The purpose of my current travels, other than preparing me for an eternity of hell-fire, is to attend a conference that the company I work for hosts for its customers. Some of it is instructional, some is promotional, some is team-building. Sprinkled in between are meals at round tables in a room the size of an airport hangar. All this means that a lot of effort is required to be friendly, maintain conversation with complete strangers, and brush over awkward moments of painful silence with questions that spark more chit-chat.
So about 150 people now know that I'm from Maine, have 2 kids, am staying at the waterpark hotel, like football but not baseball, and went to Georgetown. Yeah, I loved it! Do you know DC? You're right, the summers are brutal! [Insert knowing roll of the eyes and shrug of the shoulders.]
Some folks have really gotten saucy and rolled out the more personality questionnaire type questions. I'm on a roll with these now, so I'm going to share with you what I've shared with Jolly Joe and Stern Sally (not a good pair).
1. When are you most alert: morning or night?
Unfair question. It forces the responder to agree that at some point during a 24 hour span, he or she is "alert." The only place "alert" has in my life is the "alert" that buzzes when I've set my calendar to remind me to brush my teeth or pay a bill. So to the extent I can answer this question, I am most alert when I receive an alert and then I try to do the thing that alert was alerting me to do.
2. What is your favorite thing to eat: vegetables, meat, or an equal combination of both?
Unfair question. Why isn't sugar on this list?
But if I must play along with this false dilemma, then I go with vegetables. Easily and in vastly greater amounts than meat. I try to limit my intake of food that used to eat food.
3. Do you prefer to be inside or outside?
It depends. Where is everyone else? Inside? Then I like to be outside. And vice versa.
4. At what temperature are you most comfortable: hot, warm or cold?
Warm. When I am hot the only thing I'm capable of doing is crying. When I am cold the only thing I am capable of doing is yelling at my husband to turn up the darn heat.
5. Do you like to get wet?
If it is in the shower and it is to get clean, yes. If it is during a riot and the police are hosing me down, no. If it is in a plane making an emergency water landing, no. If it is because I fell out the driver's side door during a car wash, no. If it is at a water park, absolutely not.
6. Do you consider yourself a quiet, calm, or active person?
I am quietly thinking about how calmly I'd like to be able to explain to you how stupid this question is, and I would like to actively pursue removing myself from this exchange. Does that count as an answer?
7. Would you rather be by yourself or with lots of other people?
Do you seriously not know my response to that? Moreover, do you seriously not yet have the strong preference that I keep to myself? You're willing to give me the option of mingling?
8. What do you do when you get nervous?
I put commas where there should be periods in my conversation.
9. What do you do when you get angry?
I speak with caustic sarcasm so as to disguise the anger in the cloak of my every-day demeanor.
10. What do you do when you are happy?
Extend the vacation.
11. What do you do when you are sad?
Think about all the other things I do badly or don't like about myself so that I can get really settled in to the wallowing.
12. Do you have any interesting habits?
As you can imagine, my cell phone has been ringing off the hook with dinner invitations.