Maxed out 

Santa Claus is coming to party

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In fact, the best office Christmas party I ever went to turned out to be for an office I didn’t work in. It was being held at a large, downtown hotel in one of the conference/party rooms located in a labyrinth of catacombs somewhere in the bowels of the building. Wearing a Santa hat and beard — it didn’t seem like such a weird idea at the time, given I’d been pounding shots of tequila from the receptionist’s cleavage all afternoon — I stumbled into the Aztec Room where a gaggle of somber-faced people were making merry and firing automatic weapons.

Admittedly, it seemed a little less sedate than the usual barbiturate fest most bank parties normally were. But it was a party… just not the right one. The party I was looking for was in the Inca Room, as it turned out. That party hadn’t yet swung into high gear because the modern office manager — who’d posted the article from Modern Office Manager in the coffee room, taking care to underline in two colours of highlighter ass-avoidance suggestion #3: The sixties are over. No one thinks it’s cute to spike the punch with LSD. Don’t do it again. — was arguing with the division head about whether it was too early in the evening to start playing A Chipmunk Christmas on the wheezy cassette player he’d borrowed from his preteen daughter, a pink Barbie at the Beach number that was stolen by evening’s end. I only found out about that excitement when I finally went back to work after New Years.

I never did find out who was throwing the party I ended up crashing in the Aztec Room but the amazing point of the story — let’s be generous and call it a point — is that no one cared that I was there. No one even seemed to think I didn’t belong there. They just assumed they didn’t know me in much the same way I assumed I didn’t know them. I could have wondered why I didn’t see anyone all evening I knew but frankly, I didn’t like the people I worked with and didn’t really care.

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