I cancelled the happy hour for this afternoon.
Normally a group of people from my job get together on Wednesday afternoons and sit in a bar for 3-4 hours. Mainly because if I don’t leave work by 2:30 there is no point in leaving until after 6.
We sit around and talk about work, and the world, and home. We drink, and truths are spoken. Workplace inappropriate things are said. Usually a good time is had by all.
I have considered the possibility of recording these events as some sort of internet version of Cheers. I am certain people would subscribe to see the train wreck that is my co-workers and I sitting around getting tipsy. It’s quite the group we’ve put together. I have given each of these people nicknames, some of which have been adopted by the group, some of which are peculiar to me.
There’s the fiercely independent middle aged woman, who laments the fact that there’s someone for everyone but her. I have to admit, she rolls with the punches very well. She’s funny. But she draws lines in odd places. Like the lines between the things she will talk about and the things she won’t. I call her “Short-round”, because she reminds me of the kid from Indiana Jones, with the wooden blocks tied to her feet so she can drive the car.
There’s the sexually liberated woman. Completely comfortable with herself, yet desperately seeking the attention (thus reassurance) of the men in the room. She’ll talk about anything. And if you ask her in a crowded bar whether she has any tattoos, she’ll tug down the front of her pants to show them to you. She’s trying to hold on to a life as it passes by, and I can’t say I blame her. I call her “Third base”, because she plays softball….. (ahem)
There’s the older gentleman. Full of facts, figures, quotes and trivia. I once looked across the table and asked him to take 90 seconds to pontificate on the generally accepted 7 mistakes Hitler made. Just out of the blue, with no preamble. One of the other people at the table said, “I think he made more than 7”, and right on cue the older gentleman said, “Well, what’s interesting about that is….” I cracked up. I am not sure why he attends. The women are too racy, I am too blunt and loud, and he shares little in common with most of us. But he is there, week after week. Perhaps out of loneliness. He has never been married, so I call him “No Ho Yet”.
Then there is “Dances With Hippies”. A woman in her 50’s, with tales to tell of a misspent youth. Oddly, the most reflective of the bunch. She plays the straight man to my joker, and though she sets me up perfectly for punchlines, there is a quality about her I cannot fully describe at this moment. She is definitely more of a “heal the planet, man” (Cheech and Chong voice) type person than I am, but there’s something there that I connect to. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
There is the team lead/former team lead/leader of a new team with no one on it. I call him “Vanilla” because there is nothing non-generic about the guy. The girls call him “SB” (sexy butt). He attends, I think, in order to avoid going home for a bit. My wife laughs because I cannot say her name without smiling (I tell her that it’s because she’s goofy). This guy sighs when you ask him about his wife. I don’t think this deal is going to last too long, but time will tell.
“Jabber”, is a mousy brunette that talks a mile a minute, agrees with almost anything you say, and declines to make eye contact with most of the people at the table over the course of the evening. To be honest, I have not yet uncovered her motivations either. Other than, perhaps, simply a desire to be seen and heard. She rides home with me most evenings, since we live in the same area. When songs she likes come on the radio she bounces in the seat like a little kid that just got a puppy.
There are some others that show up from time to time, but these are the regulars. I, of course, am the loud, completely politically incorrect person who simply says what I think whenever I think it. Which makes me the clown at the table, and the life of the party. If you see the people at my table shaking their heads while laughing and staring at the floor, it is likely that I just said something that only I would say.
Though I have to admit, I am not the only one. I asked Jabber about her kids one evening at the bar and she replied, “I’ve got two kids.” Then after a pause she kinda shook her head and said, “I shoulda just took it in the butt”. Watching the old man’s entire bald head turn red was priceless.
I suspect though, were we to try to record it, people would play to the camera and it would not flow naturally, which is in the end what makes it funny. Perhaps some day I will give it a shot.
But this evening I am in more of a moody, contemplative state. Which is not a good time for me to be consuming alcohol. Instead of fun and provocative I become confrontational and combative. So, in the interests of good working relationships, and a group willing to continue to show up, I have cancelled this evening’s festivities.
The fact that half the group is on vacation this week was also a factor.