So, I’m feeling a lot more Christmassy now. This is about right less than two weeks before the big one. I’m counting the days. It’s going to be a traditional family Christmas, maybe the last one for a while where we can all get together on the day.
It all started with an office Christmas bash.
My entrance was not without incident. I drove effortlessly into a parking space outside the venue and got out of the car to find I had parked on a large sheet of ice.
I tried to negotiate standing up with decorum but the dancing shoes slid, the figure-hugging velvet dress had no room for ungainly leg manoeuvres and I nearly went over, shrieking as I grabbed the neighbouring car’s wing mirror for support (fortunately it was a BMW). So when I recovered composure, the smokers hanging around by the hotel doorway were still smirking as I passed.
“Nearly copped it there, love.”
“Yes I did nearly but at least my lungs aren’t congested with thick brown tar.” I didn’t actually say it out loud, just gave them a very realistic asthmatic cough.
The evening continued predictably. The cold roast turkey on the plate, the single pale, undercooked slightly bent chipolata reclining unexcitingly beside a small boulder of dry stuffing; the pudding the size and consistency of a heavily fruited door-stop and the small mincepie, unyielding as body armour.
There was much raucous laughter, excited talk of a first catheterisation (I was sitting next to a trainee doctor), numerous glasses of fizz, a forest of empty bottles on the table, people sparkling who don’t usually, people who do usually getting a little morose and serious.
The disco music was, as is the custom, terrible. A boy who could have been Annie Lennox’s son (same hair and about 16) played stuff that was either new and unfathomable or old and done to death. But hey, you have to get up to Wham’s Last Christmas, don’t you? And once up, it’s difficult to get down. Actually, really difficult if the knees are creaking. Mine weren’t but I still think The Twist is best left to people who were a twinkle in the milkman’s eye when the Beatles were in their hey-day.
Also, when the blood is rushing to the head and rhythm is indeed a dancer, it doesn’t seem worth leaving the floor until you are on your knees with dehydration.
The dancing wasn’t without its hazards. An older Scottish colleague skipped towards me in a quasi-menacing way with her fillings flashing, linked arms and twirled me around gaily. She was wearing a sequined dress. I was wearing a sequined shrug over my dress. We became inextricably enmeshed.
What started as festive fun became the seventh circle of hell as we whirling together in the middle of the floor, unable to separate. We tried three times. Every time it seemed ill advised – that one of other’s clothes would either unravel or be torn and damaged beyond repair.
In the end, we just had to stop, shuffle carefully in tandem to the side of the dance floor and pick ourselves apart before returning for a bit of “All I want for Christmas is yooooo,” which thankfully was so loud that no-one could hear me singing.
“See those two blokes over there” hissed a colleague indicating two middle-aged sweaty blokes in black bow ties who were letting every hair down that they had – and that wasn’t saying much.
“Less dance with them. Come on, less go over…it’ll be a laugh.” Her head bobbed hopefully like the Churchill bulldog.
The thought of the inevitable drunken grope from a complete and to be honest completely unattractive stranger was, even in my pleasantly squiffy state, without any merit whatsoever. The suggestion, I thought, revealed my colleague as frankly, a bit desperate.
I thought of DT man tucked up in bed in his jammies, snortling and drooling into his lonely pillow at home, drained by a punishing schedule of Angry Birds and chess. Even given the snortling and drooling, I looked forward to the prospect of disturbing his sweet slumbers in a meaningful way later.
The instant revulsion and snap-decision to resist temptation, albeit a woefully inadequate one, proved once again that my innate control freakery kicks in and over-rides alcohol. Perhaps the effects of alcohol are at least partly psychological. There again, maybe I just don’t drink enough. But bitter experience has taught me that, no matter how stimulating the company, I have two stages of drunkenness: a) pleasantly squiffy b) asleep.
Anyway my adventurous colleague was disappointed and I could tell from the look in her puffy, blood-shot eyes that she thought I was a party-pooper. But I try hard not to give a stuff about anyone else’s opinions anyway unless they are a total hero of mine, in which case I might listen, a bit.
As parties go, it was a bit ordinary. No-one fell over. No-one threw up. No-one got groped. No-one had sex in the boss’s chair (I didn’t attend that actual party involving about 20 people but about 200 people (not including the boss) heard the hilarious and gruesome detail afterwards); no-one’s dress fell off, which is a shame because as long as it’s not your dress it’s quite distracting entertainment; no-one slapped anyone; there was no-one to compare cycling muscles with.
The night was memorable only for the good company and the crap food. Oh and the lights on the dance floor. They were really special. How can I describe them? Ok, it was like the dancers were beautiful dark shadows bathed in showers of sparkling crystals touched by rainbows…
Those lights were truly spiffy. They came from some sort of magic black box. Such a shame my boss stopped me when I tried to take it home.