My Saturday Night

We went to M.’s work Christmas party this past Saturday. Yes, it was very, very late and could have been more accurately called a New Year party with Christmas presents… Anyway, this was the first one I went to. M. went last year, but I either a) was sick or b) didn’t want to go. More than likely, it was c) sick and didn’t want to go. I’m not so much into meeting new people and I had not met any of the people he works with. This year M. laid the guilt trip on me and told me I had to go because he’d gone to Christmas parties at my work place. Ack! He’s right, but it’s not supposed to work that way, right? So, Saturday evening I found myself driving into the unknown.

The party began at a historical local restaurant that neither M. nor I had ever eaten at. I was a little interested in eating there since I had heard good things about the food and it is the oldest restaurant in the state, so had to try it sometime if for no other reason than to say we had ate there. But before we could arrive at the restaurant, we had to fill my car up with gas. It was a good plan since the turnoff from the highway to get to the restaurant was at an intersection with three truck stops. We typically go to a station on the right side of the highway because it is large and an easy off and on from the highway. However, that evening I would have had to have made a left turn out of the station to head to the restaurant and I didn’t want to try that with all the traffic – especially the semi traffic. So, I went to a station on the left side of the highway anticipating a straight passage through the intersection where there was a light to direct my way. The plan wasn’t an especially good one.

There are two stations on the left side of the highway: a large one and a small one. I had planned to go to the large one, but once I was headed in that direction, M. exclaimed, “What are you doing?!” I told him my plan to avoid the left turn out of the typically used station and that I was headed to the large station on the left. “It’s $.08 more than the others!” Oh, I had forgotten to look at the gas prices. So, I changed my plan and went to the small station on the left. And when I say small, I mean this station is significantly smaller than the other two. Only about 6 pumps. And all the pumps were full. And there were lines. We were early for the party, so I decided I would just pull up behind a van and wait for my turn at the pump. Naturally, Soccer Mom in front of me not only had to fill up her endless minivan tank, she also had to meticulously clean all her windows. It didn’t both me so much, we had time, but M. was already frustrated in my “avoid the left turn” plan and was more frustrated with the wait.

When Soccer Mom was finally done, I pulled up and M. pumped the gas. Getting out of the parking lot wasn’t too bad, but I mistakenly pulled into the lane to turn left onto the highway instead of going straight through. There went my whole “it’s going to be too hard to make a left, so I’ll go over to the other station” plan. I planed to just go left and find a place somewhere on the highway to turn around, but M., already frustrated with my station choice and the wait, made me put my signal on to get into the correct lane. And while I probably pissed the row of cars behind me waiting to go left, it was worth it because someone took pity on me and let me into the lane.

So we made it to the restaurant after the gas station adventure, but still on time. I met everyone and we were seated. M. and I were seated  across from the other tech guy M. works with and his wife. I had heard alot about Other Tech, but had not met him until this night. He was every bit as odd as M. said, however, him I could take. It was his wife that set my teeth on edge. She is totally one of those people who just likes to talk to hear their own voice. And she’s loud. For most of the evening I had no idea what she was talking about, so I just smiled and nodded and made sure I sipped at my drink  a lot so I didn’t have to say anything. Here’s a few highlights of conversation with her:

  • Tech Guy and Wife have twin 11 year olds and a 16 month old daughter. Wife talked about them quite a bit, which is okay. People like to talk about their kiddos. But the way she talked about them was weird. She told me about the twins, and then that they had a 16 month old. “People always ask me if she was an accident or if she was planned.” I had no idea what to day to this comment, but went with, “People just ask silly questions, and it doesn’t make any difference now.” She said, “It’s none of their business.” Which I agreed with, but if they were trapped in a conversation with her like I was, she brought it up. I never did find out if the 16 month old was planned or an accident.
  • The whole kid conversation led Tech Guy Wife to ask me if M. and I planned to have kids. I told her how I didn’t think so, that it just didn’t seem that would fit into our lives. Tech Guy Wife then went into a litany about how that was okay – not everyone has kids. She knows plenty of people who don’t have kids. Just what I needed, a life decision affirmation from someone I met 15 minutes ago.
  • Of course, because I am unemployed and the people M. works with know that fact, it came up that Tech Guy Wife wanted to know what my educational background is. I told her I had a master’s in social work. She made a face and some kind of weird noise that implied I had made the worst educational decision of my life. She told me that an MSW just didn’t do much in this area. I thought she was alluding to the fact that this particular area is saturated with MSW’s, but no. “You really need a PhD to do anything in that field,” she tells me. Oh really, Tech Guy Wife? I haven’t ever heard anyone wanting to hire a PhD in social work, but whatever. I will nod and smile and let you think whatever you want since you have a finance degree and not a social work degree.
  • Speaking of Tech Guy Wife’s finance degree, it has led her to so many opportunities and has come in so handy! Let me tell you, when car dealers see her whip her calculator out they shake in their boots!

Since M. and I had never ate at this place, Tech Guy Wife told us how wonderful it is – she has been there many, many times. So our table decides to do “family style” which means we individually order our meat choices and then all the sides come out to share. M. and I ordered the grilled chicken. Unfortunately, I have to say that those people who told me the food at this place was just so good must have dull taste buds or just don’t get decent food anywhere. My chicken was overcooked and very dry. The only seasoning they use is salt and pepper, which makes for a pretty darn dull hunk of chicken. The sides were pretty ordinary too, probably from a can. I could have made us a much better dinner in my own cozy kitchen. Oh well, we think, this is just an experience we can note down as having. That was until we got the bill. $30 for dry chicken and canned sides! M. and I could have eaten at our regular outing places three or four times for that. Okay, we take a deep breath and chalk it up to getting some cash back bonus points on the credit card. That is, until Tech Guy tells us that this place doesn’t accept credit cards. Well, la de da, someone could have told us that before we went on this outing since most of the western world now uses plastic. Luckily, M. jut happened to have his birthday cash in his wallet or we would have been stuck washing grimy dishes to pay for our dinner.

Everyone then heads out to go to a coworker’s house for games. M. and I proceed to be outraged throughout the entire drive about the bad conversation, the bad food, and the cash-only policy at the restaurant. If this is the plan for next year’s Christmas party, we will skip the eating out and meet up with everyone at the designated coworker’s house. At the house, I make it a point not to sit next to Tech Guy and Wife. The conversation with M.’s other coworkers went well and I enjoyed them all. Then we started the game. Some electronic version of Catch Phrase or something – guys against girls. Overall, it was a good time, but each time Tech Guy Wife successfully led the ladies to guess her phrase, she exclaimed a very loud and annoying, “DING, DING, DING!” I don’t know if anyone else was perturbed, but I had to grit my teeth every time she did that.

I started writing this post Monday morning and probably would have had more snark and more descriptions had I finished it then, but the event has somewhat faded from memory now. Maybe with some more time I can completely put Tech Guy Wife out of my mind. At least until next year. One can only hope…



  1. MSW student said,

    February 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Arrrgghhhh! What does she know about Social Work?! MSW is very marketable in my opinion. Sounds like she had to make judgments about all facets of your life. Lovely. I don’t like that restaurant that much either but everyone always goes ga ga over it. If it’s a company party, why did you guys have to pay?!

  2. phairhead said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Why do peeps w/ kids always try to press the non-kid issue w/ married folks? Points for you for not smacking her and her “DING DING DING”

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