Damnit, Why Do You Ask?

Some things are so awkward that you have to wait for the sting to wear off before you can blog about them. Case in point: interactions with coworkers that go south like a vacationing grandma.

My reputation precedes me. Though I’m mostly a tame, responsible person, this is not the impression that many have, and for the time being, I’m okay with that. I don’t care if you think that I brush my teeth with Jack Daniels, because for all intents and purposes, it seems like an okay idea. I’m all about saving time and finding new uses for things.

Ke$ha will probably regret all the party talk when, on an uneventful Tuesday, she really just wants to get coffee and paint her nails. Everyone will assume she’s depressed. “But that’s not the Ke$ha I remember  from Iowa City!” they’ll say, and I’ll know exactly how she feels.

Happy Hour to white collar professionals is what $2 long islands is to college kids. Messy. Full of spilled secrets and extramarital affairs. I try to avoid Happy Hour with people I work alongside. I have enough “Remember that time when you____” stories, and I don’t need to add pin-striped pants, or anyone whom I might CC on an email. Still, sometimes, HH is unavoidable, so I go in wearing full armor. I might have a gin drink, a beer, and maybe a soda. Then I say something about my workout class or my crock pot and I peace the hell out of there. Don’t be that guy, I think.

At a dirty green table around six in the evening, my coworkers were talking about the bar scene.  I was crushing the ice in the bottom of my water, planning my exit. I was younger than everyone by ten or twenty years, which meant conversation was to be steered toward “age appropriate” things because, of course, I can’t possibly do anything except drink and post photos of it on facebook. Isn’t that what all you kids are doing these days?

But, like I said, I don’t mind the perception. I’ll indulge.

“Cassie, what do you think of Such-and-Such club?” Asked my coworker.
“Oh, Such and Such? Oh my god that place is NASTY,” I said, “Well, the main floor is okay. It’s like a lounge except trashy girls are swinging above you. And they’re not ashamed of what they have to offer.  But the second floor is really where it’s at. It’s like a smokey rave. The bathroom stalls have those floor-to-ceiling doors so you can like, do drugs off the toilets. Or whatever people do in bathrooms. I’d say it’s pretty seedy. I wouldn’t go there alone.”

I knew I’d failed as soon as I said it. “Huh, that’s interesting,” Coworker said. She set her beer down. “Interesting” is the Midwestern way of telling someone to eat shit.
“What? Are you thinking about going there?”
“Uh, no,” She said, furrowing her brow,“That’s where my son went for his birthday last night.”

Jesus, Cassie, I thought. You don’t even need to be drunk to ruin Happy Hour. I bumbled and back-tracked and tried to lie and say maybe it was just the time I went there… but it was too late. I called her baby ugly without even realizing it.

The takeaway from this is to learn the art of being better conversationalists. Before giving your opinion, make sure you know why it’s being solicited. Prepare for questions with a simple, “Why do you ask?”

You might keep some kid from getting his shit raided by his newly-freaked-out parents.



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