Monday, December 19, 2011

War Horse.

During a recent visit, I was able to attend Meredith's holiday work party for the second year in a row. I was much less nervous this year, but everyone knows that the heartbeat of a holiday party is small talk, and small talk has never been my forte. If someone taught a class called, "Small Plates, Small Talk: How to appear engaged and interesting while eating passed hors d'oeuvres" I'd take it twice.

I feel like I've learned enough about the mental health field to make a few solid "processing" jokes, but after that I'm pretty lost. While Meredith was deep in conversation with a man wearing a beret (I knew I had nothing to add to that discussion), I started chatting with someone I didn't know by commenting on the pistachios in the cannolis. It played like really early Seinfeld to a person who clearly never enjoyed Seinfeld.

Later, when Mer came over to ask if we had met I said in all seriousness, "Yes, we talked about her cannolis."

It was my own personal, "I carried a watermelon" moment.

But I think this was my finest exchange of the night:

Meredith: Jess, Alex is a vet.
Me: Oh, wow! That's amazing. Thank you so much for your service.
Alex: Um... you're welcome.
(awkward silence)
Meredith: Jess, she's a veterinarian.
Me: Right. Well, thank you for your service to puppies.

If I had any sense at all, I would have let it lie there. Instead, I nodded thoughtfully and said, "So, cats in the military. Tell me more."

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