Phil: ‘Tis the season to be jolly apparently. For some it’s also the time of dread. Lurking towards the back-end of every year but advancing inexorably like the rubber shark aimed at a swimmer in Jaws, is the office Christmas party.
It will come as a surprise to many that not everyone looks forward to this event. Those most surprised will be the annoying busybodies who on the first day of December, delight in festooning offices with tinsel, cheap decorations and worst of all, mistletoe. They fail to understand that the people you work with aren’t your friends – you only spend time with them because someone is paying you. If the money stopped and you couldn’t escape then the walls, and much of the heavy-duty office equipment, would run red with blood.
In Kate vs The Dirtboffins, Kelvin is the man for whom the best Christmas present would be an extra shift covering for everyone else while they are out enjoying the forced bonhomie. Instead he finds himself stuck at some else’s office “do”. At least he has developed a survival technique that geeks everywhere will be proud of:
He wasn’t comfortable at parties. Unable to dance and hopeless at small talk, especially when he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, his normal plan was to stand in the corner with a smile plastered on his face, nodding up and down to the music and hoping that no one noticed he was there. That usually worked and but in the unlikely event that anyone came along he’d just put his phone to his ear, hold up one finger and mouth, “I’ll be with you in a minute”. They’d soon get bored and walk off.
Now you are probably thinking that I’m dead miserable – and you’d be right. Blessed with the agility of an oil tanker and a lack of co-ordination that would make even a government department blush, I can’t dance and even if I could, would never have the nerve to ask people I might want to dance with. You have to see these people again the next day when you are all sober after all. Dulling the pain with alcohol isn’t always possible either. Working out in the back of beyond once, I needed to drive home at the end of the day and so was on the Diet Coke. This wasn’t the case for everyone though, if your partner is collecting you then you can get completely s**tfaced and spend what seemed like 50 hours trying to persuade the bloke from the IT helpdesk that wearing his tie around his forehead would be fun.
But there is worse. My all time favourite Crimbo party horror tale happened when I worked for the Ministry of Cows. We organised a party in the office. Since we office staff were pretty poorly paid, everyone brought in some food and drink and a merry time was had (bus or walk home – Yippee). That was until the least popular member of the veterinary staff turned up with partner and kids in tow. Each had brought a Tupperware bowl.
An empty Tupperware bowl.
They proceeded to fill these up with food, snapped the lids shut, and left.
Seasons Greetings to you all.