It’s that time of year again. Someone pops into the office and hands you a menu, ‘make your choices for the Christmas meal,’ they grin and suddenly you’re trapped in one of those enforced fun situations. Eeuuuggh.
For as long as I’ve been employed I’ve hated the work’s Christmas party. Bah humbug, you may think, but i have a reasonably good reason for my disdain. I used to have a bit of a drink and drugs problem which meant that I always looked on the people that went on these things with a degree of misguided snobbery. The once a year drinkers, they have two pints and think they’re God’s gift. By 8pm someone has started a fight. They think they can pull the girl from HR despite the fact they’ve worked with her every day for a year and she’s shown no interest. The meal itself is torture, 20 people with absolutely nothing in common except the fact that they inhabit the same patch of air five days a week, crowded round a table wearing party hats.
The conversation is about work because what else can you talk about? The lady who does our payroll doesn’t want to hear about my weekend plans of football. I’m not too fussed about her homemade greeting cards she does in her spare time either. But we sit there, as politely as possible, just wishing the next course would arrive quicker in order to fill our mouths with food and therefore have a valid excuse not to talk to the head of marketing sitting opposite. Heads down, focusing on turkey and trimmings, wishing the minutes away. And then it’s on to a club, social angst getting worse by the minute. You hint at getting an early night but the look of disgust from your co-workers is too much to bear. ‘Man up’ they cry. ‘Don’t be a tart. Let’s get on it and have a session.’ I have real friends for that, thank you very much. People I choose to see in my spare time. Not people I only know down to the random nature of chance employment. But you go, and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home, and you cry and you wish you hadn’t gone after all. Morrissey bloody hated the annual Smiths Christmas bash.
So this year I’m just going to be true to myself and say no… although the brandy infused chocolate brownie does look good on that menu.
Maybe I’ll just go for the meal…