Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Highlight of the Trip

After standing in line so my daughters could get their picture taken with Pocahontas, I decided, what the hell.

"What's your name?" she asked. I hadn't expected that.

"John Rolfe," I replied.*

I have to hand it to those character actresses. I didn't really expect her to be visibly creeped out, but I did expect that she would show some sign of ironic self-awareness. But no: she played the whole 20 second interaction straight up, in character, didn't miss a beat.

*Are you kidding? That's the kind of answer that only occurs to me a day later.


trumwill said...

I think that having a friendly and extroverted, go-along-get-along disposition is part of the job. As such, unless there is a specific reason that she is made to feel uncomfortable, she's probably cool.

You were there with your daughters. I'd imagine that you were also wearing a wedding ring or maybe even there with your wife. Now, if you'd been a single, childless guy that waited in line to get your picture taken with her, that might have generated a mild uneasiness.

Φ said...

Yes, I was there with my family. Mrs. Φ took the picture.

Still, an extroverted personality is part of the maitre d' job at, say, Chili's, but the number of women who actually establish and maintain eye contact is quite rare at anything other than the most upscale establishments.

trumwill said...

Really? I've gotten some disaffected hostesses before, but I think of sunny demeanors and friendliness (including eye-contact) as the norm. I'll have to pay more attention next time I eat out.

Φ said...

(sulkily) Lucky you! As I wrote, my experience is likely not the norm. I usually get the sunny friendliness, but seldom get more than fleeting eye contact.

Φ said...

It occurs to me that while asking my name right off the bat is vaguely reminiscent of the meeting between Smith and Pocahontas in the movie, it also serves as a useful guy-control device. I suspect that the actress's male customers, having given their names, are MUCH less likely to misbehave in some unpredictable way, and that this was partly the motivation for asking it.

trumwill said...

You know, the eye-contact is a funny thing, now that you mention it.

I used to frequent a Seattle's Best Coffeehouse where I used to live. It was staffed with cute college co-eds that were slightly on the other side of age-appropriateness if I were single. I was always reluctant to make too much eye contact or look at them too intently. I wouldn't avoid eye contact altogether, but just kind of look around in addition to looking at them. If I wasn't careful, I'd look downward just a little and without realizing it I would be looking straight at their chest. They were always unfailingly nice to me, but I always felt so awkward.

That's a good point about the name-asking. Hadn't even crossed my mind.