Blog Week 54: Aftermath.
Sunday 3 December 22.11
It is difficult to know where to begin with Friday night's Christmas party. I had another party last night and am totally exhausted. I have spent today recovering - which shows my age. Sorry but I am going to have to blog it tomorrow.
Tuesday 5 December 23.03
Yesterday and today there were some furtive, sheepish looks around the office. Some were directed at me. No idea why.
The party was great fun, perhaps too much so.
Amongst the visiting foreign lawyers, the US partners didn't attend (they had flights to catch). But both sets of German lawyers stayed. The German lawyers based in Germany were quite formal. The German lawyers from the London office were not.
Prior to the merger both firm's London offices had a certain wild reputation, particularly at Christmas time. This lot certainly lived up to that reputation. Somehow they had made a detour between the office and the party venue because by the time they finally arrived they were in a "relaxed" mood. During the aperitifs Mockney ingratiated himself into their group conversation and was immediately laughing along with them. He introduced me to them after a while but the conversation was strange, full of English vocabulary and phrases I didn't recognise. I remember at one point they started shouting about pulling Christmas crackers. I must have looked puzzled because Mockney said - in a refined accent: "we are not referring to cylindrical yuletide novelties manufactured out of coloured paper and cardboard". They burst out laughing and I still had no idea what they were talking about.
One or two of them then started leering at Barbie. She, as always, was immediately flattered by the attention and then started looking around to see if Bill had seen anything. As he hadn't, she continued to flutter her eye lashes and act innocent.
Weirdo had arranged the seating plans and I, Mal and Hedgehog were on the table with the German lawyers from Germany. It was a quiet, polite meal. Conversation was light as we knew we did not have much in common.
Between the courses, Bill gave a speech. Which was then followed by a speech by Johan. Johan's speech was essentially a pastiche of Bill's. When I see them together I get the feeling they could be a great double-act, but something is not quite working. Instead they appear more in competition than in cooperation.
After the meal there was a surge towards the free bar and disco, and that's when things started to get interesting...
Thursday 7 December 23.34
So what happened next? The venue was quite posh and the Ladies toilets were empty when I arrived. In fact it was an oasis of peaceful, serene relief from the party heat and noise outside.
I had just closed the cubicle door behind me when suddenly the main door banged open. I heard an uncoordinated shuffling of feet and then the next cubicle door opened and slammed shut. Someone was fumbling for the lock and then the muffled voices of a man and a woman.
I stayed frozen trying neither to make a sound nor to hear anything. When the silence returned I then heard the man's voice and the woman whisper her agreement. The main door opened and he left. Nothing happened for the next minute. Or the minute after that. I realised she was not going to leave straightaway. So I pysched myself up, got ready and fled out of those toilets as quickly as possible.
The heat and noise of the party immediately hit me. But there was a delighful comfort in being back outside. However a curiousity came over me concerning who was still in the cubicle.
I saw a position from where I could see but not be seen and started to make my way across. Unfortunately Mockney spotted me as he came out of the Men's toilets and at that moment the music changed. He grabbed my hand and dragged me over to watch his new friends "perform" the Full Monty. Or the Full Mario as one of the partners kept saying (that joke was not even funny the first time round).
Mockney got sucked into the performance and so I escaped, heading back to the Ladies toilets. My curiousity was now even greater than before. But again as I entered the room was empty. I peered into that cubicle and saw the evidence of what had been going on. You'd think she would have made some effort to clear it up?
At that moment one of the drunk visiting lawyers lurched through the main door, saw me near the evidence, said "You saucy minx" and then passed out.
For the second time I fled the Ladies and again was welcomed by the party heat and noise.
Somehow the visiting lawyer then burst back through the main door and collided with me. As I got up from the floor everyone nearby was staring at me. And him. And then they started whispering.
My head was starting to spin. It was getting so stressful and by now I really did need to relieve myself. But I was going no where near those bloody toilets.
"It's Raining Men" came on and I saw Weirdo and Paranoid pulling Brilliant and Hedgehog onto the dance floor by their ties. I knew "I Will Survive" would be next and it was time to go home.
I had had enough. I got my coat and left. I was about the first to leave (which was a surprise). This party was going to run and run and I didn't want to be involved in the aftermath.
Thursday 7 December 00.43
After the meal the German lawyers (from Germany) departed and the London German lawyers were immediately ordering shots at the bar. En masse the rest of us hit the dance floor. The music was catchy, loud and bland - the best Christmas party tradition of something for everyone.
Mockney and the partner (who caught Mockney dancing to You Tube a few weeks ago) then started body-popping on the dancefloor. It actually looked ok. The partner was very good. Certainly better than Mockney, who looked more like a robot having a nervous breakdown.
After a song or two, Weirdo, Hedgehog, Brilliant and Paranoid Android got involved in the drinking games at the bar. I was surprised as I didn't think any of them liked to drink much. The shots continued to flow and I remember noticing how everyone seemed to be knocking them back. One of the visiting lawyers came up to me and said "What? You not drinking?" and thrust a glass of something potent into my hand.
The heat and noise started to get to me after a while and I had to sit down. I found somewhere at a distance, from where I could calmly watch everyone else drinking and dancing.
And then Goldilocks came and sat next to me. She looked a bit tearful. I assumed it was connected to her leaving at the end of the month.
She said out aloud: "I hope I am making the right decision." I didn't know what to say, so I tried to be positive: "Your new job will fine." She said: "No I don't mean that." So I said: "Oh, well I am sure the new city will be fine." She said: "No I don't mean that." Then I realised she was talking about her wedding. I didn't know what to say.
It was one of those conversations that sometimes arise at Christmas parties - with someone I hardly know discussing things I really don't want to talk about. I wanted to be supportive but had no idea what to so I just made an excuse (in this case going to the toilets). She nodded and continued to look miserable. I realised me being there was not going to make any difference.
But if I had known what was coming up next I would have stayed with Goldilocks for the next 30 minutes.