Yesterday I went to my office's Holiday Party. I guess it was our Christmas party, just two weeks late. I wasn't too sure that I wanted to go. I'm not big on parties or other social gatherings. I can usually find a "reason" to not go or to slip away early. Perhaps I'm a bit people-phobic. Perhaps I'm a bit of a social claustrophobe. And I know I always drink too much in these settings. Probably because of what I just wrote about myself. Alcohol does seem to make other people (and me) more interesting and easier to put up with for more than 15 minutes.
But that's not what I was writing about. Yesterday was the Office Party. And I was iffy on the whole thing. Do I go, because I'm new to the office and it would look good to the established rank-and-file? Do I not go and make it known right out of the gate that I'm neither goer nor joiner? Do I show late (so the gig is in full swing and my arrival goes mostly unnoticed, thereby sidestepping the possibility of forced small talk) and leave early (before most of the others thereby sidestepping forced small talk with the hardcores)? What to do?
After a not inconsiderably amount of mental discussion with the voices in my head, I chose to attend as if I was myself. I was late, but not because I intended to be. Mapquest took that decision out of my hands.
The party took place at a bowling alley. We had about 10 lanes reserved for us. The pizza was free as was the beer. The one person in the office who matches my mental oddities was there and watching the the strikes and gutters. When I showed, he looked at me and asked, "grab a lane?". Of course. He entered the names and became "Dude". I was "Donnie". We quickly found that we could order pitchers of real beer from the waitress and it was on the company tab. We quickly found that bowling politically had its downs (we're both liberal and I was hooking to the left, but he was opening to the right) which could not be rectified by listening to either Lewis Black or Rush Limbaugh. We, also, found that we bowled better with the gutter railings up. When the environmental engineer and her husband showed up, they wanted to play with the Rail Bro's. We monickered them "Walter" and "Quintana". By the middle of the party it seemed everyone else had given up on looking competent and had raised their railings, too. Tip to the uninitiated: don't actually aim at the railings thinking that they might be useful ala billiards (you may end up knocking down your neighbor's pins).
So, four pitchers of beer, four games and lots of jokes (and a $25 Target giftcard via raffle) later, it was time to go. I had stayed longer than planned and had more fun than expected. Who knew the whole shebang would be just bowling? I had become so used to being stuck at a dinner table with folks I had no interest in and being forced to listen to how great the company was and was doing and being given a "present" that had nothing to do with who I am (one ticket to a Roger Rodka's Dinner Theater musical without the dinner...oh well, at least I wouldn't have to pony up for my date...right, Rosie?) and being told that I would have to provide for my own alcohol and wearing a nametag (in case the lab manager from another office I'd pissed off three months earlier was looking for me) that I assumed no office could know how to have a good time and let the office stay at the office.
But I was talking about how it was time to go. Walking to the car and by no means not in control of myself I found that my remote unlocker wasn't working. Dead battery? I unlocked the car with key and sat down to wait for the "kill switch" to disable. 15 minutes later, I headed over to the drugstore to buy a new battery. That didn't work. In fact, the remote still didn't work. I was parked right next to a Midas center, so I went over to see if they could do an emergency diagnostic. They agreed to loo at it to make sure it wasn't a blown fuse or dead battery, but if it was the wiring the car would have to stay until Monday. As soon as the manager called out to a guy to look at it, the guy yelled back "you mean the one that had its lights left on?". Now, my car dings at me when I'm leaving the car and the lights have not been turned off. Smart car, don't you think? Looking out for itself. The best technology our generation has to serve up. Won't let you mess up. Looks after you. Allows you to think about other, more important things. But I got out, locked the car up and walked off regardless. Why didn't the car yell something at me like Bill Cosby's doorbell? Can a car fall into a snit so quickly?
Anyway, I was talking about leaving. So, Midas jumped the battery and that's all it was. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if the car's snitting had not turned into wanting to teach me a lesson and provide an involuntary sobriety check. I feel I was in control from the get-go, but who knows? The car may have known better. It could truly be a Smart Car. Of course, if that's the case, why did it let me drive to the trading card shop and buy $160 worth of baseball cards?
P.S. Did I mention how out of shape I am? My hips are damn sore from bowling. Long ago I learned proper form, but not how to be talented. And today I'm hurting from swiveling them hips. Who'd athunk that bowlers might be athletes?