We got off at the ground floor, and were still awkwardly stuck with this couple as we all made our way through the lobby, out to the parking lot, and finally, to the safety of our car. We tried to deconstruct the conversation. Our friend had not realized the man was referring to me when he said "One guy, two women," and had been extremely confused as a result. We considered how this man arrived at the decision that his comments were appropriate ones to make to strangers. Male bonding attempt? Obviously he had assumed that I was not only male, but also much younger than I actually am - was he joking with me the way one jokes with a teenage nephew or grandson? Still, we returned each time to the same question I always have in these kinds of situations - no matter what his assumptions about who or what I am, why say anything at all? What compels people to joke like this with strangers? Even if I was a teenage (or twenty-something, for that matter) guy, that whole conversation would have still been awkward and uncomfortable. It's not nice. It's not particularly funny. It makes me wonder about people who can't seem to filter their thoughts well in public. Like the folks who ask interracial families if their kids are adopted in the grocery check-out line (or worse - where they "got" the kids and how much it cost), or the folks who ask strange women if they're pregnant, or the lady who wanted to know if I was Justin Bieber. It seems that sometimes otherwise mature, grown people just say the first thing that pops into their heads without regard for either logic or boundaries. How someone else's family was formed is none of your business. Whether or not a stranger is pregnant is also not your business. And on what planet would Justin Bieber possibly be riding a random elevator by himself at a conference center outside Orlando, FL while wearing someone else's nametag? Use. Some. Sense. Common sense.
So, for the record: if you're a random stranger, as follows are the topics I am open to discussing with you:
- The weather.
- The location of the nearest gas station/restaurant/coffee shop/highway entrance/random landmark
- Elevator speed.
I am open to a limited number of topics beyond the above-mentioned so long as they do not relate to any of the following:
- My/your/the general public's dating or mating habits.
- Justin Bieber.
- My age (or your uninformed estimation of such).
Now that we've got that cleared up, I look forward to spending our next elevator ride together deep in blissful conversation about those rain clouds rolling in.