young age when my mom was a young, working, single mother and would take me to after-hours business dinners and events.  (she refused to leave me with a babysitter.)  i learned when it was appropriate to talk and, most importantly, not to talk.  fast forward to yesterday evening - yesterday evening, i apparantly failed at my once artful craft.  here's the way it went down...

who/what: a local political candidate (who has the strong backing and support of my association) hosting a mix & mingle political reception for "young professionals"
where: trendy mexican food restaurant in the city
when: too recent for me to be over yesterday

let me preface by saying my work day started out really, really early.  i had a 7:00 a.m. business breakfast at the junior league, sped back to the office to prepare for two back to back presentations, got ready for a 4 o'clock board of directors meeting, then headed out to attend political fundraisers and reception events.  knowing that i would have such a busy day and be meeting with many electeds and members, i wore my amazing classy new ann taylor dress and a pair of cute, albeit uncomfortable, pumps.

by the time the board meeting ended, i was spent.  i had been running around all day interacting with all kinds of people, and i was starting to feel a little off my game.  i went to my desk to have a brief moment of quiet and quickly respond to a few emails before leaving for the receptions. 

when i arrived, exhaustion begins to set in.  the hostess points me up the stairs into the private banquet room where the reception was being held.  i begin walking up the extremely uneven terra cotta tiled steps holding onto my giant handbag and the rail handle all the way.  when i enter the room, there were already many others and i notice some familiar faces.  good, i think, sometimes these events can get a little awkward.  i seek out some of my government affairs counterparts in related industries.  we all make small talk, and some people branch off into smaller groups.  i tell one of my counterparts, andy, how tired i am and how i'm struggling to maintain a level of interesting conversation.  (i know him well, so it's okay to say this.)  andy laughs and says he understands.  i figured i didn't want to stick around too much longer, so i decided to seek out the candidate to say hello, ask him how the campaign was going, and if there was anything my company could do for him.  let me remind you, this is an event the candidate was hosting for "young professionals;" he appears to be in his late 60s/early 70s but is a very sharp, intelligent man and recognizes the need to garner young voter support.  i found him wrapping up a conversation with someone else.  perfect timing!  we shake hands and re-introduce ourselves.  we talk about some of the main issues he's focusing on and looking to tackly if elected.  i agree and note that he's doing great.  there is a slight moment of awkward silence and we both look around the room.  i notice that the room is fairly full now and the people filling the room are by no means "young."  i mean they're not old, but they're not young guns; they've been around the block a time or two, alright? 

the silence carried on for a few seconds too long, so i said blurted: wow, not too many spring chickens here this evening, eh?  followed by a nudge and me attempting to wink.  (seriously, did i just do that?!  meredith, get it together!)

to which he responded: um, i'm sorry, what? 

me: oh, um, i just mean this is a reception hosted by you for YOUNG professionals, right?  like spring chickens?  i just didn't notice many YOUNG people here.  i mean i'm young, and i'm a professional, and i'm here... and you're... errrrrr... a professional, too... (my face turns red.)

him: oh.  well, i do have a lot of supporters and i'm really proud of that...

me: oh, i know!  i'm sorry, i just meant this is a young professional event, and everyone's... well, everyone here supports you, i mean.  yay!  i think it's so great, you're going to be great, this venue is great! 

him: yeah... thanks... i better go.  i think some "young" people just arrived... (he walks off)

crap.  really, meredith?  you had to say that?  you had to act like a total idiot.  it was obviously time for me, my new dress, and giant handbag to leave.

feeling pretty crappy about the whole thing, i figured it best that i quietly slip out of the reception.  no need to make a fool of myself in front of anyone else. 

remember the uneven steps i told you about?  well, here's where they come in.  the staircase is kind of a focal point; it overlooks the entire main restaurant so everyone can see the person walking up or down the stairs.  proud of my very "young professional-esque" outfit, i strut myself down the stairs like i was walking down a freaking catwalk.  let me tell you, i worked it.  worked it until i got about four steps from the bottom, and that's when i came crashing down.  everyone turned and stared at me with wide eyes and dropped jaws.  i jumped up, straightened out my dress, and ran limped out the door.  yesterday evening showed me that i'm clearly not as suave as i think i am.

1 comment:

Martinis or Diaper Genies? said...

thanks for stopping by!
omg I would DIE and kill someone.