I’m at a work thing, day four of brutally boring training, freshly back in my room after a couple of hours of hanging with my peeps. It’s funny, this being a grown up thing. When I was actually in school, I felt very much like an outsider (despite what the real situation may have been). Now that I’m not, I have become that person who joins (oh, who am I kidding – forms) a clique within a day of being around a bunch of strangers. Give me six hours and I’ll have a small group of smartasses coalescing around my ridiculousness, regardless of the venue.
I mean, really, LEAN Six Sigma training at a Fortune 500 company is where the nerdiest of the nerds go, yet here we were, a bunch of giggling schoolgirls (note: not all of us were women) laughing at jokes a fourteen year old would have been proud of. (Now that I think of it, I’m surprised we never resorted to, “That’s what she said.” Not even once! Huh.) We counted down the minutes until the next opportunity to take a smoke break, escape for coffee, or run away for the evening, then “Wheeeee!” – off we went five people to a car, cracking up until our eyes teared.
Say what you will, I kick ass at leading a newly formed team. I was also reminded that when you hang out with the blonde, statuesque and beautiful Polish woman, you feel short and dumpy by comparison. Luckily I have a fairly healthy sense of my own awesomeness (ha).
(FWIW, smoking is a disgusting habit but it does have the benefit of having a really great schedule. No, I don’t smoke. No, that didn’t stop me from joining on and/ or suggesting a few smoke breaks this week. Down side: I shower like three times a day to unload the secondhand smoke that clings.)
Once upon a time, a night out with colleagues would have resulted in far more drinking complete with next-day hangovers and regrets. Though I would have cared much more about how professional I seemed during the day, I’d have been far more willing to drown any propriety in some beverage and party it up at night. Tonight, as we made the decision to wrap it up instead of finding another bar, go home instead of having another, walk inside and log on instead of hanging out some more, I felt oddly discombobulated by the flashbacks. Nostalgia is a strange bitch.
Anyway, I’ve made some good colleague-friends, so the networking was certainly worth the trip, at least. I tried a bunch of new beers, ate good food and laughed (and laughed and laughed) with some new people I can now rely on for help when I need it. Each one of my buds is far, far more experienced at this thing I’m trying to learn than I am, as it turns out. Say what you will about beer, it’s a fabulous facilitator.
In the meantime, my kid has begun to walk for real (11-ish steps at a time these days), sleep through the night (his daddy sleep-trained him while I was gone) and tell loooooong meandering stories in his own little language. God, I can’t wait to see him.
I’m very happy to be going home tomorrow… and very relieved that a few social skills and a lot of crude jokes helped the week to go by faster. I keep thinking I’ll soon get old enough to be a grown-up, then discovering that the grown-ups around me aren’t that much different than I am.