Let me start by saying that I work for a government organization. I won't go into more detail because, truthfully, it would be terribly dull and you wouldn't be interested anyway. Suffice it to say that we help people. I work in an old and ugly building, with old and ugly cubicles, and bathrooms that should be investigated by the CDC. But we help people so it’s okay. And it helps to build the immune system, right? (At this point I should be immune to 7 different kinds of Dysentery, Smallpox, and the Bubonic Plague.) Right. So anyhoo, I have set the scene for you. There I sit, typing away in my little Hell Hole… er… officable (or awficable) when one of my cohorts receives a call from Security downstairs. There are people here who want to speak with someone. Just that… people. Said cohort and I ride the elevator down discussing the best escape techniques in case these are crazy people… which is TOTALLY possible. Turns out they aren't crazy… just French. Cool. They all work for a comparable program in France and want to talk to us about our program. Even cooler. I am all about sharing some information. Globalization and all that. Time to practice what I preach and bring down some walls, people!
Oh, I was feeling puffed up and important all throughout our meeting. I pulled out and dusted off my best “Love me and Despair” routine which I developed specifically for the stickler customers when I worked as a server for so many, MANY years. I could even get old people to tip me if I whipped this act out. Un-freakin-heard of, I know. (There was also the “I Have A Ring On My Finger But It DOES Come Off” for tables of dudes/lesbians, the “Non-Threatening, Slightly Awkward But Endearing Younger Sister” for tables of women in their 30’s and 40’s, and the “I Think Your Kids Are Adorable Even Though They Are Throwing Food And Smearing Boogers On My Booth” for families.”) Needless to say, I was helpful, capable, and confident. Ooooo, I gots my mojo back! Work it GIIIIRRRLLLL!
We are talking (sort of) and exchanging e-mail addresses and then it is time for them to leave. I am all smiles and gentle (but firm!) handshakes... but I begin notice that, when they shake my hand, they will move forward as if to kiss my cheek, and then stop. Always one to want everyone to feel comfortable (and to help dispel the stupid/uncultured American rumors) I decide to go in for the kill. As I am shaking the last gentleman’s hand (who I suspect is the leader and doesn't speak a lick of English), I go in for the big double kiss-kiss… *SMOOCH* *SMOOCH*
I hear “OOoooo” and “Ahhhh” and even a little giggle. I pull back and this guy has a smile plastered on his face like the one Sprinkles gets when she finally unloads a turd she’s been wrangling for 20 minutes or so…. complete joy and not a little pleasure. My brain starts to scream a little. Wait, they don't normally double kiss, do they? Did I… Did I just proposition this guy? This guy who turned out to be the PRESIDENT of his Organization… with a capital “O”? Yeah… I think I did.
The interpreter then gave me a big hug and an open invite to stay in the apartment complex he owns… in New Orleans... anytime I want. What they hell did I just say to these people?
Well, I made an impression….. I’m not sure which one… but it was an impression.