A couple months ago at my son's birthday party, the husband of one of my wife's friends (we'll call him Mike, because that's his name), approached me with a proposition. Me, Mike and our sons went to see the Monster Trucks perform at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. Our sons had a great time, they both became instant fans of the whole Monster Truck genre, and good times were had all around. The only drawback was the small talk I had to engage in with this dude during the 90 or so minutes we were there. Our wives are good friends, but Mike and I were still feeling our way around each other, which makes for awkward times when you consider we are both 41 year old men with an established stable of friends.
So while I was in the midst of partying and celebrating my son's fourth year on this Earth, Mike told me about an upcoming Monster Truck show in Richmond, Virginia on February 20th. He suggested that we leave the wives behind, and just make a day trip of it with our sons. I begrudingly agreed. Very begrudingly.
On one hand, my son is absolutely in love with the Monster Trucks, and I would be a damn fool to deny him that opportunity, simply because I'm socially awkward. On the other hand, I have no desire to sit in a car for 4 hours (2 each way) with someone I do not really know that well. My small talk game is good for about 20 minute intervals, which means I would be forced to either listen to what he had to say or just sit in awkward silence while I listen to music that he chose (because the passenger has no right to pick the musical selections in another man's car). On top of that, Mike is white, and I am black, and that racial breakdown was fairly inconsequential when the Monster Truck Show was in DC (although the Verizon Center was 80-percent white and 20-percent black). In Richmond, Virginia, I have no problems admitting that I will be a bit more nervous about the racial climate. I am not scared of anything or anyone, I just don't want to have to hear ignorance (or act ignorant) in the presence of my son. If it goes down, so be it, but I'm leery of him being exposed to that on a day that is supposed to be about fun.
Earlier this week, Mike texted me and told me that the big day was near, and he wanted to hammer out the details about where we were going to meet up so we could ride down to Richmond, and I had to stop him in his tracks. I told him that I thought it would be better if we drove separately since I had plans to visit my main man Sabin after the show. What I did NOT tell him is that I had no desire to ride and talk with him, because there's no way to say that without coming off like a dick and a half. Then he asked me if we could meet up for him to give me the tickets, and I asked him to put the in the mail. I felt like a slight asshole, but I felt like that was the most efficient way to handle that particular transaction. I asked my wife is that was ok, and she approved, but I still felt bad...but not really. He put the tickets in the mail and I thanked him.
So I have successfully avoided four hours of small talk, and now I only have to worry about racist white folks and 90 minutes (or so) worth of small talk during the Monster Truck show. That is still a daunting task, but I think I can handle it...I think.
I love this song and I love this woman. If my wife ever acts up, I would totally leave her for Lalah Hathaway: