“Who is coming to the Christmas party?,” my boss asked in the last meeting.
[Honestly, can we just focus on one painful charade - I mean holiday - at a time? Thanksgiving isn't even over, for crissakes!]
“Do people still go to that insipid thing?” I respond without a beat.
Let’s flashback to the Christmas Atrocity of 2009 [and yes, I am scarred for life.]
The office Christmas party where we sat around a conference table singing Christmas carols – and I seriously wanted to stab
Everyone-who-was-dumb-enough-to-show-up was looking at the table in front of them like they were looking for an escape hatch.
And singing like hostages being held at gunpoint.
Except for some executive standing in the front of the room belting out each song like he was Ethel Merman in the Broadway musical, Gypsy.
Every time a song mercifully ended, Ethel would plead, “Oh, just one more…”
[One, what? Valium? Vicodin? How will my soul be relieved of this festive torment?]
And we would sing another dreadful Christmas carol.
This water torture went on longer than the 100 Years’ War.
I am still in therapy.
People at work think I am just anti-social.
But I feel I have good reason: a) I don’t like you, but more importantly, b) If you stop frakking traumatizing me every time I am in a room with you, I would consider BEING IN A ROOM WITH YOU!
See how that works?
To quote urban poet and lyrical maestro, Rob Base – “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it out ‘o sight.”
“You are the only one who doesn’t go,” my boss whips it right back at me. [Imagine that?]
Then, the room erupted in laughter for so long that my cats went to college and got their first crappy, low-paying job.
Um… okay. [Whatever. Is this meeting over? I have web surfing to do, and then, I have to take a two-hour lunch because I am looking for the perfect outdoor Christmas lights. Priorities, people. Priorities.]
I refuse to spend any time avoiding people at work, when there are people to avoid at home.
And I refuse to make up excuses to get out of things. Everyone should assume “no” means “I don’t want to – because I said so” – and get on with life.
Especially work-people who should also accept the fact that the only reason I talk to them is for money.
I can barely endure huddling outside during a work fire drill in “our designated meeting place,” let alone being social with my coworkers for any other reason.
Further, being a troll on every other day – but Thanksgiving and Christmas – shows a lack of commitment that I don’t respect. Like winter gloves with cut out fingertips. I just don’t get it.
And then, be that person.
So people [like me] can keep up with the multiple personalities.
I have decided that I am one of those single people that like the holidays – so I can be alone.
And deciding was easy.
Sleeping late. Not taking a shower. Watching a marathon of something stupid on TV. Four days off from work. All of these things are reasons to orgasm.
I used to appreciate the single-gal-sympathy invite to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s, but now I wish people would listen to my not-even-remotely-subtle words, “I don’t want to” or “I just want to stay home.”
But this is always met with a sense of urgency.
Ask more! Ask faster!
Like I am 2 seconds away from suicide or something.
Here are some brief reasons why I stopped going to people’s home for Thanksgiving.
Dammit, I don’t know these people!
For some reason, a friend thinks that because he/she is my friend, by extension, their entire family of twenty people squeezed into a room is also my friend.
It doesn’t work like that.
While you are flitting around like the happiest butterfly on earth, I am thinking about how many bones I will break if I jump out of a second story window.
Or how thin sheetrock really is, making tunneling out the bathroom completely doable.
Yes, you feel comfortable.
You have known these people for at least 4 decades. [No, I have no idea how old anyone is?]
However, I am sitting with your 90-year-old aunt who has even less patience than I do for this forced socialization. And after we get bored with, “Oh, did you see the baby?” We really don’t have shit to say to each other.
If I am lucky I come at the right time.
So I can leave at the right time [which is 30 minutes after I arrived.] Otherwise, it becomes something else…
The Bermuda Triangle of Stuff To Do.
Because the food is not ready.
The turkey just went in the oven.
And a gauntlet of side dishes need to be made. Though I can see how gauging enough time is overwhelming. It’s not like Thanksgiving comes EVERY YEAR!
Not to worry, all of the guests will pitch in doing shit they really don’t want to do.
What’s that you say? Chop the the potatoes?
That is what I love to do on my day off. Vacationing while on vacation is so overrated. Yup, that’s me chopping the taters.
The good thing is if I have the knife in hand, it will be easier to stab myself when I am done.
You really can’t imagine how grateful that will make me.
Set the table? Who me?
Of course, my table at home is covered with office supplies and a printer so I have lots of experience. How did you know?
Let me save you some trouble with the next request…
Do I mind sitting a the kid’s table?
Aw, shucks. Do I look that young? You are just so sweet [I want to align all of my fingers right next to each other, and then, take my entire hand and slap your generous ass through the wall.]
I will never have a Thanksgiving dinner at my home because like most hard-working people I deserve to vacation on my vacation.
And by that, I mean do nothing.
I went to the supermarket today wearing white socks and brown sandals [now, I know why grandpas do it, it's so comfortable] to get my Thanksgiving pizza.
I do love a good Thanksgiving pizza.
Question: How the hell do I get out of this place?
[Insert Mission Impossible soundtrack here.]
Escape from Thanksgiving Alcatraz.
When do these insufferable eat-fests end?
Dinner takes approximately 2 weeks.
Then, the after-dinner-confusion where everybody pretends they want to help clean up – takes one week.
Then, there is the obligatory conversation [because it is rude to just leave] with people you don’t know shit about takes another week.
Add to that, games or football or these whining, winging brats for which the whole world stops when they want something…. well, let me do my quick math….
Apparently, Thanksgiving dinner ends around New Year’s day – which is clearly fanfriggingtastic.
Let me tell you how grateful that makes me feel.
It is my fault really.
I have never learned the Art of the Exit Excuse. Some people are excellent at ending an occasion with “I have work tomorrow” or “I have to go check on my thingamabobmacallit.”
I have no idea how or what to say and I say it with no authority because I feel like I’m lying [which is totally neurotic. If any lie needed telling, this is where you push all of your poker chips to the middle of the table and go "all in."]
I just don’t know how.
So to the bitter, bitter end.
I ponder the meaning of life.
I watch gray hairs sprout from my nodding head.
My cats have gone to grad school, and now have their second low-paying job before this sucker is over.
I wonder if they will marry, unlike their mommy.
Buy their own home, even though they will inherit mine, of course.
Raise holy hell to make this world a better place.
Add to the peace instead of the pain in this world.
Live full lives.
On their own terms.
The way it should be.
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