Saturday, July 26, 2008

first impressions

Reason for blog absence: work, Buffy, no desire to write and the feeling I had nothing to say, and spending too much time on the phone this week.

Last night I went over to a friend and neighbor's for an outdoor projection of The Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" on a white wall behind their house. We're talking an old school projector and a brick wall painted white--very classic. We sat on blankets and then after the movie had a bonfire in one of those portable fire pit things and made smores. There was popped popcorn, pizza, beer, and I brought strawberries and cupcakes. Why don't people do this more often?

I, being a tool, waited in my apartment an extra ten minutes so that I could arrive fashionably late by fifteen, which means, on time, sort of, for the pre-movie revelry. There was already one dude there, but as he was a visiting houseguest for the weekend, I am not sure whether one could say that he was super early or staying super late. The rest of the crowd came about an hour after. Apparently, an invite for 8 pm means that people come at 9:30 pm. And they say that Americans are the punctual types.

I found out that one guy was a union organizer and we talked about labor law and history. These are not usually the topics of first conversation. In my defense, I at first asked all the obligatory social lubricant questions in my usual stilted, awkward manner, like "where are you from" and "what do you do" and "how do you like that hipster neighborhood you live in" and blah blah blah. But, seriously, how boring are those questions. I much prefer asking people which super power they prefer--flight or invisibility? Or deciding to run with a theme and so if they do labor union stuff, they must want to talk about the NLRB, the FLSA, and great labor-themed art of the 20th century, like Rukeyser's The Book of the Dead. Somehow, saying "The Book of the Dead" feels very odd, and yet totally appropriate during a first meeting conversation. I somehow then steered the conversation to Whitney Houston: Awesome or Not.

My generally vivacious personality means that I am generally regarded as friendly and engaging; my awkward conversation topic choices, blunt delivery, rapid changes of topic and somewhat stilted manner means that I eventually come off as very weird. I wonder if I should try to change my social interaction methods, or just roll with this. My Goffmanian anxiety is not so great as to wish to micromanage every impression. Most people find me either awesome or off-putting within five minutes. I suppose that is true of most people.

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