The night I was the life and soul of the office party

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
I'd done the work; organised it all myself. Now I was going to have a ball. Carmen Fielding on the morning after.

It's Thursday morning, and I have just been rudely awakened by the alarm. I feel as if my brain has shrunk to the size of a dried pea and is rattling around inside a tin.

"Never again," I think to myself. But how many times have I said that? And still I never learn. Slowly the events that took place the evening before come back to haunt me - I pull the quilt over my head and squirm at the thought of what I did.

"Oh God, how could I have behaved so badly? I will never be able to show my face again - they will all be talking about me - I could even get the sack!"

I reason with myself. "No, don't be ridiculous, these sort of things happen all the time, especially at the Christmas office party. I'm sure the boss is used to having his jacket and tie removed and tossed aside, and then his shirt unbuttoned." Not satisfied with removing items of his clothing, I proceeded to throw myself all over him, and every time he tried to escape I would appear and guide him back to the dance floor. Why would he want to escape, anyway? After all, wasn't he having the best time ever? I was.

If only I had stopped there - but no, not me. A couple of vodkas and I turn from being that placid, easy-going, quiet secretary into a wild party animal. Well, why not, after all? I deserved that party more than anyone - I organised it. All year, I had to put up with "Carmen do this", "Carmen do that", "Oh it's OK, Carmen will do it". Unnoticed I had gone by everyone, including the boss. I don't think he even knew my name. Well, he knows it now - I think the entire office must know who I am by now.

The evening moved on, and so did I, to my next victim, and then the next, and so on until there wasn't anyone left whom I hadn't forced on to the dance floor. Somebody had to be the life and soul - why not me? Oh but why did it have to be me? I know why; because, for once, I wanted everyone to take notice of me - yes, little, dull, ordinary Carmen. Well, I'm not so dull and I'm certainly not ordinary.

Not content with the dance floor, I decided to get on stage and do my favourite party trick of removing bra, (without removing dress). I rotated it round my head before hurling it across the room, at the same time falling off the stage and ending up in a heap on the floor. I groan and wince at the memory, and bring myself out from under the quilt to inspect my arm - yes, it really did happen, and I have the biggest bruise to prove it.

Oh hell, I don't want to go to work - I just want to curl up and pretend it never happened. But it's no use; it did, and I shall have to face the people in the office, and if I get sacked, well that will be their loss - nobody else could have organised that party the way I did, especially when I was expected to find the venue and supply music, food and drink for 300 at the end of November, when most companies book theirs in the summer. But I did it, and all I get is complaints - "Couldn't it have been a Friday? Couldn't you have picked somewhere a little closer? etc. But where were those people when I needed help with the arrangements? Nowhere!

Eventually I manage to coax myself out of bed and take a look at myself in the mirror. Ugh, it's horrible, I look like something out of a horror movie. I had forgotten to remove my make-up and have a Post-it note stuck to my forehead which reads "DRINK PINT OF WATER BEFORE GOING TO BED!" Well, I obviously missed it, or my head wouldn't feel like a lead balloon now. Still, mustn't feel sorry for myself; as my mother would say, "you've only yourself to blame".

After several black coffees and a nice long bath, I feel ready to face the office. I walk in, head held high, ready for a confrontation, but nobody even looks up. I sit at my desk and wonder whether my actions last night were really as bad as I thought. I look around and everyone seems unusually engrossed in their work. Was that a snigger I just heard? I decide to ignore it.

The phone rings. It's the boss; he wants to see me in his office now. I knock and walk in. There, taped to his computer, is my bra.

"This is yours, I believe."

I reply, "Well, it looks vaguely familiar." He laughs ,and with a glint in his eye says, "Can't wait for next year's party."

Comments