Last night was my once a month, sometimes excruciatingly tiresome, obligatory networking cocktail-y work thing. This month’s outdoor event was okay — made fun primarily because my best guy friend in town (we’ll call him News Guy — I love him to bits) showed up. His timing couldn’t have been better. I needed someone to tell me if I had BBQ ribs stuck in my teeth. I did not.
So, I’m standing there, talking to News Guy and someone else we’ll call Manorexic, and this crazy woman comes up to me, addressing me by my first name, which she’s clearly just learned from my NAME TAG. She has her 14ish-year-old son in tow. They are obsessed with the Bud Light in my hand. That I’m so obviously DRINKING.
Turns out her elderly father makes model biplanes out of Bud Light cans. I learned it takes 18 cans to make one airplane. I also learned her father doesn’t drink, which poses a dilemma. Because the money he earns from the sale of these planes — apparently there’s a market for things of this nature — goes to his grandson’s music lessons. Which, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Oh, PLEASE let them be COUNTRY music lessons, or I’ll be crushed.’ The irony of the whole story is lost without the Country.
I told her when I was done, the can was hers. She thanked me, and she and her son — the music lesson grandson — backed away a good … three feet. Waiting. Watching. Chicken Hawks to my field mouse.
I tried to ignore my Beer Can Stalkers. It must have been around this time that conversation turned to seafood and my intense dislike of all things fishy. I distinctly remember saying I didn’t think I’d make a very good lesbian.
Note to self: In work-related social situations, best to remember the difference between INSIDE voice and OUTSIDE voice. Probably a good rule of thumb in any situation.
I almost forgot all about them.
Half an hour later, as the party was winding down, we moved to a completely different location. The Chicken Hawks chased me down, planted themselves in front of me and just stood there. Smiling. Holding a bag of cans. Not really a TRUE bag — more like a plastic toilet paper wrapper fashioned into a bag. Which only paints a better picture.
“Take your time. No rush!” Mama Stalker said, standing WAY too close, popping the Personal Space Bubble.
Rather than go off on the woman, News Guy took a step back and looked away. I stood there like an idiot, trying to chug the remainder of my Bud Light. I suggested she check out the trash for more cans.
She remained. Inside my Personal Space Bubble. Smiling.
I was so annoyed and freaked out I finally handed her my half full beer telling her I’d get another. “Are you sure?” she said, taking the can. Still smiling. Still completely socially inept.
The thing was, it wasn’t like she was some random person crashing the event. She had a name tag. She was invited. Apparently the nuances of “networking” had her confused.
Perhaps she’ll leave the beer can fetish at home next month. I shall be drinking wine.