Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Billy, Chris, and how we handle different groups of people...

One of the things I've always liked about myself was my ability to communicate with people. Rosa used to call me the "Great Communicator" once upon a time. (It would bug me because that was also Reagan's nickname!) The time I spend alone with my friends is always the best time for me because I get to communicate with them: tell them about how I'm doing, see how they are, bounce new ideas off of them, that kind of thing. Recently, it seems like I've been doing this most often at Tim's in San Diego, kicking back with wine and a smoke, or shooting pool with Sean. (For all the time I spend with Keith, little is spent communicating. That takes two!)

When it comes to larger groups, though, I become another person. I start to "perform". I don't know if this is common with artists and performers but it has been my way since I was a child. A group of people, to me, is an audience while a person is a person. So you will, more often than not, never get a straight answer out of me in front of a group. A quip or a pun will come quickly and readily but Ken doesn't transform from Goofy Clown Boy back to Ken until you get him alone; only then, will he speak.

And, so, it was with this in mind that I caught myself performing today. I was finishing my lunch in the lunchroom, a lunch of yogurt and crackers over Neil Simon's memoirs, when Billy, Chris, and two other guys came in. Billy and Chris are both graphic artists. We're working on an advert together. Chris is one of those perfect guys - perfect hair, perfect build, perfect smile, perfect way with words - but I forgive him that because I'm sure there's a real person in there somewhere. Billy is very much the opposite, a person so real it's disarming. Most of us fall somewhere in between.

We talked a bit about the ad but, then, they sank into their lunchtime conversation and I readied my things for my post-lunch day. (Isn't your day split into pre-lunch and post-lunch?)

Then, I rose and grabbed my things, a mini-cooler and my book. Chris and Billy looked at me as if expecting me to say something.

If they were individuals, I probably would have said, "Have a nice lunch." or "See you later." or something about getting back with me later about the ad. Oh, sure, they were individuals but in that group, well, they were a group. They were an audience.

So, I started a bit on cutting the day down to three hours, just off the top of my head. (Actually, I didn't know I'd say it.) They laughed.

It's not too hard for me to get laughter sometimes... but is that all I want? Is laughter more valuable than connecting with another person? I've been the class clown since I was five or six years old - is that how the rest of my life will be? Granted, it's not a terrible way of life. I've seen others far worse off, people who go catatonic at the thought of connecting with others through a joke or through a conversation.

I'm not complaining.

But I did smack myself inside my head.

Then, I thought, "Well, that's Ken."

And then, I thought, "That should go on the Blog."


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