Home tonight after nine days on the road with my husband. Over 5,000 Km.,(1,300 of them today) three provinces, gravel road meanderings, secondary highway diners, family, strangers, thunderstorms, road-side attractions, heritage sites, gob smacking geology and demon mosquitoes. Stay tuned – snippets of ponderous elasticity quiver but I’m too tired to catch them. Until tomorrow….
Damn you White Stripes. On some level I realize how exhausting putting on fabulous Christmas parties day after day can be.My calendar tells me I’m on day 8 of 13 days in a row without a break. I know I have at least 12 hours tomorrow and won’t be home until 3 AM. For hours now I’ve attempted a ponder and all that’s happened is this White Stripes song looping in my brain. I give up – you win White Stripes, and I know what I’m going to do – pondering can wait, I’m off to bed.
The executive assistant explained she was planning a birthday party for her boss. Navigating broken English we understood they wanted Canadian food, only the best for a party in two days. Lack of common language didn’t hinder our ability to put on a splendid party. Not surprisingly, executive assistant’s “best” involved champagne fountains, expensive scotch, and dazzling floral festooned archways dotted with twinkling lights.. Never one to judge, we pulled out the stops to make boss one of the weirdest birthday/wedding/ sweet sixteen/ 70’s disco parties I’ve laid eyes on.
Our client said everything was perfect – exactly as she imagined. As guests started to arrive it became apparent female guests fell into two distinctly different camps. The ball gown and tiara set, mingled with barely covering your panties in skin tight Lycra dresses teetering on 4 inch heels crowd. Oddly age wasn’t a factor, nor did it seem to make the slightest difference – I suppose dress code was “optional”
After dinner attention turned to the stage for speeches and video montage of boss man’s life. We found the pictures helpful, managing to piece together boss man’s rise to glory in the real estate market, despite absence of our mother tongue. Formalities over it was time for Karaoke.
As I stood next to the stage, a Lycra clad woman approached saying “help” -one of the few English words she spoke. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out her problem. Blind sided by her period, every square inch from the edge of her skimpy garment to the top of her rhinestone heels demanded immediate attention. I led her out the back door, leaving her hunched over in the back of our van as I went to find a feminine product. No luck – the best I could do was a pitcher of warm water and two clean bar rags – one to wash up with, the other to stuff in her underwear. Her motioning for me to do the washing was met with a firm “oh, hell no”. She shrugged, washed herself, and put the bar rag in her panties.
Suddenly overcome with a sense of urgency she left the van, making a B-line for the stage. I’d missed them calling her name, I didn’t miss her perfect rendition of Lady Gaga’s I Was Born This Way.
Just another day at the office – it helps if you love your job.
My years in hospitality always peak at Christmas. Office party season; the “black Friday” for ballrooms, high end venues, caterers, and event planners. The spring and summer wedding spree pales in comparison. A wedding may take an exhaustive year to plan, follows an itinerary of speeches, dances and toasts. Most people know how to behave at a wedding. Restraint and manners apply to most gatherings. In fact the only function where common sense goes out the window seems to be the Christmas party.
Far from pondering human nature, reasons to “cut loose” on the company dime are clear. That said, I feel an obligation to offer an office party refresher course. In no particular order; some basic rules to consider…..
Dress appropriately, especially if you plan to “tie one on”. Do you really want to face co-workers on Monday morning as the “hot mess” who fell out of her dress.
Your company is giving you a nice dinner, a few drink tickets, and taxi voucher home. There’s no need to “pre-drink” or sneak liquor in.
Raise your voice in advance if you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose/ gluten intolerant, or likely to expire when exposed to peanuts or shellfish. Acting like a princess after the fact will leave your tummy rumbling. If we get a heads up, we’ll lay out the red carpet, nothing less than royal treatment. Demand it without notice, the shoulder you get will be frosty cold.
Don’t steal the decorations or wear them in your hair.
Don’t ask for a pole because you want to “limbo” When gripped with desire to limbo, it’s time to go home.
Never beg for a drink after the bar is closed or “borrow” wine from another table. Don’t embarrass yourself by repeatedly claiming the server took your drink in order to get a free one. You’re drunk, we’re not. What you think is genius; is just plain silly.
Thank your employer. Always remember – your behaviour is noticed.
Lastly; if you are the “boss” no respect will be gained by a drunken Karaoke session.
The list is endless. Unfortunately this ponderer is too exhausted after the 15 hours just spent on another office party.
From “the Office” 2006
As I work in the Hospitality industry, I find myself entering Christmas party season. For the next few weeks, night after night I will cheerfully work with clients to insure the annual office soiree goes off without a hitch. The Christmas party is a big deal. The once a year opportunity for mail clerks and CEO s to be on equal ground. A Christmas party has no social or religious boundaries. It has turkey, trees, and cleverly decorated tables. It doesn’t have even the slightest hint of religious symbolism; unless you count a stray angel or two.
I started to ponder Christmas tonight, my conclusion made me laugh. My chuckle stemmed from the fact that I’ve been so busy making perfect Christmas parties, I failed to notice how little Christmas is left in Christmas. Naturally I scoff at retailers who assault shoppers with Jingle Bells before the half price Halloween candy has left the shelves. Gone are the days of no Christmas until Thanksgiving was finished. Fair enough, Valentines Day is now marketed right after New Year.
This ended with a ponder on what Atheists do at Christmas. Feeling rather sheepish for missing this boat – the answer being – the same as everyone else. A Nativity is rarer than hens teeth, replaced by snowmen, penguins, polar bears, mice, frogs, peacocks, moose; infinite possibilities for cute little baubles. Christmas decorations have become an office party. All are welcome, drinks are free, and Bing Crosby singing White Christmas could hardly offend anyone.