Saturday, November 22, 2008

I hate to be a bother, but your existence is embarrassing me

A couple of days ago I had one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, but first I should say that I am pretty easily embarrassed. I can't watch "The Wonder Years" for more than about 45 seconds at a time, because it is so excruciatingly embarrassing. I feel embarrassed when I feel other people should be, and because it seems more and more that people just have no sense of shame, I spend a lot of my time with my head down and cheeks flushed.
Yup, that is still very hard to watch. I just get chills and goose bumps, then I have to turn it off after only a couple of seconds.

In meetings, whether they are work, church or otherwise, I spend the time with my head tucked neatly in between my legs, embarrassed out of my mind for people who make comments, ask stupid questions or a combination of the two. So it is in this spirit of feeling the embarrassment that others feel so immune to, that my job is trying to shame me to death.
Once a year my company has a work party to show they are not the heartless zombified soul sucking vampire mutants that they appear to be throughout the rest of the year. This year they decided to have us eat at a western themed restaurant and have corresponding activities.
I don't do well with themes. As a matter of fact, I went to Outback one time and when I was forced to order the "Kangaroo Hoppin' Pork Chops" (yes, I would love to order a $21.5o piece of poorly cooked meat and have to sound like a total moron when I order it.) I decided I would never set foot in an Outback ever again (mission accomplished).
Anyway, so we go to this restaurant with sawdust on the ground, which is fine, if it weren't neatly swept into perfect squares around each table (on second thought, no, it’s never fine to have sawdust on the floor). I felt as though it would be a crime to disturb their beautiful representation of filth, but it's like not shoeing away the fly on my food because it would obstruct the overall experience they were trying to create. My boss spoke to the company using "y'all"s and other terms that mad me wish the plastic guns that the waiters carried were real so I could just unload on myself. They told us it was "chow time" using a cow bell. I felt herded. When I got there I looked at the first person I saw and said, "I could not be more embarrassed than if that had been their intent." Bless the heart of the poor employees that have to role-play for $6.00 an hour. I don't know how you do it. You must spend half your paycheck on alcohol and the other half on shame suppressants (if they don't make those then some other drug that just makes you feel nothing or not realize where you are and what horrible things you are doing.)
I spent the 4 excruciating hours sitting on a ledge looking over the city. I couldn't decide whether to throw myself off or just enjoy the view. In hindsight, I probably should have done the former. People were dressing up in old western costumes and getting their picture taken.
And then there was karaoke. You never lose respect for someone quite as fast as when you realize they have no problem making a total ass of themselves in front of hundreds of sober people. I don't drink, nor have I ever, but I can't imagine any drug that would make karaoke tolerable, let alone entertaining. I like the Smashing Pumpkins, but when I heard "Tonight" screeched out by a sales manager I hate myself, not to mention everything associated with that experience. I am sorry Smashing Pumpkins, I just can't be reminded of that experience again. I could go on for pages, but meh. No one seemed to share my anti-enthusiasm. My mom (who also works for the company) kept me sane with doses of cynicism (thank you Mom; you may have saved my life and my soul).
It's hard not to get depressed at events like this. I sit on the outside and think, "Really? this what life is going to be? This is the highlight of these people's year? This party that makes me want to shoot myself in the face?"

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