Monday, April 11, 2011

First impressions count (as weird).

This tub has something to do with
us needing a new cooker...
I guess you could call this post a fictionalised account of real life events, although I suppose telling you at the outset that this isn’t a true representation of how the following occurred might take the shine out of it.  Hmm; please can you try and forget that you’ve read this intro and skip onto the metaphorical main course of this post…

The first time I meet someone new* I always say or do something really odd.  I’m going to keep my musical life out of this post because the lycra we wore on stage for a while in my old band gave a lot of people (in audiences) a very strange first impression of me, and was more revealing of my anatomy than my personality.

Today was a fairly normal day and yet I still managed to make at least a couple of first impressions that may or may not be worth reporting (you’re the judge, not me).  Both of these incidents occurred while I was trying to replace our knackered old cooker - my wife was out doing what gardeners do whenever they’re gardening and for reasons I won’t embarrass myself by sharing with you it was imperative to replace the cooker before she returned to roost.  Time was short so I employed the cheerful assistance of my terminally unemployed buddy Jonny Culture (no relation other than the fact he has the surname culture for the same reason I do).

Breeding white goods.

Out with the old...
Before a new cooker could be warmly welcomed (yes that is a pun, poor as it may be, please tut, sigh disapprovingly and move on) into our home the old shamed cooker needed to be frowned at, grunted over and cast into the back of (my fake brother) Graham’s van for it’s final journey.

Jonny and I were halfway through the grunting part of the casting out process (trying to summon strength from our weak bodies to slide the cooker into the van) when my fake brother’s new lodger made a surprise appearance on the scene.  Most of the surprise was his, because from where he was stood our ‘thrusting motion’ was creating the impression that Jonny and I were trying to do something to the cooker that nature never intended and God would almost certainly disapprove of.  The exchange that followed went a little something like this,

“Hello Chris…. You must be Chris!”  The look on his face appeared to be more a reaction to the scene than the lines of the players.  He offered no reply so I doubled the effort being made on my side of the conversation,

“Chris?  Graham’s new lodger?”  Jonny stood back from the van and rested against the wall of my house; he’s known me long enough to be aware that these types of exchanges can take some time, and he’s also a great fan of leaning on things.  There was still no reply so I continued to dig upwards out of the hole I had found myself in,

“This is Graham’s van!”  Yeah, I know that outburst wasn’t going to help, and in the awkward conversation that followed I also found out that calling Graham’s new lodger ‘Chris’ didn’t help either, on account of his name being Danny.

Danny took my introduction with the sort of good humour an adult might show a young child who is telling a rambling pointless story (a bit like this one), and as soon as etiquette allowed he escaped, leaving me free to travel across down to make my second odd first impression of the day… with the also old.
Searching for humour and finding mild offence.
The charming sun-dried lady in the second-hand white goods place where I bought the new cooker was a genuine delight; she was friendly, engaging, keen to part me with my cash and had a laugh like a heavy smoking hippo.  The impression I made on her deserves less wordage, because unless she’s sold me a shocker I very much hope that by the next time I see her time will have eroded her memory of the brief conversation we had at the climax of our transaction,

“Ere love, oi needcha address and foe-warn number.”  I told her the first line of my address, she asked me spell it so I did, and carefully enunciated every one of the seven letters.  She carved the details onto the receipt and continued,

“Whatsha powast cowed?”

“Would you like me to spell that for you as well?”  She looked up and me, widened her eyes a little and stood perfectly still for long enough for several tens of heartbeats.  A gust of wind blew past us and made a gentle whistling noise as it passed between her ears, and then she replied,

“Well that’s not very nice is it…”

The thing is, I really wasn’t trying to be rude; among other friends (and I dare say in my meandering writings) that line would have passed as humour!

So there you have it – I make odd first impressions, and I doubt that I’ll ever change, and I’m not sure I want to.  The positive aspect of making odd first impressions is that it really helps people remember who you are, and the next time they see you if they avoid you then it’s their loss, and if they make a beeline for you then you’ve made a new friend.

*In person, although to be honest I probably come across just as batty online, but in smaller more focussed doses.

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