...when I got a call from one of my neighbors. She was all dolled up to attend a fancy Christmas party, and asked if I would take some pictures of her and D., her boyfriend (who also has an apartment in the building). So I went to yet another neighbor's apartment, camera in hand, to capture images of the Happy Couple.
She was no problem, having an above-average AQ (Attractiveness Quotient). But her boyfriend, who is a reasonably good-looking dude, has a bad habit of getting blitzed -- almost every evening -- and it shows in photos. His face gets red, his smiles get, well, strange and his attention span shortens appreciably. It was not fun. And I hope she drove to the party.
I didn't have any better luck getting a picture of the cat who lives in the apartment. She wasn't drunk, but was just being a cat...
This got me thinking about the whole Christmas Party scene. This may be the first year when I will not be at any "holiday" festivities, and I have mixed feelings about that.
Such shindigs are generally couples-oriented events, and of course I am not half of a couple. It's not so much that others actively make the single person feel unwanted, but there are always awkward moments when you are the odd number.
I won't say I've never had fun at such parties. A few past corporate-type gatherings have been a blast, mainly because the people there were both friends and respected colleagues; the respect and friendliness were reciprocal.
On the other hand, the few instances of client-party attendance have been uniformly awful. The one that got me out of attending those was given by a well-known magazine which (apparently reluctantly) extended an invite to me, a freelance, and the woman I was then involved with. We sat, alone and ignored, munching tasteless hors d'oeuvres while the "family" members (staff) all separated into small, laughing bunches, roughly equivalent to the way the divided themselves up at the office. After a few fruitless tries at penetrating these hermetically sealed groups, we left. I was mortified.
Maybe 10 years ago, I set my all-time Christmas party record, attending something like nine gatherings in a two-week period. Six were in L.A., one was in Norway and the others were in New York City and Detroit. One was exceptionally nice (guess which!), and the others were bearable if not memorable.
Like all the rest, none of them turned into drunk-a-thons or hit-on-people events. Boisterous at times, yes, but nothing one would wish to forget the next day.
Why do I mention all this? I dunno; guess it's because the subject has been bugging me since the invitations started to not materialize this year.
And I really don't know how I feel about the whole thing. Sad, in a way, but also somewhat relieved not to have to deal with the unpleasant aspects.
What I really want is to be able to throw a Christmas party of my own, related to "business" only by the fact that a few people from that side of my life would be welcome, complete with tree, gifts, music, good food and much enjoyment.
I burned a disc of the photos of my neighbors this morning. When either of them wakes up, I'll drop it off.
6 hours ago