Friday, September 12, 2008

White Trash day at lunch and Day 2 of my social experiments

We have these different themed cafe's at work. The one I generally eat at has a Spanish-style tapas menu, which gives me the chance to have a nice green salad, PLUS something else really tasty. I always create a little "bowl" of tasty stuff, usually with a bit of rice or something. The chefs tease me about it and "is it a rice bowl today? or a pasta bowl?" This week has been really confusing. Corn-dogs, garlic fries, lasagne, etc. Today was the kicker. Green bean casserole, buffalo wings, potato skins, little cheeseburgers. It may be obvious to others, but since I'm not much of a football fan, the week's menu items were lost on me. I was laughing, thinking, "Surely this must be White Trash Week in the Spanish cafe!". Nope. All week was in honor of football starting, so the theme was: Tailgate Food. My favorite chef, Jason, was all fired up to see me today. "Have I got a bowl for you!!! We'll get you some potato skins, add a little chili, some cheese and jalapenos! It'll be the best!" Gad, he talked me into it, sans jalapenos. The heartburn-inducing creation is below:
As much as I hate to admit it: it was really good! Not long after I snapped the picture, it was gone. I'll probably regret it later, but a very tasty treat, and unlike anything I ordinarily eat.

The social experiment is something else. Although it does tie in nicely with today's lunch menu. I work with a lot of social retards. I think that a lot of engineers are pretty introverted anyway, and my work environment seems to accept it and expound on it, creating more introverted introverts than any other high tech company I've ever worked for. And I really thought the old-time mainframe programmers I used to work with at Boeing with were the geekiest of the lot. I was soooo wrong. The nerd of 2008 is more socially retarded than anyone I've ever worked with in the 24 years I've been in high-tech. Seriously. I also seem to have a lot of social retards where I live. Won't make eye contact, won't say hi, even if they live across from you. It's crazy. So my social experiment is to start saying "HI" to all of these socially-retarded folks. Even if I don't get answers in return. The experiment part is to see if the more I do it, the more people might be coaxed out of their shells.

I started yesterday with a neighbor. I was out with my dog and stepped out of her way, making direct eye contact and chirped, "Good morning!". I think she greeted me with a quiet grunt, although I'm not really sure about that. I did a bit of it in the lunch line yesterday, but it seemed most folks were in a good mood, and there were only like 3 people in line.

Today was different. There were definitely more folks in line at lunch, and when I was joking with the chefs about the white trash menu and they were flipping it all back at me, it seemed to engage those around me. The people on both sides of me were listening, laughing and asking questions, and even talking to me. CRAZY! Could it really be that simple?

Experiments to continue indefinitely...

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