I'm not a huge fan of meeting new people. The reason why is because I'm fully aware that most of the time, the first impression that I give is not a good one. I'm kind of an acquired taste. Remember the first time you tried a single malt whiskey and you wondered why people liked it? It's definitely like that. Actually, for most people, I'm probably more like Vegemite. The first experience results in you making a horrible face and wondering what insane idiot came up with this concept. Unfortunately for me, there have been many moments of my life where I had to meet new people on a constant basis. Teaching people how to do face to face marketing was the peak in meeting new people. I estimate that in the five years that I was in that business, I met over 250,000 people ranging from interviewees, employees, prospects, and clients / customers. That is quite a lot of Facebook friend requests to reject, by the way. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. For those of you who aren't aware, I have already anticipated the flow of how conversations will go when I meet someone new. I will italicize what my thoughts are, and the non italic will be what I actually say. It goes something like this:
Me: Ok, somebody is approaching. Do they look friendly? Where is the nearest exit and/or person I can pretend I need to go talk to?
Stranger: Hi! I'm Charlize Theron! (Hey! It's my imaginary example, no judgement!) What's your name?
Me: Which name are you looking for? What name will cause the least amount of questions? Wait a second, why do I need to justify my fucking name? Hi, Charlize, I'm Derek Fisher.
Charlize: Hey Derek, nice to meet you. Fisher, that's a strange last name.
Me: You racist bitch! You already went to that question? What the fuck! I thought you might be different, Charlize Theron! Well, Fisher is actually quite common here in the US, UK, and if you put a "c" in the surname, very common in Germany and Jewish families. Mine has no "c", so not Jewish. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Charlize: Oh, that is so cool. I love mixed families. So where is your mom from then? China?
Me: Do you know there are other countries in Asia besides China, you geographic imbecile? Wait a second, mathematically speaking, there is a large probability that if you meet an Asian person they actually will be of Chinese ethnicity. Holy fuck, are you really using mathematical probabilities in your inner dialogue? Reinforce stereotypes much, dickhole? Well, if Kutztown, PA is now considered China, then yes, my mom is Chinese. In the Germanic blonde hair blue eyed manner.
Charlize: Oh. Then your dad is Asian?
Me: Oooooh, someone has picked up that Chinese might not have been a good use of wording. I've been upgraded to Asian! Do I let her off the hook and explain or do I extend this pointless conversation a couple more questions? Screw it, in for a penny, in for a pound. My dad is Asian if you put a cock in front of him. She looks very confused and startled. Fine, I suppose I need to explain. Cock as in Caucasian. He's white. Although, come to think of it, the mailman was Chinese...
Charlize: (nervous laughter and then silence)
Me: Well, that took all of one minute to have to explain something completely irrelevant to the conversation, sweet. And screw you, that was a funny joke about a Chinese mailman! I'm adopted.
Charlize: I'm so sorry, I just realized that I need to go talk to literally any one else at the moment. It was nice meeting you!
And that is pretty much how many conversations go. No one should have to be at a business conference and have to utter the word "adopted" 13 times. And yet, that has actually occurred. The problem isn't one conversation about it, it's the accumulation of repeated conversations that are startlingly similar to one another. Unless I'm in LA, then the conversation goes like this:
Me: Hi, I'm Derek Fisher.
Stranger: Like the basketball player?
Me: I'm taller and darker on court.
Me: Can I just be seated for dinner, please?