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5:20 a.m. - 2003-04-24

HELLO. MY NAME IS JOE MINGLER

You know how some big cities have a lane on their interstates that is designated for car poolers only, and that you must have at least two people in the car in order to use that lane which usually moves faster than the other lanes?

Yeah?

Well I think my city needs to think about designating the far left lane of the interstate as the "People Who Really Need To Hurry Up And Get Home Before They Shit Their Pants" Lane.

...At least I felt that way at 5:10 p.m. yesterday.


For those of you wondering the status of the Cobra Sports Car that the Sinister Dr. Wendigo crashed this past weekend, first off, you're all right...you're insensitive bastards.

Second, I really don't know the status of the car. When your friend is all drugged up and in pain, the last thing you want to ask is "Sooo...how bad did you fuck up your buddy's car?"

I mean....helloooo?

Open wound meet salt shaker. Salt shaker...open wound.

I'm guessing that the car is pretty messed up.

At the very least, the dashboard and seats are stained in Wendigo blood.

Which, contrary to popular rumor, isn't exactly a selling point in used cars these days.


So I went to this business coffee meeting yesterday that the company I work for is sponsoring.

I'll admit ... I'm not the best mingler out there. When it comes to social situations like this, I seek out people that I already know and cling to them like a life preserver on the Titanic.

So I get to this thing at 7:50 a.m. as it starts at 8 a.m.

I recognize a woman that works at the main office of my employment. I've met her briefly and talked to her on the phone twice.

I scurry over to her and am like "Oh heyyyyyy Deborah! How are you??"

And she's all like staring at my nametag and trying to decipher my handwriting to determine who the hell is accosting her this early in the morning.

We make extremely small talk for about 60 seconds and she tells me that there is coffee and "goodies" out on the veranda.

Which is code for "I'm busy here greeting EVERYONE and can't stand here talking to New Boy for 60 minutes. Move along."

So I sulk out to the veranda where there's about four guys standing there, not speaking and just kinda staring at their shoes.

The situation made me think of the scene early on in "Animal House" where Pinto and Flounder show up at the Fraternity House and keep getting pushed to the side with the losers on the couch.

So ... did I mention this took place in a golf course country club? No? Well, it did.

So I walk over to the rail and pretend to watch some old guys golfing, like that shit really interests me.

Some guy walks up next to me and I introduce myself and shake his hand. We talk for a few minutes and I'm just glad that somebody's talking to me.

Then a friend of his shows up.

Or should I say "friend".

Alright fine. I get the distinct feeling that it was his male lover.

So now, I'm the third wheel as these two grown men in suits are talking about living with their mothers and the nervous anticipation they both have for this weekend's garden show that they've decided to attend together.

Point blank ... I'm not a homophobe. I enjoy the company of homosexuals as long as everyone is clothed. I find them highly amusing as most homosexuals have wonderful senses of humor. I've gotten some of my best jokes from gay people.

But I started getting this paranoid feeling that everyone that was filing in on the veranda already knew that the two guys I was standing there talking with were gay and that I was the new gay guy trying desperately to join their tight knit little clique. And it was obvious to everyone that looked over there that I was the gay pariah, they would much rather enjoy each other's company and leave me standing there, begging for them to notice me.

I dunno. It was early in the morning.

So once again, I'm scanning the crowd of people, trying to find ANYONE that I worked with or knew in town and there was NOBODY.

The gay guys had pretty much excluded me from their conversation at this point and were talking about their cats and how Missy caught a rat the other day and brought it inside, blah blah blah dead mousecakes.

Finally, a guy who apparently was in the same boat I was in and was new here walked over to me and introduced himself.

I threw my life preserver around his neck and listened to him as he prattled on about his business (selling cell phones) for 15 minutes.

At this point, two women are walking toward us. They're obviously going to walk past us, but the guy I'm talking to says "Whoa!" meaning "Check out these hotties!"

The petite blonde one looks up at me and says "Uncle Bob! I was just thinking about you the other day!"

I'm taken aback at this point. I have no idea who this woman is, but I can tell that I would much rather talk to her than be ignored by the gay guys or listen to the cell phone guy talk about the wonderful world of selling cell phones.

As it turns out, we worked together briefly at a job that was five jobs ago for me.

Even after she told me, my mind drew a blank as to who she was. Granted, I was doing an AWFUL lot of drugs back then, but I would have remembered this woman. Apparently she had a drastic makeover or something.

So we talked for a while and she introduced me to an even hotter friend of hers who worked at a law firm where I conveniently knew some of her co-workers, so at least I had that to talk to her about.

So I went from being snubbed by the gay guys to talking to the two hottest women at the function. Go me.

While I'm talking to them, I notice out of the corner of my eye the nametag of a guy that my wife had worked with for the last nine years at her last job.

By now, I'm Joe Mingler. I'm mingling my ass off. I've gone from gay guys to boring guy to hot babes. I should be on the Pro Minglers Tour.

So I walk over to the guy, introduce myself as the husband of my wife and he's all "Ohmigod, your wife is the shit!"

So we talk about my wife and how great she is. He sees some people he knows, brings them over and tells that that I'm Susie's husband and they fawn all over me because my wife did so much for them and their business in her last job, blah blah blah your wife is so greatcakes.

THEN, finally a girl from my work shows up. She waves at me from the front door and I excuse myself from the fawners and go over to her to greet her.

She puts her arm around my back in a polite public hug and tells me how she "hates" these events because she's not good at walking up to people and just starting a conversation with them.

I tell her that it's okay ... for I am now a professional mingler.

I introduce her to everyone that I had been talking to except the gay guys who are still engaged heavily in their own conversation with each other and aren't letting anyone else in their circle.

She grabs a muffin, wolfs it down and is ready to go. So I tell her I'll walk her to her car, as I'm ready to go as well.

We leave, get out to the parking lot and she starts cracking me up with how badly she hates mingling and was glad I was there to save her from the awkward mingle.

We both laugh.

Then we share an intimate kiss.

Before long, we're ripping each others' clothes off and doing it right there in the parking lot as people step over us and cheer us on.

I'm giving the passerbys the thumbs up as I'm banging away on the blacktop pavement. She's grinning and clapping, applauding my sexual prowess.

Yep.

That's how it happened alright.

Boinking the co-worker in a crowded parking lot at 8:55 a.m. while my new business associates applaud.

Alright fine.

I didn't have a decent ending for the story.

Gawd.

Gimme a break. We left, I went back to work and made phone calls for the rest of the day.

Is that what you people wanna hear???

Gawd.

Sometimes you guys really can get under my skin with your silent demands.

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