I try very hard to conduct myself in a respectable fashion when representing my employer in public. Most of the time, I’m successful. There are even people who believe I’m a mature professional.
But then the risqué romance author inside me can’t help herself. It happened a few times during the two-day conference I attended last week.
The first sign of trouble occurred during a raffle preceding the keynote speaker. As audience members whipped out their tickets and waited for the numbers to be read, the guy behind me began cheering quietly for himself.
“Come on, me!”
Only he didn’t really pause for the comma. I laughed so hard I dropped my raffle ticket in my tea. A colleague watched as I fished it out and licked it.
“What?” I asked. “I have to see if I win.”
She shook her head. “You’re a winner, all right.”
I managed to stay on my good behavior the rest of the day, and was actually feeling pretty proud of myself when I got to the evening cocktail party at a nearby restaurant. There was a lovely buffet table adorned with gourds and other autumn produce, and I wanted to know if it was real. I was stroking an especially large squash when I noticed the guy next to me wearing an odd expression.
“Sorry,” I said, drawing my hand back. “I shouldn’t fondle phallic-looking vegetables in public.”
The guy looked startled. “I wasn't thinking that at all.”
But since I'd introduced the idea and he was obviously thinking it now, it seemed wise for me to step away from the squash, polish off my drink, and make my escape with only one person believing I'm a raging pervert.
The following morning, I attended a presentation on search engine optimization. The room was packed, and everyone scribbled notes as the instructor paced the front of the room.
“For ten dollars,” he said as he held up a bill, “can anyone tell me the number one keyword people search online?”
I shot out of my chair. “Porn!”
Everyone turned and stared. I sat back down, feeling fifty pairs of eyes on me as all my colleagues speculated how I happened to be allowed out in public.
The instructor laughed. “Um, no. Good guess though.”
By the time afternoon rolled around, fatigue started to set in. The advantage of being able to fall asleep anytime, anywhere is that you seldom grapple with insomnia.
The disadvantage is that you end up doing the Jello-neck head bob whenever you find yourself in a warm room with the drone of someone’s voice lulling you to dreamland. When I snapped awake at one point and discovered a puddle of drool on my lap, it seemed like a good time to excuse myself.
My brain needed fuel and my iPhone needed a charge, so I meandered to a nearby restaurant where a good friend was waiting tables. She set me up at the bar with a steaming plate of flatbread and a good glass of wine and plugged in my iPhone charger behind the counter.
I had to eat fast since another presentation was starting soon, so I gobbled the food, paid the bill, and looked around for someone to retrieve my phone.
No one was in sight.
I could see where the cord snaked to the other side of the counter, so I hitched up my dress and boosted myself onto the bar. I was just yanking the plug out of the outlet when my friend and the bartender reappeared.
I slid back across the bar and planted my butt on my stool, trying to look innocent. The bartender’s expression suggested I may have just flashed my underwear at the cluster of unsuspecting businessmen enjoying happy hour behind me. My friend smiled at him.
“It’s OK, she’s a friend of mine,” she offered.
I tugged down the hem of my dress and shoved my iPhone back in my purse. “There are moments you probably don’t want to advertise that.”
Have you done anything to embarrass yourself or your employer in the last week? Please share so I’m not alone.
Oh, and in case you’re still wondering about the top searched keyword, it’s “quote.” As in “insurance quote,” not “porn quote,” though clearly we can all agree the latter would be more interesting.