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JWR 4.33 - Drunk Story
Everyoneís got a drunk story. Some have lots. Iíve racked up a few (lately, in more of them Iíve been the drunk), but still, I donít get black-out drunk often. There was that camping trip a few years ago where I donít remember large portions of the evening. I thought I got a little drunk at my companyís Christmas party this past December, but it turns out that I was more trashed that I thought.
Every year our company Christmas party has been held at one of the country clubs in town. The company president is a member although he hates golf. Every year itís pretty much the same thing: the same forty or so people eating filet mignon or Boursin-stuffed chicken (thereís always one or two smart asses who choose the orange roughy), and a cash bar with two drink tickets.
This not being my first Christmas party, or even my fifth, it has kind of become a chore. Yeah, the meal is free, but youíre supposed to sit in a room with a bunch of people, most of whom you see every weekday, and their spouses. They donít want to talk about Star Trek, so right there Iím at a loss for topics of conversation. (At a previous Christmas party I tried to explain the Tool song ďPrison SexĒ to the wife of one of my co-workers.) I go because otherwise I will get a guilt trip from my mom and because Iím not sure Iíd receive those Mobil gas cards if I didnít show. So I donít put up a fuss about going, but I wait to turn in my RSVP slip until the last minute and I wear a suit (now) because itís technically a formal affair (and because I have twoóone black and the other a subtle grey pinstripe).
This past year, everything was pretty much the same except the country club went bankrupt and our party was the last large event they were going to hold. Also, there are so many people I could sit with, but there are only so many seats at a table and often all these people donít play well together.
When I walked in I was handed an envelope containing a place card that had my name and choice of meal (chicken) on it and not two, but three drink tickets.
So, the bar didnít have Southern Comfort or Captain Morgan (seeing as how they were going out of business, it was not properly stocked), but they did have my third choice, Jack Daniels, so I ordered my first Jack and Coke of the night.
The cocktail hour, as you may have guessed, lasts for about an hour until dinner is served.
I had three Jack and Cokes. And I was trying to pace myself, but it seemed that not only was there a ton of ice in each drink, but they tasted like there was hardly any booze in it. I was getting a little pissed.
Yes, the drinks were free (up to this point), but I was tipping. You wait to stick the dollar in the jar until the guyís looking at you. (Thatís another way to tell itís upscale: thereís a dude bartender. No cleavage.)
I donít remember exactly when, but I was given a couple more drink tickets by someoneÖwas it my mom? Or my dad? I canít remember. Anyways, more free drinks.
I didnít just drink. I talked to a variety of people, but I tend to drift away when something boring comes up in conversation and since nobody wanted to talk Trek, I moved among people constantly.
I grabbed my fourth drink as dinner was about to be served and sat at a table with a variety of people. I ate salad and soup and then my chicken dinner came. I went up for another drink during the dinner and ran into my co-worker and buddy Jason.
He looked at me glass and was like, ďHey, why arenít you getting doubles?Ē
He had a pint glass with a mixed drink in his hand. I was like, ďWhat?Ē
Then he told me a double was still only one drink ticket. I got pissed. Not only was the bartender watering down my booze with too much Coke, but how come nobody told me about this loophole?
Well, I decided to just get another single, but it worked out because I cashed the barís Jack Daniels with this drink. Iíd have to consider what my next drink would be.
After dinner I went back up and got a double screwdriver. It was shortly before this that I realized the bartender wasnít screwing me on the drinks. In fact, he was making me the best Jack and Cokes I had had in a looooong time. I gave the dude a big tip and told him Merry Christmas.
I took the drink and then we did a gift exchange. Before the party everyone drew someone elseís name and they were supposed to get a $10 gift for that person. I canít remember who I had, but my friend Wendy had me and got me a six-pack of assorted beers and a couple books: Shatnerquake which I read and The Revenant Road which I have yet to read.
Anyways, I bring this up so I can mention that Jim from my table received a bottle of Crown Royal Black. He, of course, opened it and offered those of us at the table some.
I, of course, said okay and passed my coffee cup down to him. I donít drink coffee, so it was empty. But when it was passed back to me, it was half full of Crown Royal Black.
And it was pretty good.
And I realized I was pretty trashed.
And after I finished it, I was offered more.
And I said yes.
And I had another half coffee cup of the stuff.
And I finished that.
And I finished the double screwdriver.
I didn't drink any more after that, but I was going around to most of the tables saying hello and chit chatting. I was being super friendly, which is not the usual me.
At one point I saw Jason chatting up the receptionist (both were recently divorced). They sat on opposite sides of a table and were each leaning forward. It looked conspiratorial.
I sat at the bar for a little and talked to my coworker Patís wife. We got into some deep shit. She asked me why I was single. I told her. She didnít buy it. Whatever.
Later I saw Jim (Crown Royal Black guy) and his wife leaving and I wanted to say goodbye, so I went after them down a long hallway to the coat room. When I got there, she was the only one in the room. I immediately thought it was awkward and it took me a minute to realize Jim must have ducked into the bathroom off the hallway. So, I made what must have been very bizarre small talk while I waited for Jim to arrive. It couldnít have been long but it seemed like it was minutes before he arrived. I said goodnight to them.
Jason, Pat and I gathered at the bar and chatted for a while. The room emptied out pretty quickly so before too much longer, we decided to leave. They were talking about going to a bar for more drinks. Iíd had it, so I declined, but they kept insisting I come with them. I kept telling them no as we were leaving the building.
The room we had our party in was on the second floor. To leave, we walked down a long hallway to the coat room and then down a flight of stairs and then down another long hallway to the exit doors. Patís wife was very drunk, as wellóPat must have been the most sober of us all. But Patís wife and I were lagging behind. Jason and Pat had exited the building already and she was grabbing my arm to keep steady, but then she let go and ran back to the staircase and said she wanted a picture that was hanging on the wall. I didnít egg her on, but I also didnít say not to. So, she grabs this picture off the wall and tucks it under her arm and comes back to me and we walk outside together.
We started walking toward Jason and Pat who were chatting and she yells to Pat and shows him what she got. He was pissed and started telling her to take it back in. She was defiant. He complained that his boss was a member of the country club and that it would make reflect badly on him and the company and so on. She wasnít going to put it back. He told me to tell her to put it back and Iím pretty sure I said, ďSheís not my wife.Ē I felt pretty smart.
He storms up and takes his wife back inside so I went over to Jason and we started talking. There were still quite a few cars in the lot. Pat and his wife came back out and they were still on about going to a bar. I told them that, yes, Iíd go. Jason said heíd go, as well, and weíd meet them there. As soon as they got in the car I told Jason I was going home. He said he was, too.
We chatted for just a couple more minutes because it was pretty cold out and then we see the president and his wife walking toward us. We said goodnight to them and I looked around to see only about four cars in the lot, including the presidentís, Jasonís and mine. I quickly wondered when everyone else had left, but finally Jason and I said our goodnights and I drove homeÖcarefully.
Fortunately for me, my house was only about two miles away and the roads were clear and dry and there were very few cars out. I donít condone drunk driving, but I did it that night.
A couple weeks went by before I realized I didnít remember a few points of the evening. I talked to a few of my coworkers over the next few weeks and got some more detail filled in.
Linda told me that we talked briefly before dinner and she asked me something about my boss and I proceeded to call him stupid and so forth. He was there but, hopefully, not in the vicinity of me at the time. He hasnít said a word about it, but then again, I havenít received a raise in a whileÖ
This is strange because, according to her, it was so early in the evening that I could only have been three drinks or so in. Maybe she was confused by the time and it was actually after dinner.
Pat and I talked about the party three weeks or so afterwards. First we started making fun of the way Jason was hitting on Jenny and then Pat was laughing at how loud Jason and I were talking at the bar about it. This stopped me in my tracks. He told me he tried to quiet us down when Jason was saying he was going to ďhit that.Ē Apparently, I told him, ďI donít think thatís a good idea, man.Ē Pat recounted that the company president was standing not far from us and this is when he advised us to quiet down. I assured him, ďAaw, man, itís fine!Ē
Another piece of intel Pat informed me more about concerned the picture-stealing incident. After his wife Valerie and I came outside, she had the picture under her arm and he told her to take it back inside and she would not, he started toward her to take it from her and put it back inside himself. Well, when he got close to her, she dropped it (accidentally, I think). It was in a nice wood frame protected by glass. Shockingly, it didnít break or even get damaged.
When Pat and his wife were back inside putting the picture back up or whatever, Jason and I stood out in the parking lot chatting. After Pat and Valerie came back out and then we all agreed to meet up at a bar, they left and Jason and I continued talking for what I thought was only a couple minutes. Jason informed me it was more like fifteen minutes.
This would better explain how, suddenly, there were only four cars in the parking lot and why I was so chilly.
My friend Wendy who sat with me at dinner says she said goodbye to me three times in the parking lot, but I did not acknowledge her. I do not remember her being there at the end of the night at all.
Yeah...Oddly, it was one of the more memorable Christmas parties I've been to.
Copyright © 2011 John Lemut