‘Tis the season of the Christmas Party,
For the company I work for this is exceedingly rare; I’ve been to two, maybe three including last night, the last one before last night was in Cardiff, I organised it and got a small bonus for doing so at the end of the year, a bonus for organising a piss up, a night in a hotel with food and an activity for the afternoon, a fun activity, not a guest speaker for the graveyard shift the following morning when everyone realises that spending the same amount in Wetherspoons as you would on a night out anywhere else is probably not such a great idea, I’ve felt rougher on the morning of day 2 of the Cardiff office party, but that was when I was younger and healed quicker.
At one conference in Swindon, I lost my wallet my jacket and my shoes and my socks, somewhere in the De-Vere’s hotel (sounds grand, but was a shit hole, paper over the cracks and in Swindon). So I woke up late, took a tally of what I had lost, decided I couldn’t face the rest of the conference in bare feet, stinking like a tramp, no matter how many hotel shower gels and conditioners I used to wash my self, this would be a case of waiting it out, this had now turned into a crisis, which was to involve tall tales, possibly ill relatives, distant cousins or an Aunt no one liked, divorced twice, children out of wedlock etc etc. I still had my phone, and my boss was lovely and thankfully our house had been flooded a month or so before and so I was under a lot of pressure and notoriously unstable, the house of cards was looking pretty solid for me in my morning still drunk delusion. So I made some phone calls, still had phone, still had car keys, I snuck out from the hotel, paid my drinks bill, Really? That much? And scampered across the car park in my bare feet to my car, my destination, HSBC in Swindon town centre where I would go and speak to a teller and give them my name address and a predetermined and arranged password form an earlier phone call; Gruffalo, in this case, it was a long time ago. So I couldn’t park anywhere near the bank, and didn’t know the roads in Swindon anyway, so spent a while walking around Swindon town centre, barefoot and smelling like the insides of a beer can used as an ashtray, like in the olden days, remember that? To cut a long story short, I found the bank, they looked at me doubtfully and I had to relay the whole tale to them, which, after I could see they were getting into the swing of it, I started to enjoy my self, my shame dissipated for the time I was in the bank. Once I got my money, I fucking ran out of there, got back into the car and drove home, only stopping for some prawn sandwiches, fizzy water (I’m classy me, I’ve got standards) and some fags (cigarettes). Mrs T saw the funny side and I had a bath, as the time ticked by, the realisation of what I had just done, skipping out of a conference where the guest speaker was drinking with me the night before, oh Shit!
I got away with it, I had an understanding boss, she helped me through the flooding and was sympathetic to my issues and eccentric ways, such as getting far too drunk, and making a fool of myself. Things are different now! Ish!
Anyway I went to a Christmas do last night in Shrewsbury, which involved a 2 hour train journey, going into Birmingham, changing trains and getting back out in another direction, both ways, hopefully not too late for Mrs T to come and pick up a relatively sober me from the station. I used to panic at these dos not having a deep understanding of the type of people whom I would be talking to over the course of the evening. Our boss bought us 1 pint, and we had to pay for the meal, the train ticket was paid for by the company, but I was thinking to myself as the drizzle fell over the grey shiny pavements of Shrewsbury as I stood outside vaping, the only person there to do so, and everyone else, inside talking about fuck knows what; Work? Funny episodes at work? Who knows. Being a remote worker without an office, the bonds you form are not as strong as they were in the past, and sometimes social interaction with colleagues can be slightly awkward, but fortunately for me, and maybe my co-coversationalists, we’ed all had a few beers and ended up talking about music formats, vinyl specifically, and art and portraiture by convicted prisoners, leading to the tale of a friend of mine who bought a Rolf Harris painting for a few thousand before operation Yew Tree found out he was a Pedo. Turns out some people still collect the stuff, people still buy Michael Jackson. It’s a strange one, and not for this forum, possibly, or this time.
So yeah, Work Christmas parties, I can take or leave, especially as I had to sit on the floor in the Train on the way back to Birmingham, near the toilet, this country is going to the dogs, the bloody dogs! So vote wisely on Thursday folks.