So then…he asks me a question and 10 eyeballs stare straight at me – all 5 executives wait intently for my answer.
Now normally, I LOVE to be the center of attention! I’m happy to chitter-chatter away, non-stop, on all manner of topics.
But this is a BUSINESS lunch meeting – and Dan’s question is FINANCIAL – and I have NO BUSINESS answering a FINANCIAL question.
Oh, I got me some skills, yo – but Finance is not in my jurisdiction – (it’s not even in my solar system). And half the words he USED in his question aren’t even in my VOCABULARY.
But I’m the only one representing my company at the meeting and we’d really like to do business with this group, so I take a stab at answering.
Initially, my long-winded response elicits a furrowed brow of confusion from one of the women executives (come on, Sheila, give a sister a break!) – but then I toss in some buzz words and a couple insightful points, and everyone seems to nod in agreement.
I breathe an internal sigh of relief, spear a morsel of salmon, and secretly congratulate myself on my delicate menu choice. I’ve suffered enough disastrous business lunches to know NEVER to order
* the Goopy Sauce-Spewing Pasta
* the Crunchy Noisy-as-a-Wood-Chipper Salad
* the Mouth-Full-O’-Sandwich Conversation Blocker — or
* the Bean Burrito (no explanation required).
I’m even wearing my fancy work outfit today – the one that needs to be DRY CLEANED. That’s right, no washable poly-cotton blend for these execs – I’m rockin’ the DRY CLEAN ONLY blouse. Yes, I said it – BLOUSE, people. That’s how corporate I am today!
So the dialogue continues – I ask some intelligent questions – I nod thoughtfully at their answers – I appear professional, competent, and even – dare I say it – sophisticated. I’m making a great first impression!
Just then, the server comes over and asks, “Does anyone here own a blue car parked out front?”
I own a blue car parked out front.
“Um, why do you ask?” I say.
He says, “Someone just came in to report that the car is running and all the doors are unlocked.”
So I mumble, “berjurmertalabrim,” bolt out of my seat, and dash to the parking area –
and sure enough, there is my car with engine running and doors unlocked – where it has been for a solid 30 minutes.
The electronic key is in the cup holder.
I must have forgotten to press the engine stop button.
And grab my key.
And lock my doors.
So now, I have to go back into the restaurant.
Or DO I?
What if I just drove away right now and never returned?
Would they finish my salmon and talk about that weird girl who disappeared so mysteriously?
Or do I return to the restaurant and…
1) Pretend that it was NOT my car:
“What? Huh? Nope. Not my car. I don’t even OWN a car. I WALKED here.”
2) Just admit that I’m a doofus:
“I don’t even possess basic common sense to turn off a car, but you should totally trust your BUSINESS to me.”
(And by the way, who’s the guy who reported this occurrence to the restaurant in the first place — thereby causing my embarrassment!?)
(Oh, YOU may call him a Good Samaritan. I call him a Big Fat Tattle Tale!)
So I slink back into the restaurant and take my seat as Dan says, “Was it your car? What happened?”
I pick up my fork and say nonchalantly, “Oh, I like to keep the engine running and the doors unlocked to make it more convenient for car thieves. I’m a giver like that.”
Sheila says, “Oh my! So your car’s been running THIS WHOLE TIME?”
Oh, shut up, Sheila! Mind your own beeswax! (I say in my head)
“Yep,” I say blithely. “Hey, if they’re not gonna recognize an easy score when they see it, they really don’t deserve to steal my car. Don’t you agree? So Dan – tell me more about your plans for next quarter.”
— Darcy Perdu
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(Can you share an embarrassing story from work, restaurants, or cars? Any other doofuses (doofi?) out there?)