Saturday, December 8, 2007

Schmoozin' and Boozin'

Dark suits. Cold hands, wet with drink perspiration. Transparent smiles. Group huddles around small pieces of furniture. Promises soon to be forgotten.

Shoot me in the kidney. I'm becoming a businessman.

I didn't realize it at first. Things seemed a little different, but I shrugged it off and dismissed it merely as "I'm in a new environment and it's natural to feel uncomfortable." But then I started detecting subtle changes. For one, I was shaking a hand every fifteen minutes. I started rubbing elbows with the upper management. However, it didn't really hit me until a friend of mine (an extremely funny Irish girl. When I say Irish, I'm not talking Colin Ferrell Irish {is he Irish?}, but I'm talking Michael Flatley Irish. This chick is fluent in Gaelic for christ's sake. Her accent is absolutely charming, with my favorite pronounciation being that she doesn't say "Third Reich" but instead "Turd Reich" {That would be a great band name}) said to me that I was now the company's "little toy". Then it hit me like a 1-2 from Lennox Lewis (random choice of boxer): I am no longer one of the little guys. I am officially "middle management."

Horrifying! Being a little guy was fantastic. Things were easy. You show up, do the tour, make money, go home. Done. Not any more.

I was finishing up my dinner at a quaint little Berlin restaurant last night (they have one of my favorite beers there: a Dunkels Hefe, which is basically a darker wheat beer) when I get a call from one of my managers. Naturally, when his name pops up on my cell phone I have a panic attack. I did something wrong and I don't even know what, and worse yet, he is going to tell me exactly what that mystery thing is. Dammit. There goes my post-dinner high.

But no, he is not calling to reprimand me. Instead, he invites me to a party that is serving free booze. I start to run. I have a 1 in 360 chance that it is in the right direction. I'll take that chance. It turns out that this party is special though. Only certain people can go. I tell him that I am about to meet up with my Irish friend, but he says "You should be here now. And Matt, don't bring the Irish chick." Whoa. Lesson #1: Don't be too friendly with those that work for you. Ouch. That reeks of capitalist indifference. I'll hold my breath.

I show up to the party and everybody is in a suit or dress, with a security blanket drink in one hand, and shaking free hands with the other. The owner of the company calls me over and I realize that this is not a party. This is a freakin' business affair. I have to be on my best behavior (but at the same time fully appreciate the free booze. I'm just thinking economically here). He introduces me to "one of our most important partners." Oh great, what the hell am I supposed to say to this dude? "Hi I'm Matt, may I felate you?"

My job as far as I see it is to schmooze. I mingle, make small talk, subtly hit on the ladies, talk about the ladies with the dudes. I behave myself when appropriate and make dirty jokes when called for. I am a corporate geisha, at the service and disposal of my masters.

How was your day?

ps. Later that night I got tanked (way too much) at a co-worker's party. I knew you would want to hear how the story ended. Somebody go revive my mother.

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