My Social Life

Today was the annual company Christmas party. It is held over lunchtime and through the afternoon, while my children are in daycare. It is my social life. Each year, it is the ONLY social thing I do without my children.
It was fun.
The salmon was not done right. The chocolate cake had the wrong sort of texture on the outside of the slice, chips instead of shaved chocolate. I am sure they order it in, rather than make it, so it would do no good to school them. Also the introduction to the establishment was very poorly written on the website. This is my disclaimer, lest you think all was perfect.
I got presents. Less than last year, we had a great deal more expenses this year, so I knew it would be tight, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did get from the company.
I bowled poorly and did not win prizes for it, save one giftcard for pizza for my frequent gutter balls. Pizza that I LOVE.
This year I was prepared and I did my shopping beforehand and gave out gifts as is the company tradition (no one warned me last year!). I think it went well. I had made a conscious decision beforehand not to overthink my gifts, because gift shopping paralyzes me with anxiety.
I had a great time today. I work with some funny people and I got some good jokes, and one guy even told me a risque joke, which I never was subjected to in my former nun-like attire. So I am passing, well, for most people. The other women can tell I am a freakish anomaly who might not belong in this culture, but they only tell me that once in a while. Okay, so some of them tell me every day. But really, if it’s not one thing about me, it’s another. I am just odd, anyway.
When I find myself in social groups I sometimes get a weird sensation, I don’t even know the right word to describe it. I look around and everyone seems normal and I get flashbacks. I wonder if anyone in the room has had X happen to them or ever been in the position of having to Y. You know what I mean? I shouldn’t do this. Everyone has their burdens and secrets. I feel like my life experience makes me a freak, and it is not nearly as bad as others I know. I mean, the sweetest ladies in my building have lived lives that would make your hair curl and your nostrils leak smoke. We are all survivors of something. I don’t know why I would get intrusive thoughts like this in public. It’s a buzz killer. I am equal to anyone. I ought to believe that and not wonder which of the guys at work have thrown their wives into the wall by their hair. I have no reason to think like this. Most men are not like that, right? It is ridiculous that I am more comfortable in emergencies than in parties. Being under threat is more natural to me, I suppose.
I had to leave early, to pick up the children and get them food quickly, before the baby had her concert at daycare. She made it through the first ten minutes and then began to cry because she did not like the song selection. I don’t blame her. Some music is hard to take in large chunks. I know there are many genres of English/Western music that I don’t like. The baby is really happy, normally, so the teachers were perplexed by her distress. Pressure sucks for everyone. I get it.
It was nice to see other moms there, there are so many teachers and moms and kids that I like at daycare, it is one of my favorite places to be. I never drop off or pick up. I drop off and hang about for fifteen minutes. I pick up- and the kids are reluctant to go. This is why I put my kids in school in that town, despite living in another. Because I didn’t want to rip them away from nice people and force them to start over. They had enough trauma and loss in their little lives, and now they get to be normal. A ten minute drive, twice a day, for stability. Well worth it.
They all behaved perfectly, the boys took directions well and remained mostly respectful of the audience and performers by remaining quiet or leaving the room if they had to. I don’t care if my toddler cannot make it through a performance. I am raising independent children, not seals or robots.
So that is all. Until next year, when I am sure these two events will take place on the same day, again, as it did last year and this. I am profoundly grateful to my company, a family owned business, for allowing me to work there when I have to take time off for sick children. I am also grateful for the bonuses they give me. I have been really privileged in my places of employment in my life, and that is why I stay so long in my jobs. Despite my poverty I would rather work for an ethical business that gives back to the community (and being in the office, I have witnessed enough charitable work and donations to know it is rare, indeed, for any company to do what is done by mine) and works with me regarding childcare issues than to make a bucket of money with all the accompanying stress. Good people are priceless. Luckily there are tons of good people here. I am staying, and I want to go to the next Christmas party. I value my social life.

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4 thoughts on “My Social Life

  1. “When I find myself in social groups I sometimes get a weird sensation, I don’t even know the right word to describe it. I look around and everyone seems normal and I get flashbacks. I wonder if anyone in the room has had X happen to them or ever been in the position of having to Y. You know what I mean?”
    Yes, I definitely do. I also tend to get into terribly heavy and inappropriate conversations during group social events — was at a friend’s Christmas party last night, and ended up spending much of the evening huddled in the corner with another woman as we compared, umm, “heavy and inappropriate” stories.
    Sheesh. Can’t take me anywhere…

    • This only happens in normal situations with normal people. If I am in a room with a bunch of angry psychotic types, I don’t have this issue. Normal people are just so weird to me, I always feel as if they are hiding something, or about to commit some sort of violence when I turn my back.
      I do much better in intimate gatherings, or one on one, and have the same tendency to corner up with people in gatherings.

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