That was me on Friday night.
And that was at my work Christmas party.
The social committee organized this party and charged everyone ten dollars to attend. This was to cover the cost of snacks and prizes.
Yes. This party was a “games” party. There were games to play. Everyone was put into one of three teams and everyone was expected to participate. You could win points for your team, and then your team could win the grand prize at the end of the night.
In case you weren’t aware of this small fact about me, I don’t do games. I have played games on occasion, but as a general rule, don’t invite me to an evening of board games at your home, because I will probably politely refuse. I would prefer to work the room and actually talk to people, sipping my glass of wine, than play Cranium or Trivial Pursuit (and I am really rather good at those particular games) or horror of horrors, Rock Band (never played it, probably not so skilled at it).
But I was not even given this option at my work party. Participation was mandatory, it seemed.
PG and I deliberately arrived two hours late, hoping to avoid most of the “fun”. We didn’t. In fact, we only missed one game. Fortunately, PG had to work early the next morning, so I had already informed the social committee that we wouldn’t be able to stay long. We had to tough it out for three hours at most, we figured.
I lasted only ninety minutes before I hissed at PG, “We’re getting out of here NOW.”
But don’t get me wrong: it looked like most of my colleagues and their spouses/significant others were having a wonderful time. They were whooping it up and cheering one another on, and generally being loud and disorderly. They were totally into the whole game thing, so I guess the social committee certainly knew what would appeal to the majority of the people with whom I work. It’s just not my cup of tea. The only reason I was there was that I’d committed to attending before I knew what was planned, and as a former member of the social committee, I think it’s important that people show up for at least a short time to any event that the committee has taken the time to organize for the group. It’s a question of politeness for me, I suppose.
But this party was so contrived and regimented! Fifteen minutes between games, we were told – time enough to get a fresh drink and a quick bite to eat. Not enough time to introduce yourself or your spouse/ significant other to anybody. Not enough time to actually have a conversation with anybody. And God forbid if, when they were explaining the rules for the next game, you actually dared to chat with someone in the corner – you got shouted at!
And some of the games were rather inappropriate. I really don’t think that questions of a sexual nature for one of the games had any place in a gathering of people who simply work together. Amongst good friends, sure. But co-workers have to face each other again on Monday morning and – uh – work. As PG noted, now every time I see this one particular person at work, I will think about her story about her younger sister walking in on her and her boyfriend having sex. Or when I see that other person, I will think about all her sex toys that she proudly listed for us. I only met these two people four months ago. Talk about too much information!
Me? I lied when it was my turn and said I’d had sex in twelve different cars. To the general uproar that this statement caused, I modestly smiled and said, “Well, I’ve owned a lot of cars …”
Then we left.