Today, at work, I’m accompanying a group of trainees for an off-site visit.
I am in a bus sitting next to the French Lead Instructor, who, incidentally, I have a school-girl crush on. He is on my right and the only part of our bodies that touch is the length of our bodies from hip to knee. Occasionally, our shoulders bump.
The rest of the bus is filled with noisy Indonesian participants, singing along to the karaoke videos being played on the TV. Yes, in the bus. Lucia, one of the trainees, who sit across the aisle from me tells me, “I may as well sing or else I will be stressed out by the traffic.” To each their own.
“Do you take a long holiday?” The French Lead Instructor asks after a short companionable silence in which I was enjoying just feeling.
“A long holiday?” I clarify. I give it some thought. “Well, I don’t normally take a long holiday. I think the most recent holiday I went on lasted less than 3 days.” He looks at me and lifts both his eyebrows in disbelief.
Then another question from left field. “Do you have children?” I look at him, the wheels in my head spinning every which way. Hmmm…I think to myself, how do I answer this and remain mysterious, elusive? I go for direct. “No.” I reply and give my most enigmatic smile. Well, I hope it translated into enigmatic instead of constipated.
His reply, “Oh. That’s why you don’t take a long holiday!”
Ouch. I was momentarily stunned into silence. I couldn’t think of a suitable retort but end up saying, “Maybe that’s when I’ll take a long holiday. When I have kids.” I give a wistful smile, hoping to end the conversation which I was not really enjoying anymore.
“Well, you can have mine,” he says. I go hahaha and look out the window. Suddenly, from beside me, I hear him mutter, “Sorry.” I turn to him and ask, “Huh?” But he doesn’t reply.
Four hours later, in the scalding hot shower, that conversation came rushing back and then it hit me. The reason why he said sorry. It probably sounded he was telling me I could have his kids. He must’ve thought I’d think he was propositioning me!
An interesting thought but still…Awkward.
What awkward conversations have YOU had in your workplace?