I had originally not intended to go to the party, but there seemed to be pressure to go. When I had been asked by a senior manager something about my plans for the party, I had said that I was in fact not planning on going.
'See, that's the fucking problem,' she said, a more enthusiastic response than I'd anticipated. 'Why the fuck would anyone here give a shit about the work Christmas party if you're not even going? Do you think I fuckin' enjoy going? Of course I bloody don't! So I go and have one drink, and say hello to all the people I need to and they feel good that management go, and I can be okay to drive home. It's not that big of a fuckin' ask, is it? No wonder we have a problem with morale in this place!'
Later, my new manager sent an email to the training team encouraging us to attend, citing this as a rare time for the team to be available at once to catch up after hours. I didn't take much notice of the e-mail, thinking I wasn't going to attend anyway. Later, when I saw Andrew, I started to reconsider my position. When he asked and I told him that I wasn't planning on going to the party, he looked disappointed.
'I didn't realise it was like that,' he said. 'I kind of thought we would all be going...'
When his face dropped, and Kate and Natalie - our administrator and one of the new trainers - also said that they hoped I'd be going, my mind started to change. It seems I am susceptible to influence via guilt. So I booked a room for the night and headed to the party. En-route to change at the hotel, I used my usual string of alleyways and underground tunnels, and came upon a dumpster overflowing with CDs. I am usually not one to loot from hard-trash, but this was tempting, and I made a note to return in the morning for a closer look.
I arrived at the Christmas party to find a lot of people I didn't know, and a few people who I did. The organiser drank far too much and was on the verge of being refused re-admission, until I told security (untruthfully) that she was only going to the cloakroom to retrieve her bag. I left at some time significantly later than I intended and returned to my room via the Myer Windows (which this year told the story of Santa Claus and the Three Bears, in a manner quite similar to my 'Goldilocks' training activity) and felt that I had spent significantly too much for such a mediocre night out.
In the morning on my way to the station, the CDs had already been disposed of.