A continuing series by former ER writer and Audrey contributor Shannon Goss on life as a modern hapa Asian American woman.
Last year I attended a party that was held at a private residence in Beverly Hills. The guest list was dominated by agents, that is people whose very job it is to schmooze. One could argue that as a writer, my job is also to schmooze. Unless I want my audience to consist exclusively of my parents, then yes, networking, schmoozing, whatever you want to call it, would help.
And while I can carry a conversation, engage in witty repartee and generally avoid being a social moron, I do so only when absolutely necessary. My first instinct is to stand in the corner and eat every passing hors d’oeuvre. The food usually serves as my main talking point, “Did you try that prosciutto and goat cheese pizza?” It’s okay, I’ll say it. Sad.
Looking back, I realize that as an affable creature I peaked at age twelve. In animal terms, it went like this: As a third grader I was in the chrysalis stage, tucked away in my cocoon. I was so shy that while on a trip to Disneyland, my parents, in an attempt to raise a confident girl, wanted me to ask Mickey Mouse if I could get a picture taken with him. I was too shy, resulting in the photo seen here.
Yes, that’s my sister and me getting our photo taken with Mickey’s back.
But then as a middle school student I blossomed into a social butterfly. Every day after basketball practice while my mom was patiently waiting in the parking lot, I was busy striking up conversation in the locker room. I may not have been the best basketball player, but I was a champion chatterbox.
It does seem that the next stage for this butterfly is to slowly, but surely, turn into a hermit. That is a recluse. Oddly the second definition of hermit is: a spiced molasses cookie. That actually sounds better.
But before turning into a delicious cookie hermit I decided to give it one last go. Social or bust by way of joining Facebook. I harbored an unjustified resistance to Facebook or any other social or professional networking site. I illogically covet my privacy. Illogical given my extremely low profile. The only explanation for this behavior is, “Because I’m weird.” So I signed up only to realize a very plausible result would be that Facebook will become my great enabler. You mean I can keep in touch with people without leaving my house?
Back at the party, I was about to dig into some steak on polenta when an agent friend did what any good agent (and friend) would do. She dragged me into the middle of the party, forcing me to be social. Hermits are nimble creatures, though, and a short while later I was able to slip off to the side. After all, I caught sight of the dessert trays. Was that pana cotta in a Chinese soup spoon? Couldn’t miss out on a second talking point.
– Shannon Goss