The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
A tale of two parties
Dan and I are very much alike in many ways, except where it comes to our careers. Dan's very much a hands-on blue collar guy, and I sit in an office on a computer every day.

It's that time of year for office parties, and nowhere is this difference more acute, than in the proverbial office party.

Dan's company party

Just over 50 people converged, in a downpour, at the Italian restaurant in the "working class" side of town. About half the people attending dressed up a bit. The rest showed up in jeans and a polo shirt, which may have been dressed up for all I know. I asked Dan to wear something nice, so he did. We both looked festive in shades of red and green. "Very Christmassy," I thought. Turned out, we were the only ones dressed for the season.

People were shy about mingling, at first, until the alcohol was served. Beer and wine was on the company tab, and after about an hour and a half, the ice was broken and people were introducing themselves.

We were served a three course Italian dinner. The food was great. People started to laugh and have fun. There was live entertainment, and people got up to dance. One party reveler grabbed a couple of spoons and played along with the band, which consisted of one fellow with a guitar and a digitally recorded accompaniment.

By about 10 pm, after a few dances, lots of chatting and a very full stomach, we decided to leave before it got to be too much. The alcohol was still flowing, and we both had been to too many parties where people just didn't know when to say "when." People were getting louder. It's true that the decibel level of the voice goes up with ones level of intoxication. One guy was nearly comatose by the time we left, but he had arrived drunk and had nowhere to go but downhill. Other couples were also leaving, but we left with good memories. No incidents.

It had been a good night. The next day, Dan found out that a fight had broken out after we left, and one of the forklift driver's had gotten himself fired over it. Oh well...

Melanie's office party

A few people decided this year, that they wanted to have an intimate "just us marketing comms people do," and organised a fun "Amazing Race" themed party. We met and split into teams and were given clues about where to go (where we had to get the next clue.) No one except the organisers knew where the party was going to be held, but eventually, we all found ourselves on one of the Sydney ferries, headed out to Cockatoo Island.

When we got there, there were hors d'oeuvres spread on picnic tables and the barbecue area was decorated with tinsel and garlands. Someone had fired up the barbie and we nibbled on smoked salmon while the "cooks" prepared rosemary lamb and exotic sausages.

The CD player wouldn't work to save its life, but it didn't matter, as we all chatted for the next half an hour. Then, lunch was served. Lunch had been prepared by members of the party committee and it was every bit as delicious as the professionally-prepared dinner at the Italian restaurant.

We ate.... and ate.... and ate. And then several people decided to explore the island a bit, while the rest of us could hardly move. It was a hot day, but since we were in the middle of the harbour, a nice breeze was blowing. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting or better weather.

After 3 pm, we were officially off the work clock, and the champagne came out. We toasted the launching of a new website and some other achievments that we managed to squeeze in before the Christmas break. There was a "lucky dip" gift box, and I drew a lighted Christmas ornament.

This party was much more low key than the other one... but it was so pleasant and enjoyable, it was hard to leave at the end of the day. The only thing that would have made it better, would have been Dan's presence with me. I guess you can't have everything.

That's why I'm dragging him to the BIG company Do next week.
posted by Melanie O. at 4:32 PM -
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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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