Saturday, February 17, 2007

Funny Story

The other day - L asked what was the funniest thing I had ever seen. MMMM, that is a tough one. So I kinda hummed and thought about it for a bit and made up something - sorta funny, because honestly I cannot tell her about the funniest thing I ever saw. For those of you who know me - you might have heard it - but I will share it again.

So in my former life, I worked with 401K plans. One of my regular duties included hosting enrollment and educational meetings. This would mean traveling to the plan sponsors work site and setting up my projector and laptop and doing the meeting. A number of our plans involved factories.
So one such meeting was in Florida. I had to be there at 6:00 am. So I arrived and got set up. My contact - I will call her P, met me and while I had spoken to her on the phone, I had never met her in person. She was in her 60s and very sweet. A little brash and brassy. Kinda with an edge. With a bee-hive 50s style hair-do. I knew it was going to a long day when she asked me in all seriousness if I "spoke Haitian" Ahh, no. I live in central Ohio - I am blond (well I was then, heh, heh) and have grey/green/hazel eyes. So then P hits me with the next question - "Well you must speak Spanish then?"
I pause, "Ah, no! German" I volunteered.
She just sighed and shot me a look.
So after some discussion with the shop foreman on my part, I had arranged for both a Haitian and Spanish interrupter. The meeting was slow - with it being given in three part language harmony - but we muddled thru every last fund and objective.
If this were not enough pre-breakfast and coffee - the fun really started when I headed back to P's office - to go over the enrollment process with her and what she needed to know about loans and distributions. I normally did this at every site I visited.
We get to her office and it was a large room, with a high back chair in one corner(which she suggested I sit in) and an old desk along the opposite wall and a long table adjacent to the desk. She had an "L" shape work space with a rolling executive chair. At each end of the "L" she had a trash can and about 2 ashtrays.
NOW the FUN began. She lit one cigarette as she sat down. (now I am an avid no smoker - but I was not going to freak. I could handle a bit of smoke.) So as I started my standard run thru she listened and smoked - taking drags at a steady pace. Then she rolled to the edge of her desk and laid the cigarette in the ash tray, rolled back towards me and lit up again. Rolling closer to where I sat at the short end of the "L." As she listened she began to tap ash into the trash can. I took a deep breath and continued on. Then she rolled back to the other end of the "L", lit another cigarette and rolled back towards me, with both cigarettes and a copy of some materials I had previously mailed to her. Dropped the almost completed cigarette into the trash can and started going to town on the new one. (Now should I worry about her hair getting on fire as she waved the cigarette about wildly as she talked, or the now lit cigarette in the trash, mmmm. What was I talking about???)
All of a sudden I have visions of fire. Had she really put a lit cigarette into the trash can? This process continues for about 15 minutes. P rolling along the "L" with various cigarettes in play. One in her mouth, one in her hand, a few in the ashtray, some in the trash. I am feverishly trying to keep track of them - so sure the room is soon to go ablaze.
She must have looked up from her rolling, smoking and questioning and saw the horror on my face, which she mistook for lust or desire for a cigarette - because she the offers me one from the now nearly empty pack - unfiltered Pall Mall (do they still make those???)
In a rush, "I say oh, no I am fine thanks."
To which she responds, "Well, you do not look fine."
I cough, from the smoke and to stifle any flippant comment lurking in my subconscious.
And onward I march. When we conclude our meeting I head back to the hotel - for a shower.

Now I have to admit now - it was funny. I mean, seriously, I have had friends who chain smoke, but this was extreme to say the least. It was rather like juggling cigarettes. The rolling and smoking and talking. Combined with the ash and lit cigarettes going into the various trash cans. WOW, watch out!
I can only imagine the look of shock and horror on my face.
So not funny hah-hah in the classical sense - but still one of the strangest and funniest things I have seen.
So have you ever had an experience like this??


Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

I once had a conversation with an old lady who kept picking her nose, disgusting but hilarious. She seemed so unaware of what she was doing

Susan said...

I guess that is why they call them habits. But I have to say it was the funniest - in a horrible kinda way - scene. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

That may be why people watching is one of my "bad" habits.

IHateToast said...

i can only think of Friends and Joey's agent Estelle. And Magda from There's Something About Mary.