(FYI -- this post relates to the last one, so you might want to read that one first.)
So I drove to last night's social networking event with the excitement of a kid who sneaked a pregnant squirrel into his bedroom unbeknownst to his parents.
I had it all planned... I would try the following answers to the age-old "What do you do?" question:
- I work for the Centers for Disease Control and we're wrestling with a particularly tenacious, contagious airborne bacteria that has us stumped. (cough, hack)
- I hunt and eat moose. Zebras, too.
- I can't tell you that. (followed by a long, uncomfortable pause while staring innocently into the disbeliever's eyes)
I parked the car.
The building was lit up in a Christmasy theme. Garlands here, lights there. Oh, the anticipation!
I quickly glided to the door, not even feeling the chilly night air. Bliss, pure bliss!
I'd have the opportunity to use my 26+ years of theatre! And I couldn't wait!
I stepped into the lobby. I told them my name. I reached for my name tag...
That's what my name tag boldly declared.
Foiled. Spoiled. Roiled.
As my enthusiasm turned from a hot sizzle to a cold fizzle, I mentally switched the game plan. I decided that I'd tell other people that what they thought they did wasn't really what they DID do.
1. I told one gal she should be an exotic pole dancer because her name sounded... well... almost made up and a little too peppy. (She laughed, by the way -- it was at the end of the night and I think the wine that flowed at the event helped open the doors for me to make such a naughty statement to a stranger.)
2. I told another gal who sheepishly admitted that she had just been "let go" from a position and was looking for another that she was a "Reinventress", as in a gal who was reinventing her persona. She suspiciously eyed me for a second, then timidly smiled.
In the end, I had a good time, but was still ticked about the name tag fiasco. In retrospect, I should have just ripped it off and made people guess my moniker and job. Next time, I'll have a contingency plan in place.
(Oh, and as a quick FYI, when people asked, "What IS a freelance writer?", I responded, "I get paid to tell stories." Not exactly witty, but more interesting that going into detail about the nights spent drinking diet cola until 2:00 a.m. in order to meet a deadline.)