Weekend Assignment # 349: Party Hardy or Party Hardly?
This is the time of year for office parties, family reunions, New Year's Eve parties and holiday parties in general. Are you a party animal or a party avoider? Do you go to parties because you want to, or out of obligation, or not at all?
Extra Credit: How many parties are you likely to attend between now and New Year's Day?
Let's see - what was the last party I attended? It was a friend's birthday party in September 2009. That one was bearable, even fun, because several of the people attending were friends from the old Doctor Who club whom I hadn't seen in years. Also it was in a beautiful setting in the Tucson Mountains foothills, and well organized with a fun Disney theme. I venture to say it was the most enjoyable party for me since the Doctor Who club disintegrated a decade ago.
Most parties are not like that, I suspect. The last few parties I attended before that were a few food-at-work deals in the accounting department at Beaudry RV, at which I was acutely uncomfortable. I didn't really know any of those people, even after working with them for several months, and they certainly didn't know me. (They also totally failed to wish me a happy birthday, despite the existence of a "next birthday" whiteboard, from which I'd been erased, and a policy for keeping track of such things.)
The last party I attended before that was the Casino Night held by First Magnus in June, 2007, almost exactly two months before the company folded. I dressed up, with someone I sort-of-knew, played games that didn't interest me and took pictures. In retrospect I should have guessed from the chintziness of the prizes that the glory days were over for the company. I came home with a Barnes and Noble gift card for I think $25. But even that was better than the Christmas party in 2006, which I left early. (That's the party at which people are dancing in the photo at the top of this entry.) There was no seat at the table with people I knew, my attempt at nice clothing and makeup was a disaster, and I felt ill until the moment I got back to my car.
You see the pattern, of course. Except for my friend's surprise birthday party, all the parties I've attended in the past decade have been basically obligatory parties thrown by employers. And I pretty much hated them all. For me to enjoy a party, it pretty much has to have a small guest list, consisting largely of friends whose interests are similar to mine. It also helps is there is no alcohol or dancing. We had something like that in the 1990s. They were called UWoT meetings. I miss them.
Yeah, big party girl, me. I don't drink, I don't like socializing with strangers and near-strangers, and mostly I don't see the point of parties. The only exception is small get-togethers with people I know well, and can talk with on subjects of genuine mutual interest. The closest I get to that these days is at Coffee Hour or the occasional Pot Luck at my church - and no, I don't count those as parties. Total number of parties attended by Karen Blocher in 2010, year to date or prospectively, equals zero.
However, if five or six of the old Whovians crowd call me up tomorrow and invite me to New Year's Eve at some local restaurant, I won't say no!