Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In Hartford

If "Boston is Scranton with crabs" (per Big Pussy from the Sopranos...or was that Paulie?) then does that maybe make Hartford "Dunmore with hot-dogs" by comparison?  Just wondering.

Anyway, I'm in my hotel room now, coming down off of a days worth of meetings, getting ready to have dinner with some of the people I work with at a TBD restaurant.  Unfortunately the UConn women are playing basketball tonight, so the downtown eateries will no doubt be crowded.  Perhaps a slight road-trip to the Hartford 'burbs is in order (note that if you are from NYC you no doubt think that "Hartford 'burbs" is redundant).

The whole business dinner thing presents challenges for me in a couple of ways:

  1. I am not a very adventurous eater, so I always end up feeling like I'm a fickle 8 year old (no offense RC) when I order at a fancy restaurant...with "fancy restaurant" being defined as just about any place where they don't ask "would you like fries with that?".
  2. I don't drink alcohol (well almost never), so there's that reason to stare at me as well.  I've actually once had the spouse of my last Director come right out and ask me if I was a recovering alcoholic.  The answer is "no" by the way.
  3. Being rather large, sitting between people gets uncomfortable, so I usually like to get an end seat.  More on that in a second.
  4. Making small talk/conversation is stressful for me...so...
  5. I usually end up having to "lower my fluid level" multiple times (which for me is more a nervous thing...well that and all the non-alcoholic beverages I end up consuming).  This makes sitting on an end all the more important.
In short, it's complex stuff.  Trust me in that this is NOT a function of the company I am eating with, as the folks I will be with tonight are all fine, upstanding citizens who are a joy to be with; it's just that pretty much any amount of socializing is taxing for me.  That's the "extreme introvert" at work for you.

The above noted, I do get it that I am truly blessed to even be in a position to have a business dinner.  My neurosis taken into account, there are folks who would kill to have this "problem".  Yes I am grateful for a good job and better co-workers, it's just that I am so uncomfortable and/or feel so awkward in most social situations.

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