Sunday, December 6, 2009

Highlights of the Office Christmas Party

I am seated next to a woman in her late 40's, wife of one of our senior businessmen. Early in our conversation, she tells me that she has a 5-year-old son. He's brilliant - does math at a sixth-grade level. He can subtract fractions. But he's very demanding. She repeats to me several times that she feels she no longer has her own life, and tells me that I've definitely made the right decision not to have children. The first course comes and we break off the conversation. Later, when she turns to talk to me again, she brings up this same topic. And again later, and once more after that. She keeps telling me how much she loves her son, but if only she'd known, she might not have had him. I listen and nod sympathetically, but what can you really say to that?

On the other side of my husband is the date of one of our clerical workers. Early in the evening he makes a show of tasting the wine. His tasting face: lips pushed out, eyes rolled back. It's so dramatic and silly that I laugh, thinking he's clowning around. He's not. I ask him if he's a wine connoisseur. He replies that he's a "connoisseur" in a general way, and then adds straight up that he's a snob. OK, good to know.

The Connoisseur is also a DJ. The DJ who's in charge of our party is killing him with random song segues. He has every possible kind of music on iTunes, from 1930's jazz all the way through to modern hip-hop, and it seems that he's put his system on ultra-random for the evening. Ultra-random is a setting beyond random, which ensures that no two consecutive songs will have any relation to each other whatsoever. As "Jingle Bell Rock" leads into "Sexual Healing", the Connoisseur mimes digging out his right eye with his fork.

Dinner is served. As usual at this venue, the food is excellent. It's surf'n'turf: steamed veggies, roasted potatoes, and steak topped with a pair of jumbo shrimp. As you'd expect at a Portuguese restaurant, the shrimp are perfectly cooked. Absolutely tender. Not at all rubbery. Six out of the eight people seated at our table declare that shrimp are sea bugs and therefore disgusting. If I had a bigger appetite, I could've eaten a lot of extra shrimp.

Despite the crappy DJ, music is music, and after dinner there's a good crowd on the dance floor. That's what I love best about our Christmas parties. People really get out there and shake a tailfeather. Couples in their 60's get up and do ballroom dancing moves to hip-hop songs, as long as the tempo works. Girls in their 20's dance to 1950's rock'n'roll without complaining. Most people aren't worried about looking cool, and they're not falling-down-drunk either. It's a lot of good-spirited fun. The businessman whose wife I was sitting next to at dinner dances next to me and sings along with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".

It's 12:30 am before we know it. My husband and I prepare to leave. The place is emptying out, but there's still a handful of dancers on the floor, and small groups of people enjoying the platters of seafood that were brought out at 11 pm. My heart is racing from the unusual exercise of dancing for two solid hours so late at night. Traffic is light and we're home within 20 minutes. It takes me extra time to get off all the fancy party makeup. Then I fall into bed and sleep like a log.


savia said...

This post made me smile - thanks for a lovely start to my Sunday.

G said...

Sounds like you had a great staff Christmas party. Defintely brought a smile to face in remembering all my dad's staff Christmas parties that used to be held at my house when I was a youngster.

Anonymous said...

I've only been to two company holiday parties in my career. They were both embarrassing experiences but for very different reasons. I suppose they turned me off such matters ever after.

Glad you had fun though. :)

Kate said...

Sounds like fun! I've never worked for a large company, so have never been to such a thing, but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Claire said...

I live to sleep like a log. :)


Ily said...

I know women who say they adore their children yet hate their lives because they can't go out anymore. It's hard to balance a home life and a social life, but it can be done.

All in all, it sounds like you had a great night shakin' your booty! I need to get out there and dance again.

DarcsFalcon said...

It's kind of hard to feel sorry for a mom who seems to resent her child so much. I do feel sorry for the kid though - he couldn't help being born.

The snob with the fork in the eye is funny though. :)

Sounds like overall you had a nice time. And hey, I learned to get over my "lobster is the cockroach of the sea and crab is it's spider" sufficiently enough to enjoy - and that's a lot worse than sea bugs! Silly people, shrimp is for eating!

But not Rocky Mountain Oysters. Ever! ;)

Glad you had a nice time. :D

Sparkling Red said...

Savia: You are most welcome! :-)

G: You had the staff Christmas parties at your home? I hope they weren't too wild. ;-)

darcknyt: I'm usually not one for corporate affairs. It feels too much like more work - pasting a polite smile on your face when you're not really feeling it. But at this job, the Christmas parties really do channel the holiday spirit. Say, you should blog about those parties.

Kate: Actually the owners of our business combine our party with those of a couple of other businesses they're involved in, which pretty much doubles the numbers at the event. It's not bad, even though we don't know the other people very well. The more the merrier.

Claire: Yup, a good sleep is a precious thing.

Ily: I don't know how parents do it. Especially the ones that don't give birth to mellow babies. Even the easiest babies are pretty high-maintenance. Special kids are off the charts.

DarcsFalcon: The cockroach of the sea, eh? I like that can you imagine living in a building with a lobster infestation? You turn on a light and a dozen lobsters all scurry for the shadows... that would be weird!

LL Cool Joe said...

Ha ha Ohhhh "Jingle Bell Rock" to "Sexual Healing" should never ever happen with a live dj!

Glad you had a great time though!

Jen said...

It is difficult to have your own life when you have a child. I love being a mom, but I am glad mine is almost grown.

Jenski said...

Presumptuous of the woman to assume her reasons are yours? Glad there was amusement had by all! Probably a good thing that your place of work can have fun at a holiday party without everyone being wasted. Life isn't always a sitcom, right? :-)