Meetings: Part 1

I attend a lot of meetings–gatherings, working sessions, study groups, vacations, sporting events, church, happy hour. Basically, any time I am required to be with more than one other person in any area in my life, it’s a meeting in my book. I’m at a meeting right now, in fact. It is obviously not a meeting that I’m leading–although I’m fairly confident that I could be leading and writing color commentary at the same time. I’m really good at meetings.

This particular meeting incorporated one of those (stupid) ice-breaker activities at the beginning, designed to move everyone out of their self-assigned cocoon groups and into the morass of everybody else, under the guise of helping us meet new people but actually making us all really eager to get back to our cocoons and away from strangers who we weren’t really going to be able to truly connect with in the three minutes allocated to the activity–I mean, come on. Without the benefit of more time or alcohol or scandalous news about somebody we all know, nobody is going to step out of their comfort zone and try to see the real person behind the name tag holding a paper cup of weak coffee and a stale donut. Still, I know how to play. I refrain from talking about my abject boredom or my ideas about what would be more interesting or how the main speaker had something in his teeth that prevented me from hearing anything he said and can you really expect us to learn anything from someone with such poor oral hygiene. I put a smug smile on my face, bemused by my own observations and the restraint I have managed, and I cheerfully inquire of my forced partner what she is looking forward to the most this fall. “I really hope we have warm weather,” she quipped. I feel as though I have seen into her soul.

Another “team-building” activity at this meeting had us forming a “high-five!” group of three (the fuck??) and do a tally of all sorts of critical data points, including how many buttons we were wearing, how many pets we have, and how many musical instruments we play. (I named piano, guitar, saxophone, recorder, triangle, rhythm sticks, maracas, bongo drum, autoharp, tambourine, and cowbell. I was angling to include my breathtaking ability to make a wine glass whistle, but it was not met with my high-five-team’s approval. So eleven. I play eleven musical instruments. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.) Seriously, people. Is this really the way humans get to know one another? Because if it is, I can understand why I have such trouble dating. Here I am, asking my prospective fella about his family relationships and whether he cried watching A Star is Born and how does he feel about the designated hitter rule, and telling him about my failed marriage and how I struggle to reconcile my need for physical intimacy with my need for physical space and that I would rather have the superpower of flight instead invisibility, when I should really be checking his button inventory and sharing my facility with the kazoo.

I will be single for the rest of my life.

But no matter. I’m fine with meetings. Meetings seem to be the hallmark of “working.” I work; therefore, I meet. I can put a check mark in my “contribute in some way toward the collective of humanity” box and then go home and sip a beer on the porch with self-satisfaction. Not right now, of course; I mean, it’s the middle of the day, I’m not going home to sip beer right NOW. Come on.

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