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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I have just started my new job, and –

[SIDE NOTE - Don’t panic people. Don’t think I’ve forgotten the gospel according to Dooce. I won’t be blogging about my workplace, the people I work with (heavily disguised or otherwise) or even mentioning my workplace itself in another single breath again after this entry.]

I have just started my new job, and it is sincerely a joy and a breath of fresh air. The most difficult thing so far has been the constant introductions to people. This is a big problem, I think, for most people, but particularly for me, since I never manage to remember either names or faces for any longer than it takes me to say “hello, nice to meet you” (and that doesn’t take me long, because when I’m meeting new people I tend to mumble).

Yesterday, though, I reached a new personal low in terms of my social retardation. Two of the people I will be working with have just joined the firm, and had been in induction training until yesterday, when they were finally allowed on to the shop floor. They were therefore being shown around by the HR lady, who was swanning about telling them who different people were. She very kindly then left them standing in front of me, having briefly introduced us, so that we could “get to know each other”. Oh, the humanity.

Small talk is not my forte. Talk itself isn’t particularly a forte of mine either, but the smaller it gets the more difficult I find it. I can talk nonsense for hours with people I know – indeed, have proved that to myself constantly in the wee hours of the night as I torment He Who Only… with nonsense designed to keep him from sleeping – but I can’t pass the time of day with people I don’t know.

Therefore I found myself not once, but twice, staring at someone as they stared back at me. Once we had confirmed each other’s names, and the fact that we were both new to the firm, we were plunged into an awkward silence that stretched from my desk to the end of the earth. We then both did that kind of half-laugh that implies camaraderie but really is the first sign of panic as the brain starts screaming I’VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY TO YOU! and both parties start looking for the emergency exit. They looked around the office for a safety net, and I started flailing about for something to do. On both occasions, I then picked up some pieces of paper and started fiddling with them in an empty but important gesture that said LEAVE NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN! and both times they took up the social cue and ran away, without once looking back.

I’m going to have to start working on that giant hole beneath my desk that I will soon need, in order to jump into so the earth can swallow me up.

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