Thursday, December 22, 2005

Socially Awkward

I went to the gym yesterday for a little sauna session. All I wanted to do was sit in the sauna with my book and read. To my dismay, an older gentleman had snagged the seat with the best lighting. But no worries, I was still bent on reading my book.

Only ten words in to how I can DHV people was I politely interupted with "What kind of book are you reading?" Not really sure what that meant and not too willing to answer, I answered "Nonfiction." So if you know, I can be a jerk... a lot. Not that I want to be rude, but I really just wanted to read my book. Besides two guys wrapped in towels, sweating profusely isn't a normal situation for conversation. So I quickly answered and buried my nose into the book.

"I like to read books too." His statement was spiced with the accent of a middle Easterner. "I have never once in my life finished a book. But I have learned something, you must always keep on learning. Is that the point, yes?" Now I wasn't a jerk at this point because I politely listened and even carried on a whimsical conversation with him, if only for a moment. Then at the first sign of a break I was quick to leaf through my book again.

And then he did something that few people even have the gall to do. He said "It is to me surprising that the book, when I having a talk with you, is more important, yes?" And I thought, shit... this guy just called me out. I perked up, looked at him and set aside my book. Now his fortright comment caught my attention.

We carried on a conversation for what seemed like ten minutes. Another person came in and out during the conversation. But it got me thinking. Yeah this guy was nice. But that just wasn't enough for me to turn over my attention. Besides, I had be salivating over this book all day, waiting to turn page after page. At this point the book had more value to me. Until he called me out. A book will still be there, this man may have something to offer me. May is the key word. He may have more value. Until he ponied up a strong, but relevent comment, he actually didn't demonstrate higher value than the book. Which at this point meant a lot to me. The conversation didn't really mean too much to me in the end; he even gave me his name, but I have nothing to link his name to, so I can't remember him. Call me shallow, but its what happened.

Maybe I'll see him around again and I'll politely listen. Or maybe I'll steer the conversation in the direction I want and we can both learn something. Hell, if we become friends, we might start a band.

Alright... I started writing this about 3 hours ago before a senior engineer invited me and a handful of other into his office to smoke cigars and drinking beers and some whiskey. This job is awesome.


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