Yesterday I was at the Tan Tar A resort in Osage Beach to give a presentation to Missouri's DMH Spring Training Institute. It was one my largest audiences ever with 300 people there to hear me speak. However, it isn't the presentation I am going to remember the most but rather an event that happened at breakfast.
I missed the free breakfast so I went to the restaurant and I sat down. It was a buffet style breakfast so I got my food and while I was eating a younger brother and sister, maybe 10 and 14 years old, came in through the side door. The waitress sat them down and asked the question, "How are you?"
How are you? there isn't a scarier into to a conversation than that. I've struggled with it a long time, and one of my first blog posts talked about it. To hear it said from others to others makes me cringe because I'm like a spectator at a sporting event knowing that a player is about to totally screw up in the most shameful of ways. I thought this was going to happen, but the sister responded to the waitress, "Just fine, and how are you this morning?"
I thought, "What just happened?" It took me a moment of thinking before I realized that I was just a ringside witness to normality. I can count on one hand... okay, I don't need any hands to count the times I have actually returned a "how are you?" I've never done it but it isn't because that I don't care (okay, sometimes I might not) but it just doesn't come naturally to ask. Also, being asked that question creates such a downpour of thoughts that it takes a while for me to actually know how I am doing.
In my presentations I poke fun at myself for the couple times I have fully failed the how are you line of questioning. Yesterday though it was an eerie feeling to witness a how are you exchange that was fully natural without and forcing or over processing. I was a tad bit envious actually on just how smooth it went.
For those that know me, and those that saw me present yesterday, you know that when I'm presenting I'm confident and quite talkative and most people say, "Oh, I could never present to a group like that." While that may be true and while presenting is now easy for me the #1 thing I am going to remember about that trip, and it will probably haunt me for a long time, is just how easy socializing come to others.