It's that time of year and I suppose this weekend more than most is likely to be THE weekend of madness in shopping centres up and down the land. We've selected Cabot Circus in Bristol, as our retail outlet of choice this year, generally because it provides such an enjoyable experience. It's easy to get to, usually with plentiful parking and is mostly undercover from the elements while leaving you with the feeling of being outside thanks to hit huge open spaces and interesting glass roof structures. There's also two stores in particular that make it a worthwhile trip.
The downside however, will no doubt be the fact that the world and his wife will be out doing the same thing. Not only that, but they'll have brought the kids, grandparents and family pets along with them too. I can't wait... to get back home, and we haven't even left yet.
Last night was a far more enjoyable experience. Mrs G had her Christmas dinner with work to attend. It was held in a quite posh hotel 'up the hill' in one of the villages. A pleasant spot. Son has his 'Xmas Works Outing' coming soon and of course Daughter hosts hundreds of them at the pub she works in when she's not specialing.
My Xmas Works Outing is a much wilder affair. I work from home and while to many this may seem a sad and lonely existence, I've enjoyed it very much for the past 15 years or so (on and off). I had a bout of living in London and the US for a few years, but I recovered eventually. What this all means though, is that I don't really get a 'Christmas do'. It would be nice to catch up with colleagues both old and new and quaff a few pints to wash down a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and in days gone by that would most definitely have been the case, but the past 5 years have seen a change in attitudes towards such goings on.
In fact all forms of frivolity in the work place seem to be frowned upon. You can't enjoy work anymore. The Health & Safety brigade along with the Political Correctors seem to have sucked all the fun out of working life and the bean counters have topped it off by going all 'Scrooge' on the employee entertainment and morale front. If your lucky, you might get a cold turkey sandwich in the canteen during December and they'll probably still be hanging around in January too.
I'm not suggesting we should go back to the 70's, 80s & 90s when it was quite normal for colleagues to be sleeping the effects of the office party off, at the office or to caught up to no good in the stationary cupboard. But at least people had fun. Now everyones too scared to appear to let their guard down in front of their boss for fear of future repercussions. It's very very sad.
Being on my own in the office means I don't have any of those trappings to hinder me. I also can't get caught up to no good in the stationary cupboard, which I suppose is just as well. I can get completely slozzled without fear of looking stupid in front of the boss and I can sleep it off at my desk should I so choose (it's in what would have been bedroom number 4 if I hadn't used it as an office anyway). To this end, last night was my Christmas do although the company neglected to pay for it which is a great shame.
The only other human that's around when I'm in the office is daughter so she and I went to a pleasant little pub up the road for a slap up nosh fest. The place was packed with people having their Christmas do's all doing their best not to look like idiots in front of their bosses and all eating the same unappetising Christmas dinner. Each had a paper hat and bad cracker jokes.
I on the other hand, had a reasonable steak and ale pie (daughter had a reasonable steak) and the pleasure of her company. Far more enjoyable than any of the uncomfortable looking herberts pretending to be having fun. If only Starfleet had been footing the bill, it would have been a Christmas do to remember. Instead it was an enjoyable evening with Daughter.
I haven't lost all hope. I actually love Christmas. Not so much the shopping and presents for presents sake side of it. Not the over commercialisation of it. But next year with a new role it's entirely possible there could be a sociable set of people who aren't over the top with the PC crowd, but I wont count my chickens just yet....
And now I must imitate the action of the Tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint Nicholas' - Merry bleeding Christmas.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous