There’s a time in every mandatory meeting or at any gathering where you’re pressed to attend that you simply need to reach out and touch someone. I have to admit that I myself am a kicker and note jotter. If I’m forced into a meeting, I like everyone within a foot’s vicinity to know exactly what I think about it. Typically, I don’t sit down and let my foot fly; I like to time it with the comments of the speaker. It’s how I insure that I’m awake and that all those around me are also paying close attention.
Some examples from my not so recent past are when I’ve been guilted into visiting with my old college chums. They’re a bit of a rowdy lot and some how feel like when we’re together we should all act like we were 19. Now 19 was a great age for me, but you just don’t get the same thrill when you lie about your age at the bar. When the bartender will only nod and say doubtfully, “mmm hmmm, you’re over 21. No, you can put your ID away. I really don’t need to see it.” I remember getting chided on one occasion about wanting to go to the movies first and then go drinking because getting smashed at 5pm seemed kind of lame to me. Everyone else wanted to go drinking first. In the midst of being chided by a former roommate and her poster boy for desperately needing anger management courses husband she went off on a tangent about MY-mosas. This is like “your”-mosa or “her”-mosa and bears some similarity to the orange juice and champagne drink you find at many a brunch. *KAPOW* I had to kick Kendra. I don’t like words like MY-mosa to go unnoticed. Within that same year we visited the group again. This time one of my friends brought the sweetest and dimmest girl who was made all the more dim via hefty amounts of alcohol. She was chatting up everyone being as charming as she could be when she slurred out quite loudly, “I like music!!! I don’t know why I like so many kinds of music!!!” Kendra burst out laughing and *KAPOW*, which was an acknowledgement that I too had also told some mean spirited joke in my head.
Now kicking should really be limited to one or two well-placed kicks. If the person doesn’t jump a little, then you did it wrong, but that person should also not jump too often. One too many foot shoves, a variation on the kick, and you’re playing footsy. If you’re playing footsy at the office place you could be sued. Don’t play footsy. If you must keep up a private dialog, I recommend bringing a note pad.
Truly, nothing says I’m paying attention to the speaker than your scribbling down copious amounts of notes. Usually no one is ever going to look at those notes except the people around you so have fun. The key is jotting it down while making eye contact with the speaker then carefully laying your pad down. A slight tap of your pen on the paper or a gently shift in its position on the table indicates to your neighbor that you’re beginning a conversation with them. Your conversation should be humorous so that you two can play the old meeting game of who can keep the straightest face. This game is usually coupled with another meeting game of how much can you get away with without getting into trouble.
Suffice it to say that I had a meeting today. Someone was playing footsy with me when one good sharp kick would have conveyed their meaning.