Sunday, 5 March 2017

Out of the muck

A year ago, after an annual corpo get-together (the most splendid and expensive such party in a year is always scheduled for the end of first week of March) I aimed to debunk myths surrounding such events. Today, having returned safe and sound from another one, I seriously consider taking back some of my words and crossing out some paragraphs from the post I published then.

Oddly enough, organisational-wise, the event was far superior to last year’s one. Arrangers cut down on gadget expenses, hired fewer celebrities and signed on a better DJ. The grand setting, though important, does not make an event memorable, cause whether the event is enjoyable or turns into a nightmare depends on people who attend it.

I cannot claim I am the most righteous person to teach people how to conduct themselves, yet I realise tolerance of specific behaviours depends on circumstances, situations, family obligations of people involved etc. The common denominator of my observations and legends on such events is that those most inclined to misbehave are seemingly exemplary spouses and parents who break off a leash for one night. And central role goes to alcohol which in excessive amount brings out the worst instincts in humans.

All names in the stories below have been changed.

Some incidents happen on such events, especially when held in hotels, away from home, but why this time did they happen in abundance?

The hotel where the event was held was quite spacious, so before I got to my room, I had to walk past a long corridor and while carrying my luggage I counted three rooms from which loud mixed giggling (but not huffing) was audible.

After a workshop and a lunch my companions and I strolled outside to breath in some fresh air. We passed several participants lugging clinging bags from a nearby shop… By the evening some people were barely able to stand on two legs…

After a dinner a guy who sat with me at one table approached me and said he remembered me from times I worked at The Employer. Frankly speaking I could not recall neither his name (Darek) nor face, yet having common former colleagues was a good starting point for a conversation. Soon Darek confided his son had been born on New Year’s Day and after two months he finally enjoyed his first night out after the birth and wanted it to be crazy. I offered to drink one brim of vodka with him (I was holding back knowing I would be driving home the next day) and then easily arranged him some companions also willing to go on binge. Soon Darek was on his knees…

Before Darek’s only way of moving around was crawling, I headed to my room to dress down to jeans and polo T-shirt for the informal part of the bash. Back at the table I found my friend Ania (married, two children) being accosted by a guy with whom she had worked at her previous workplace and who had also joined The New Factory. Without a trace of embarrassment he confessed it was a great pity he was married and had children; a pity, yet not an obstacle for something between them to happen. He carried on like this for a minute or so, so seeing dread on Ania’s face I asked her to go to the dancefloor with me.

After a few songs Ania began to dance with our co-worker (not the obtrusive guy) while I swung sideways to join girls from a sales team. Within a few minutes Jola with who I danced spotted another girl, Beata (married, one child) was being groped by a guy we had never seen before. While DJ was mixing one song into another, I swiftly cut in and took Beata away from the dancefloor. Beata was about to puke, but pulled through very quickly. As she thanked me for saving her, I spotted through an open door Ania and the unhappy husband were dancing far too close to each other than Ania would wish. Shortly after this Ania escaped the room and rushed to the bathroom, but the guy followed her and waited at the bathroom’s door.

I rang Ania to make sure my perception of events was in line with hers and promise her to draw away the guy so that should could exit the bathroom safely. Then I asked Beata to pretend she had twisted her ankle (an idiotic plan given the guy had been passing us by a minute earlier and Beata’s ankle had not been hurt) and together we asked the guy to help me see Beata off to her room. Predictably, the guy was resistant to move by an inch, but as two young chicks passing by who were witnessing the scene, rebuked him, he finally agreed. In the meantime Ania managed to disappear in her room for the rest of the night.

Back at the dancefloor I noticed another co-worker, Ewa (engaged), being touched far too intimately by an older guy. Judging by her face, she was not delighted with the course of events. I cut in, set her free and learnt actually her dance partner was disgusting, not what he was doing. My observations from the rest of the night confirmed Ewa was fond of near-erotic dances with newly met males.

While taking breaks from dancing, I hung around in a hall where snacks and beverages were served. This proved to be a great opportunity for some clearly inebriated individuals to speak out what they thought about me, my bosses and team-mates. I don’t hold any grudge against them, as I truly appreciate sincerity and straightforwardness.

As the night was no longer young, my mate Jacek (married, one child) and I began to flirt with married women, just for kicks (at least me). The outcome was reassuring, since at the end of each conversation we heard something like “the most wonderful man in the world is staying at our home, looking after our children”.

My doubts whether Jacek at best was overdoing in fooling about appeared before long. Jacek brought along Karolina, a girl (either single, or taken, but not yet engaged) who works at a back office department on the same floor as I do (we see each other several times a day). Karolina was surely under the influence and starred lusciously at me. Jacek who probably thought I was on the pull hurried to explain Karolina was horny to go to bed with me and though her beauty left a lot to be desired, chances that I seized any better opportunity that night were close to zero, so I should have gone for it. Faced with the first in my life explicit proposal made by a third-party, I politely asked whether they were both off their f***ing heads (czy was pop****oliło?) and decided to make off to my room. On my way I had to avoid a collision with a pissed like a fart senior manager staggering in his pants only and mumbling something about meatheads he had to work with. I thought scenes like this belong to lousy films and myths only…

Having said that I am proud of my own, this time exemplary (I count out flirting with married women which was an experiment) conduct during the whole event. Oddly enough, each next such party (and I attend between three and six in a year) sets lower standards of participants’ (mis)behaviour. After the recent one I realise why many people decide to quit such events around ten or nine p.m. before more interesting stories unfold.

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