Friday, 10 December 2004

A Political Animal on Stage.

For a long time, I wasn't sure I was going to go. I don't like finding myself in that sort of situation. But then I thought, as always in those cases, that I should give it a try, not be my usual self. Plus it would have been rude to have said no... So last night, after work, I got in a bus and made my way to a party. Well, drinks and nibbles. A room full of people I don't know whom I am expected to talk to! The friend who had invited me is a partner in a small design agency. The event was taking place at their studio. They were organising this for Christmas as an opportunity for networking. Both business contacts and friends were there.

I have to say I think I did rather well this time. I talked with most people: usually I stick with one or two persons during the whole night. I stayed there a good three hours, so it can’t have been that bad: it never is really (apart from once in sunny Sidcup but that is a different blog!). It’s just that I am not good with people I don’t (and with those I know too). I would love to be able to talk easily to them but most of the time I find myself tongue-tied and people have a tendency to just ignore me (even when I talk, which is usually not often). Not sure where that comes from. I find myself like an actor on stage performing a play where all the other actors know their lines while he doesn’t know his and therefore has to improvise… badly.

In London when you meet someone new, the first few things that they will ask you is where you live and what you do. Now, this is not for small talk purposes. They use this to size you put and to know in what social class they can categorise you in. This is something unique to this country, I think, that people are so class conscious (which makes it perhaps less surprising that Das Kapital, the manifesto of class struggle, should have been written at the British Library). Of course, a good amount of snobbery underlies this. One of my objections for not going was that the people attending would all have interesting jobs in a creative environment; jobs they like and that I would like myself. They did. My job is as menial and boring and uninteresting as they come. On two counts, I was therefore in the weak position: envying them their positions and having nothing to show for myself. And the dreaded moment, which I can always feel coming, when after a slight pause someone turns to you and says: “So what do you do?”, did happen and each time I find myself apologising for what I do, saying first own boring it is and adding that it pays the rent. As I watch myself doing this, I know this is the right thing to do and say but I just can help myself.

OK, as I said, last night wasn’t that bad and I did even laugh at some point but I am sure no one will remember my presence and there were moments of unease where I wished I knew what to do…. I still do.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    I came across your blog whilst scanning and found it an interesting read. Hopefully you will continue to blog; if so, I expect I'll drop by from time to time.



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