“What’s that?” I asked, not sure if I heard her correctly. It was loud at the bar even though it was barely packed.
“Did you say you go to church?” she asked again.
I wavered in my response suddenly worrying that my non-drinking habits was giving off the wrong vibe. I stuttered, “No….?”
Seeing her response, I realized that I was making a mistake, but somehow she pursued it, “Do you ever?”
More than a year ago, I was talking about how to relate with people betterâ€”how to avoid entering awkward conversations about anything. What is the secret to relating to people? I wanted to know. How can I convince people of anything? Or how do I get them to like me Chris got along with people from all different classes, of all faiths, of all ethnicities…he was very close to conservative Christians and very close to the guys who attend strip clubs regularly. What do I need to do?
And suddenly in this moment at a bar in the Tenderloin…talking with someone that I actually wanted to connect with because I thought she was interesting….I was suddenly halted by words. Truth for some like me comes easy. But to put the truth in the right way without discomfort is difficult. Right at that moment, I couldn’t think of what to sayâ€”although knowing full well that Chris had taught me a canned response. But as my lips parted, the lesson slipped away.
I retreated to my easy awkward truth, “No…”
And the conversation halted and I knew the conversation was dead. She turned to Chris and asked the same question. Hearing his response, I knew what I was supposed to say.
I spent the rest of the evening trying to learn how to be glib. I think it’s rather hard.