Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Left My Harp in Sam Clam's Disco #1: In Which the Author Considers the Racial and Socioeconomic Circumstances that Led to the Creation of El Pollo Loco

Having been in NorCal for several days now, I have to say that my friends are right about the whole superiority of the Left Coast. In fact, were it not for the high taxes, earthquakes, wildfires, drug murders, bizzare weather, droughts, occasional race riots, lack of cellphone reception, and gang problems, it would basically be a temperate paradise.

NorCal is an eclectic blend of many different cultures, meaning you go down roads with names like "San Carlos" and see cheap Chinese restaurants on one side and cheap Mexican ones on the other, both of which will serve French Fries on their menu. Coming from the east, I am surprised to see the level to which that bizarro racial conglomeration we white folk mistakenly call "Latino" has penetrated society, although to be fair, the place really belongs to them in the first place. (In the Mirror Universe, the Author is writing a blog where he is surprised to see the level to which that bizarro racial conglomeration we caballeros call "White" has penetrated society, although to be fair, the place was really invaded by them in the first place).

NorCal is also the beachhead for an invasion by an even more repressed ethnic minority group: geeks. Their beachhead is a large corporation for which I am working this summer, the name of which cannot be said for fear of violating the severe 135-page NDA agreement I signed, which basically states (to paraphrase) that should we, for example, burp in a way that sounds like one of ten proposed codenames for the pre-beta testing phase of a yet-to-be-released product, we can be chopped into small pieces using a set of rusty Ginzu knives wielded by ill-tempered and partially narcoleptic midgets, and fed alive to sharks with laser beams on their heads. I will say nothing about what the company does or sells, only this: it has soft serve ice cream machines. SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM MACHINES.

It is also within walking distance from where I am staying, but the problem, of course, is that "walking distance" is a lot easier to deal with when someone gives you a ride on your first day of work, and a lot harder when you have to walk it back, on foot, with a backpack full of free swag and your feet burning from being stood on all day while you introduced yourself and repeatedly made small talk with other new interns. When I make small talk, I say exactly these things, in this order, with appropriate pauses in between:

"Hi/what's your name/where are you from/what are you doing this summer/what's your name again/what do you think of the soft serve ice cream/what's your name again/sorry I seriously can't remember your name/no I've eaten enough soft serve that I'm immune to brain freezes/oops, have to go answer my phone/mom this is not the time to be calling me/not that I don't like you, I'm just at a party/and I'm sick and tired of my phone r-ringing..."/sorry, sometimes I feel like I live in grand central station"

This is not how most of the interns go about introducing themselves and learning other interns' names, but to be frank, I believe that making introductory small talk is like build order in Starcraft: seemingly easy, quite complex, and best learned from watching other people's replays, which is why I have 600 hours of surreptitious footage of my friend Sr. Pfendl.

If you want to learn the art of introductions, remember, conversation is all about exchanging some harsh words, and bullets. More importantly, units of information (words, in this case) need to be produced: the key is to pump out more units than the other guy in a shorter amount of time and rush them all out so he's constantly reacting and can't get defensive. Also, proxy rush is useful.

No comments: