Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Guy thing:

I'm not sure all guys are like this, but many are, and it's a particularly egregious fault of mine. For example, let's say that I mention to my wife, “I talked to Bill Q. today.”
“Oh,” she says, “what college did his daughter get into?”
“I didn't ask.”
“How are his wife's cancer treatments going?”
“I don't know.”
“Is his son still in jail?”
Just kidding, but you know what I mean. We had a 'guy' conversation, and I didn't ask about anything important. AND WHY IS THAT?

Well maybe I didn't ask any of those 'important' questions because I just happen to know better. To illustrate, let me tell you about the conversation I actually had with Bill last Friday. He and I have done some field work together, and we've talked a bit, but – and this is also a guy thing – we haven't kept in touch. I called him today because he might know something about a piece of software that was giving me trouble. He wasn't in his office, so dialed his cell phone:
“Hi, Bill here.”
“Bill, hi, this is Toby Robison, how are things?”
{Awful dead silence, a whole five seconds}
Now in my defense, I want you to know that the moment I said 'how are things,' I realized I had overstepped the bounds and done something terribly wrong. I just knew; it's a guy thing. So I recovered and continued our brief conversation:
“Bill, do you know much about your company's Qlap program? I copied it to another PC and it won't run.”
“You might have to install the Froybie program first.”
“Thanks, bye.”

Now for those of you too dense, or too family-oriented, to understand: I was lucky that Bill answered his cell phone at all. He might be in a meeting, or talking to a customer, or driving around a sweeping curve. He gave me a few moments, and it was my job to use them efficiently. And I do hope his son's out of jail by now, but I didn't have time to ask.

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