January 3, 2013

The Shorts Conversation.

So when we woke up this morning, I noted that it was -10ºF at home. That's pretty dang cold. By the time it was time to leave for work (an hour later), it had warmed up to -8ºF. There was hope of getting above zero during the commute in; I actually saw a reading on the Jeep thermometer showing 2ºF, but then when I got to the office it was back down to -7. During the morning walk with my co-workers, it was still -1ºF and I feared I had managed to get frost bite on my face. I slapped myself a few times to make sure. Everything is still intact and not a gross color.

One of my goals of 2013 is to come out of my shell a little bit. I'm always going to be a bit introverted, that's just the way I'm wired, but there's no reason I can't reach out and be sociable once in a while. So I have a goal of talking to at least one stranger a day. I wouldn't have made this a goal if I didn't feel it was sustainable, but it is a little bit of a challenge for me, because I'm not in a job where I can accomplish this by asking “would you like fries with that?!?” in an excited voice.

Standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts this afternoon I noticed that the customer ahead of me was dressed for warmer weather. Well, this manner of dress was noticed on his bottom half.

I didn't say anything about it and went about getting my unsweetened iced tea with lemon, accompanied by the usual confusion that occurs when I pay with my Dunkin' Donuts iPhone app. (They always scan, forget to press a button on the register, and then scan again).

My drink was delivered to the pick up area, where the man in shorts was still assembling his straw and such for his drink. I decided to be friendly and ask a simple question, “Dude, are you cold wearing shorts?”

Ok, I don't know why I said “Dude”. I sometimes say “Dude” and it makes people nervous because it doesn't sound natural coming out of my mouth. I think “Dude” is less annoying that “wicked”, which I say a lot more than “Dude”, but “wicked” didn't really apply to this situation. Now that I think about it, I could have fit a “wicked” in there with “Dude, aren't you wicked cold wearing shorts?”, which would have scored a tally of “2” in the weird vocabulary column, but I left off the “wicked”.

In one second he looked at me, looked me up and down and said, “No, not at all.” He sounded strident. Perhaps he didn't like the “Dude”. Maybe he thought it was wicked cold. There's a chance that someone else had asked him the same question but without the same flair for language.

A little put off by the fact that I had asked him this, what was now very apparent to me, very personal question, I was a little embarrassed and simply said, “Well have fun with that.” I could have said, “well you have very nice legs” or even “you have wicked nice legs” but I didn't want to make him blush. That would have been a little too much.

At the very least, I can say that I spoke to a stranger today. Maybe I'll try a different approach tomorrow.