As I continue to pretend to be an important person at “the company” (I work in advertising), it becomes increasingly obvious that in addition to arriving at the office before noon, resisting the urge to binge drink until after 5, and not walking around squashing people’s self esteem, I’m going to have to learn to schmooze.
Easy enough, right? Stand in a room, smile, nod, talk, memorize the names of people’s kids…
Except that I have–for some time now– been a word vomiter. Given, vomiting has been a kind of theme in my life, but word vomit is not like real vomit. With real vomit you can avoid certain foods, take a TUMS, carry around a little baggy and then hide it before anyone notices you tossed your amaretto sour. Word vomit is like having tourettes, only worse, because people don’t feel sorry for you. Or invite you to be on Oprah.
To rewind, I should mention that I have no idea how I arrived to this place in my life. I can’t figure out what I keep accidentally doing that proves to people I’m capable, but I’ve accidentally done it all the way to now and sometimes I look around and– like a pie face who scores a date with a pantyless cheerleader — cant help but think “this is going to end poorly. ”
Sometimes I’ll give myself a pep talk. “What the fuck, Caroline? You are the smartest girl in the whole world. You should totally be here. You should be taking over the world. You’re number one.”
And then I think “did Sarah Palin give herself this talk?”
But here I am. And what else is here? Schmoozing. And what else? My penchant for saying things that are not only inappropriate, but could probably get me fired or something.
I recently had a business dinner with an old employer. For whatever reason, she has taken an interest in helping to refine my “personal brand” into something a little bit more professional. Gone are the days of “fuck the man! i’m doing it my way or no way at all!” and now I’m left to admit that the man has very little to do with anything. Beneath the war cries of Gen X (I think that’s what I am) is a delicate facade veiling truths about our common personalties: we’re all lazy, none of us has an attention span, and when it comes to conflict, just send me an email.
But I believe, as do a few others, that I can overcome this. If I really focus, perhaps I can overcome my glaring incompetencies to become the last of a dying breed– one the of great creative minds of our time.
Except for the word vomit.
I can focus on waking up early; I can refine my tender teaching skills; I can try not to think everyone around me is a fucking moron, but in the still of the night, alone in my heart, I’m a word vomiter… and it gets me every time.
Take a particularly important work function a few weeks back. Standing in front of me, by chance, were three men of CEO level, all previous employers of mine. As I ventured to make a cute comment about the my employment history littered before me, I realized I should have kept my mouth shut. What started as the aforementioned was capped classically by “and I never slept with a one of you.”
Who says that?
Oh, right. Me. The word vomiter.