Wednesday, March 30, 2011

no more shout-outs. ever...

"Why does this always happen to me and never you?" I asked Melissa as we left last night's event.
"Because you write about your life and people think they know you and can therefore, say crazy shit to you."
Get this shit.
For weeks, this guy we'll call Lester reminds Melissa, Brock and me about his biotech event. On and on with the biotech event: how we have to be there, how Gavin Newsom will be there, how he doesn't want to be "annoying" but in email number 739, he mentioned that we should really come.
There are dozens of events every night, from little awkward networking mixers to huge soirees. And as I live on Facebook, I just scan my events and decide what I feel like going to every night. Last night was another one of Bill Hemenger's house parties, this one for Dennis Herrera. I love these Hemenger parties and obviously, wanted to go. But Lester was fucking relentless, it's a little flattering to have someone so excited to invite you, Brock was already committed and Melissa talked me into it.
"There might be nerdy guys there!"
Ugh. Alright.
So I pick Melissa up after work and we drove out into the middle of biotech nowhere. When we emerged from my car, I thought we looked great. But with no signs telling us how to get in the hall, we got lost, walking blocks and blocks in a windstorm before I (Amazing Race-style) roped some poor guy into helping us find the door.
Our names weren't on the list. This was my fault. I vaguely recall RSVPing at the last minute. As a former professional networking mixer staffer, I fucking hated when people did that. They'd send an email from the parking lot and then walk in the door shocked not to find a laminated, beautifully-fonted nametag. So, you know, again, my fault.
Windblown, Melissa and I walk in and right away, we can tell this is not the kind of 5-7 after-work event to which Gavin Newsom shows up. But none the less, here we are and there Brock is and Lester couldn't be more thrilled we came. We might as well make the most of our handwritten nametags.
I asked Lester if he was going to open his speech with a joke. I always ask people this. I have a whole little routine at these things. "Are you speaking tonight? You opening with a joke? Well, you'll be great. Just picture everyone naked and doing it."
We end up talking to this woman scientist (oxymoron - Jack Donaghy) who was telling us all about her post-doctoral thesis on cells or something. Without a real understanding of biotech but wanting to appear interested, naturally I asked the first science question I could think of.
"Do you make clones out of placentas?"
"No."
"Are there clones anywhere in this building, fashioning weapons out of office supplies."
"I don't know."
Melissa chimed in. "Do you do experiments on homeless people?"
"As seen in the movie Extreme Measures!" I offered.
The woman scientist wasn't really into joking about science and politely excused herself.
As for refreshments, the only non-alcoholic beverage was water, which one had to pour from a pitcher. This is 1) kinda gross and 2) hard to do in a small crowded space. And the water table was in-between the wine table and huge trays of dim sum, which biotech nerds were shoving in their mouths with abandon.
It's finally time for the speeches. Normally, I prefer to stand in the back for the speeches because it's a lot of work to pretend to pay attention. And also, there's just a sixth sense I have.
"Let's go hide behind the water table." I said to Melissa and Brock.
So we stood there against the wall with our cups of water as the speeches started. They went on for 20 minutes, which was fine. But Melissa and I were due for dinner across town in 15 minutes.
After the third time someone used the word "synergy" (no joke, Mel was counting), we started needing to go.
At this point, Lester took to the microphone for the second time, and addressing the crowd of maybe 75 or 100 people, said, "Beth Spotswood, that woman standing over there texting, said I needed to open with a joke."
Silence. Dead silence.
Really? All I was trying to do was be nice, show up and now I'm the rude lady on the phone.
I was too busy trying to physically control my insides, which instinctively start to shrivel up and tie themselves in knots at moments like this, to hear his joke.
But Lester said something, everyone kinda laughed at it, and then Lester said, "How'd I do, Beth?"
From within me, came this terrified, surprisingly male voice that said, "You did great!" while shoving a thumbs-up in the air.
Lester continued INTO THE MICROPHONE FROM THE STAGE, "Beth is great. Really. You should all read her blog, Tourist Trapped Necessary Conversation."
Silence. Stares.
Brock didn't really know what to do, so he started to rub my back as literally, hundreds of eyeballs offered confused glares. And Melissa, pal that she is, announced, "I'm going to the ladies room."
And she ran away.
So the speeches continued, but at this point I was convinced everyone hated me. I'd basically gotten in public trouble for texting, the only one of dozens singled out for using technology at a biotech mixer.
When Melissa emerged from the ladies, we decided to sneak out. As we finally found our way outside, we started laughing. "Oh my God, I cannot believe that."
"Lester makes us come all the way down here and then calls you out for using your phone!"
"Thank God I wasn't eating an eggroll. He would've said, 'Beth Spotswood, that woman over there on her fourth eggroll...'"
Melissa agreed. "Beth Spotswood, that recovering alcoholic over there..."

1 comment:

Dolly said...

Do you make clones out of placentas?

Why I keep coming back, brilliance like that!