There’s nothing I like better than feeling like totally super awkward, so I chose to subject myself to an event the other night where I would know no one. And I walked into it all alone. While a woman greeted me with a name tag, I looked out into the sea of strangers who appeared to be having a fabulous enough time without me horning in.
As far as I was concerned, they already knew each other, engaging in comfortable and relaxed conversation, huddling in small private circles. I tentatively entered the room, trying not to look nervous, having no idea where to begin. And if I stood there too long by myself, everyone who saw me standing there helpless would assume I was a social outcast and begin to ignore me. It’s how they do it in the animal kingdom, isn’t it?
Show of hands: who just went fetal at the that thought? Me too. And I was there!
Perhaps you’ve heard me mention this new network of local bloggers, an alliance, if you will, formed by The Sacramento Bee, called Sacramento Connect. They held what is frightfully referred to as “a mixer” the other night. Mixers, apparently, refer to a social gathering that requires you to walk into a room full of strangers and “mix”. But you can’t really focus on a real conversation because you are too busy trying not to trip on the way in, or spill wine down the front of your white blouse, or talk with your mouth full of appetizers and spit, say, escargot on-a-stick while blurting out with far too much force: “Oh, it’s so so so nice to meet you” followed by laughing too loud and nobody knows why you’re even laughing because you didn’t say anything funny, but you get so nervous at these things and gosh, is it me or is it hot in here?
And are you ready for the worst part? It’s when someone clinks on a glass to shut everyone up so an MC can thank you for coming and LET’S ALL GO AROUND THE ROOM AND INTRODUCE OURSELVES.
AAAAAAACKKK!!!!!! I hate that.
And since I froze up, I was unable to excuse myself and run to the bathroom, and that would have only attracted attention to myself anyway, and they might have thought I had a digestive “problem” having to actually run to the bathroom. So I stood there as single drips of sweat rolled ever-so-slowly down my back, while each person one-by-one said their name, going around the room.
It felt like a countdown to my death. I stood there waiting and sweating and thinking, Why do we have to say our names? Isn’t this why we have name tags slapped on our chests? Why must they torture us like this? Why did I even come? I hate these people. I hate every single person in this room right now. I wish an alien spaceship, in a fantastic deus ex machina moment, would crash through the roof right now and kill us all. Or just kill half of us and take me back to outer space with them, because I’ve always wanted to meet an alien so that I could include them in my memoirs and — Oh God! It’s my turn! Someone is poking me in the back. What’s my name again? Crap, I knew it a minute ago. How should I say my name? Should I just say my first name? Or my first and last name? What’s everyone else been doing?
Have you ever noticed that? When people go around the room and are unsure of the format of their answer, they simply copy the person before them? I was at this other party a couple of weeks ago where people were instructed to go around the room, introduce themselves and say a sentence or two about nothing in particular. The first two people said something nice and unexpected, but then the third person said why they were attending this function and everyone else must have decided that was the easy answer and simply also said why they were there, myself included.
You must think I belong to a lot of Somethings Anonymous groups because even I’m noticing a theme here: that I attend many functions where we have to “go around the room”.
Wait – where was I? Oh yeah, I was about to introduce myself at this “mixer”. While this was a relatively easy exercise because all we had to do was say our name and the name of our blog. But the third word of the title of my blog is often mistaken to be heard as “and” instead of “in”, so I debate about how much I should enunciate that third word. I’m sure I sound like an idiot when I say it: My name is Margaret and my blog is called “nanny goats IN panties”.
Who cares if it’s IN or AND? I mean, really, we’re just going around the room. But no, I have to say IN and also say “panTies”, so that it doesn’t sound like “pannies”.
Pannies? Really? I’m worried that someone will think I’m saying “pannies”?
Also, I met my arch nemesis, Mark Valdez, that evening. I didn’t know he was my arch nemesis until he told me. We both kind of try to race each other to the top of the Sacramento Top 25 list which resets every two weeks. (so if you want to help me pummel him this week, you’ll click on this Sacto Top 25 link). Ha! Take that Mark Valdez! You, who I envy at the moment because you thought to take pictures of this mixer and I didn’t.
I left (with my parting gift of a bottle of Revolution Zinfandel, as the event was held at Revolution Winery) heaving a sigh of relief that that was over. Little did I know that it wasn’t really over because I found myself the next night with yet another encounter of a roomful of strangers.
Tune in next time when our heroine… (that’s me, by the way. I’m referring to me. I’m the heroine in this picture) … when our heroine attends the Sacramento Bee Virtual Wine Tasting event.
Remember to click this Sacto Top 25 link. A vote for me is a vote for America!
I would also like to thank the following people for being nice to me and talking to me in spite of my red splotched shirt and escargot-on-a-stick-smeared hair:
- SFChick of Limit Reached
- Ann of Breast Cancer? But Doctor, I Hate Pink
- Kristy of CakeGrrl
- Marc of Marc Valdez Weblog