[Editor’s Note: Yet another shit week. I tried and failed at 2 other posts. This one only fell in my lap, as it is the time of year that invites go out. So, here we go.]
I am not much for social gatherings. Never have been. If its not clear by the blank rants on the internet, I try to avoid large gatherings of strangers whenever possible.
Well, in my very first year of work at my very first job, I had to bend that rule once. Only once.
See, at work, I kept to myself. Didn’t talk much. Did my job. Participated in meetings (as needed), and went home. No after hours socializing for myself. I had enough friends. Didn’t need to make any more. Certainly not at work.
It got to be about this time of year, and the company holiday party invites came in. I ignored it. My team leader asked me if I was going to go. I said “I am not much of a party person.”
Back and forth conversation ensued. More than I wanted. Then, he said, “Ok, I’ll make this deal with you. You go this time. You don’t like it. You never have to go to another holiday party ever again. You will never know if you hate it, if you don’t go.”
I said, “When is the team going to be there. Because I am not going alone.”
He said, “It starts at 7pm and ends at 11pm. We will be there at 8pm.”
I said, “No problem. Ill be there at 8pm.”
In those days, I was just starting out. Saving up for a wedding ring. Didn’t have dough to spend on parking downtown. Uber and Lyft wasn’t a thing yet. Neither was smartphones.
So, I wore the only suit I had, and I rode the bus. Rode it down to the nearest cross street. Walked one block, and there was a shuttle there to take us the rest of the 2 miles down to the holiday party at the end of this private road.
Imagine the biggest fucking ballroom you have ever seen. Double that. There were 2,000+ of us in one room, and there was still plenty of room to walk around. A bar every 30 yards. Big band on a stage. Some tables. Some foodstuffs scattered about.
And there was two floors of it. In a giant circle.
I got there at 8pm on the dot. It took me 30-45min to make the two laps in an attempt to find my team. No luck. I wasn’t a big drinker then, but I got a drink to walk around with.
And walk I did. I even made one more lap of both floors after that cause I couldn’t find them. I texted my team leader. THEY, unbeknownst to me, met up at one of my other teammates houses and were all going to leave together. They were apparently 10 min out.
Ok cool. I killed some time. Walked around. Said hello to the few people I recognized. Stared out the window.
It got to be 9:45-9:50, so I called them. I could tell by the background noise they hadn’t left yet. They told me they were leaving now…
I was pissed. To say the least. I said, “I know no one here, and I’m not intruding on people’s conversations. Get here.”
More time passed. And then more.
It got to be 15 min to 11pm. I had been there for almost 3 hours and talked to no one. I called and left a voicemail that I was leaving.
I go to walk out the door, and they all walk in together. Fucking drunk. Apparently the pregame went well.
I still told them I was going to leave. My team leader told me to stick around and that the fund was getting ready to start.
By now, the band had finished. Food was being cleared. I turned around for a second because one of the people I interviewed with saw me. We talked for maybe 5 minutes. I turned around and the entire team was gone.
I spent another 10 min to find one of them, told them curtly that I was leaving. They said for me to stay and I cut them off, “NO. Have a good night.”
I walked out….the shuttle had stopped. The only option was to pay for a cab ride or hitch a ride with one of the few bigwigs who got a parking spot.
I walked 2 miles back to the main road. In a full suit and dress shoes. To get on the bus to head home.
Luckily that went off without incident.
The following Monday I got in the room with my team late because of traffic and…I would like to say I am a better man, but I am not. I read them the fucking riot act.
“Why did you even make me go? You didn’t show up when you said. I don’t know any of those people, and I am not a social person by nature. I waited for three fucking hours for you to all show up drunk. Never ask me to do anything after work again. I can’t trust any of you.”
I turned to my team leader, “And you. I went. I hated it. I will never go to a holiday party again.”
Like they apologized and shit. But fuck that. That’s low. Why the fuck drag me there. I guess they thought via osmosis I would have a good time.
Over the years, they were nicer to me. And never again did they leave me in the lurch like that. But, to this day, I go to no holiday party. Period.
So, again this year, the tradition continues. Fuck people. I want nothing to do with them.
That is all.