I believe the Puddinette was a tad irritated with me this evening. I was supposed to be home kind of early today. It was the last day at the office for pretty much everyone until after Christmas, and that usually means an early departure. And there was an early departure. It just didn’t turn into an early arrival.
Before I get to making excuses for why that was the case, I feel compelled to point out that the last workday before Christmas is without question one of my favorite days of the year. It’s right up there with Halloween, Puddin Day (my birthday, which is obviously celebrated by the entirety of the modern world save for Canada – because they’re just a joyless pain sometimes), St. Patrick’s Day, and Tax Day.
Well, maybe not quite as great as Tax Day, but, you know, still.
Anyway, the last working day before taking a few off to celebrate Christmas with one’s family is, to me, simply great. Typically we spend the morning completing the last few bits of urgent work that need to get done, and pack away our tasks just in time for lunch. Kind of like that scene in A Christmas Carol at old Fezziwig’s, when Scrooge is a young apprentice and is yet to find his Bah Humbug. Our whole department gathers in the conference room for a kick-ass meal together, followed by the ritual exchanging of gifts. This year we had some truly marvelous (and independently owned) pizza brought in and we did the kind of gift exchange game where you steal items from one another. I got a candle that smells like Buttercream, which the Puddinette will enjoy immensely. The present I gave away, a set of gift cards with a “Me Time” theme, were much sought after and ended up stolen a number of times.
After gifts, we spent some time playing with my boss’ Kinect, which he’d brought in especially for the event. The thing is exceptional for group parties and we all laughed like crazy people. And when we’d had enough of jumping around and flailing about like someone was on fire, we packed up our laptops in the mid-afternoon and slipped out.
Of course, it wasn’t time to go home quite yet. When we leave work for Christmas, we make a point to gather again for a quick beverage together; the annual pre-holiday Cup of Cheer. And yes, that means I participate in no less than 3 separate events for with my co-workers for the holidays: the annual dinner outing, the pre-Christmas lunch, and the Toasting of Good Cheer. Is that excessive? Perhaps a bit too much? Honestly, I think rather not.
The fact is that I’m extremely lucky, because I have some of the best co-workers on Earth. We live in the same trenches, fight the same fights, and chew the same proverbial dirt all year. They mean the world to me; they’re like family, every one.
Of course, just like family, we often bicker and fight. We call each other names and roll our eyes when someone’s being a pain. I’m certainly no exception there; I’ve been called both a prima donna and a pain in the, well, you know, on more than a few occasions – and I’ve deserved it every time. But when the rubber hits the roads, I know that they all have my back. If I was locked up in a Turkish prison and needed someone to drop a bribe for my release, there isn’t one of them I wouldn’t call.
Well, I mean, sure, I’d call the Puddinette first, but I have a suspicion she’d let me sit for awhile to, um, really think about whatever it is I might have done.
I didn’t really plan on ending up in a Turkish prison anytime soon, but you get the point. I’ve worked for a lot of different types of places by this stage of my life, with a lot of different kinds of people. In most of those places, the Christmas party was the kind of thing where you nibbled on catered chicken tenders and a string quartet played among a field of poinsettias while you tried to make small talk with people with whom you had no real bond outside of a weekly status report and the frequent conference call. You didn’t really know their kids’ names, what they really enjoyed doing with their free time, what their hopes might be for the future, or even if they really like cheese.
For the record, one of my coworkers doesn’t. Like cheese, that is. Except on pizza. Because she’s crazy. But then, we all are.
So it was a short day at work today, but it wasn’t really that short a day. I didn’t get home early like I’d hoped, but I’m alright with that, and really, the Puddinette was too. It was a great day of being together with my other family, without doing anything work-related for once.
Besides, the Puddinette’s got me all to herself until next Wednesday. But between now and then, it’s several wonderful days of Christmas with my real family.
So when I think about today and the next few coming up, I have to admit that it would be really kind of hard not to be merry.
Sometimes, I have to admit that I’m pretty damned lucky.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, etc, etc.
And may God bless us, every one.