The International Writers Magazine:Dreamscapes Lifestories
Dread of Office Christmas Parties
I sit quietly on my own in the corner,
Im pretty sure that no one has even noticed my arrival.
But why would they? The last thing I want to do is draw attention
to myself. Im not really a crowd dazzling kind of girl.
In fact Im probably the exact opposite, Im definitely
not one of those people who likes being the centre of attention.
God, I really cant
stand these office Christmas parties. Theyre always the same,
its like theres just one big long party on repeat. At least
the décor isnt looking as grim as usual. Last year someone
thought it would be a good idea to cover everything in silver tinsel;
it felt like you were living inside a mirrored disco ball. The tree
isnt as good though.
Perhaps these parties wouldnt seem as bad if it didnt feel
like you had to attend, but you have to go, even if your dead you have
to go. Theres no escape not unless you want to be totally ostracised.
Why does that sound so painful? Ostracised, sounds more like a disease
or some form of surgery. Maybe it is painful, but to actually feel hurt
by it you just have to have cared in the first place.
Maybe I should try and care, I know how to have fun. Ive done
it before. I could get up have a quick spin round the dance floor, talk
to the girls from marketing, dazzle the boys with my astounding wit,
then instigate a shot-drinking competition, win and proceed on with
the bad karaoke, shag the boss, photocopy my arse and then hopefully
as Im stumbling home lamenting my clichéd existence Ill
choke on my own vomit. No, perhaps not.
There must be some other way to entertain myself. Granted the amusement
quota would undoubtedly increase ten fold if I were to at least try
and make the effort. Maybe even dress up a little, wear some lipstick
or something. My dress is quite nice though, not slutty but not dull,
Oh no Ive just realised Im the only person wearing all black,
I hardly ever wear black, my hair is black. Wearing it makes me look
like one of those angsty teen goths who looks like theyd rather
chew off their own arm than wear anything tainted by a more subtle hue.
Oh well maybe it will add to my cool mystique. Whos the raven-haired
goddess in the corner people will ask? Ha, ha. Funny. Its not
that Im boring; Im just not that gregarious. Most social
gatherings have never really had the ability to whip my mind into a
fun-filled frenzy. Ive always preferred to sit quietly and observe
Social occasions, such as this one for example, really arent my
forte my favoured move is to position myself in a corner. Not just any
corner it has to be close enough to feign interest in whats going
on but far enough away to avoid conservation. Its not about hiding,
you have to be visible but forgettable, in the crowd but on your own,
an untouchable. It usually helps to look a bit upset or pissed off the
last thing party-goers usually want to do is waste time cheering you
up. Then I just sit and wait, for what I dont know.
Usually George, from human resources will slither his way over, either
because all the girls have boyfriends this year or they just arent
drunk enough to find him attractive yet. Then hell just stand
there, swaying in front of me, smelling like a bottle of Hugo Boss has
just thrown up on him. And then hell try to woo me by recounting
his myriad of assets but what he clearly fails to understand is that
I earn over twice what he does so no matter how big his pool is mine
is probably bigger, and Im not even over compensating for the
size of something else.
You can learn a lot from just watching people, its really very
interesting; its all about taking in whats not being said.
George for example, hes a nice enough guy but hes striving
to be someone else and that desperation is dripping all over him. Watch
the way he wears too much wet look gel in his hair, the fact he wears
shoes with a slight heel to make himself appear taller, his fake gold
Rolex, the Alfa Romeo key-ring he has for his keys when everyone knows
he drives a Toyota. Youre not fooling anyone George. Its
sad really but just look around you everyone is just playing their part
in the great pretence.
Even Marge, our lumbering receptionist who everyone likes, shes
adorable even I like her, shes always so happy, but shes
too happy no-one can seriously be that happy all the fucking time. And
you know what shes not. Its perfectly clear to me that she
hates being here, maybe even more than I do. Shes got three kids,
one in Norfolk, two in prison, shes fat and relatively unattractive
and it is widely known that her husband is shagging someone else. She
doesnt want to be here, she doesnt need to go to a party
shes got bigger things to worry about than who didnt put
their Secret Santa gift in the office Christmas sack this year. It was
me by the way.
But she flits around air kissing, making chit chat and talking about
mundane things, like John from down the road and his new Volvo, its
blue, second hand only done 50 thousand. She doesnt care, shes
just smiling along loudly to soften the sadness.
But then maybe she really is happy, maybe Im the one with the
problem maybe Im the big pretender. Perhaps I should be more willing
to accept people for who they want to be, but Im not sure if I
can. I act on my instincts, more like an animal, because thats
what we are after all just animals. Though I expect most dogs have more
people skills than I do. But at least I dont sniff peoples
arses; Im just a bit of a bitch.
© Xara Higgs December 2005
Xara is a Creative Writing Masters student at the University of Portsmouth
from peoples lives in Dreamscapes
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