Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why I will NEVER make it into the world's elite circles

Yesterday at an end-of-the-year scholarship function, one of the trustees introduced himself to me. I quickly realized that his family is one of my undergraduate school's biggest benefactors, made all the stranger because he was standing about 10 yards away from the university's Greatest Benefactor of All. This slightly smaller benefactor (only a couple buildings with his name on them -- clearly, he's just not up to snuff) was a wonderfully nice person, but I was still a bit awed by the fact that he was That Rich Guy.

Unfortunately, as a result, when he said something about going to the UW himself and then mentioned his name as if I hadn't seen it on his nametag, I blanched. What could I say? He waited expectantly for some sort of great remark about me, or world politics, or my plans to revitalize the entire downtown core...

"Wow," I said, listening to the words coming out of my mouth and unable to stop them. "I had a class in your building! I mean, not just a class but a couple...I mean, not your building, but you know, the one with your name..."

And as he looked slightly bemused, I saw my chance at piercing through the city's upper echelon evaporate before my eyes. Valiantly, I tried to recover, but the combination of complete humiliation and too much champagne had taken its toll. (Who the hell provides copious amounts of champagne but only a single tray of ice-cube sized hors d'oeuvres for vegetarians??) Behind me, two of my good friends here -- not the typical scholarship kids themselves -- tried to give me sympathetic smiles. Unfortunately, they were snickering too hard to do anything besides turn away slightly so That Rich Guy wouldn't hear them.

"I just hadn't realized--" I stopped, realizing I had almost made the fatal error of saying something along the lines of I thought everyone our buildings are named after was dead. Instead, I managed a partial save by saying that I hadn't realized how great my old school was until I left; consequently, I planned to return to the school to finish my graduate work someday. Alas, I was talking too fast and my face had turned strawberry red, so I'm sure I came off sounding like a slightly intoxicated, starstruck schoolgirl. There's a career move for you.

Naturally, just as I might have redeemed myself by actually talking about something remotely intelligent, the photographer insistently herded us away for our group photo. I withdrew politely and immediately downed my giant goblet o'champagne in one gulp.

Rich Guy probably flew home thinking it was nice of my graduate school to admit such a tongue-tied, inarticulate weirdo.

5 comments:

kristy said...

Names, please. I need names.

Anne said...

yeah. who's "the rich guy?"

Anonymous said...

I can't picture you as inarticulate, really. Clumsy, perhaps...on occassion...but not inarticulate!

- your Stanford/NY bud

Meg said...

Yeah, see, there's a reason I don't say things like that. :) Seriously, academic politics prevent me from writing about a lot of things on here, and I hesitated to write this at all. You can ask me about names in person when I'm home. ;)

Kid Sis said...

What, no initials?