The Company of Friends
Text & Photos by: Shannon Kelley Gould
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a love/hate relationship with the company holiday parties we are obliged to attend each year. As is the case with any party, the company party holds the potential for fun and, in equal measure, the potential for disaster. But the stakes are higher. What might be a minor faux pas among friends could be cause for termination if done in the boss’s presence. If you hit the sauce a little too hard and wind up praying to the porcelain god at a friend’s house, your rep as the evening’s drunken idiot is nothing a can of Comet and an apology can’t fix; at the work party, who knows who might walk in, or how long you’ll be labeled the company souse.
Posted on a pal’s refrigerator, a xeroxed copy of your rump might be appreciated the morning after, while the same naked bum might land you in an uncomfortable conversation with your HR enforcer, were it to appear on the mailroom bulletin board. The random hookup is a minor item for the post-mortem gossip agenda when it goes down in the company of friends; at work, as is the case with all such minor indiscretions, these delicious tidbits have a much longer shelf life. So, while all the potential for career destruction easily explains the hate part of the equation, where does the love come from? The answer, I believe, is really quite simple. Try as we might to deny it, everyone loves drama.
So, what happened at ours? The return of The Indy’s annual holiday bash to El Paseo was met with excitement, and rumors of quality sustenance spread like wildfire; ergo, everyone showed, right on time. (If you’ve ever wondered how best to get on a reporter’s good side, the answer is free food. And if that food includes a make-your-own-nachos station, you’re golden.) My normally undershaved, overcaffeinated, underdressed, overstressed coworkers shuffled in, disguised as proper civilians — and rather attractive, civilized civilians, at that. Some came in sequins, some came in velvet, one came wearing a belt buckle bearing the image of Jesus Christ.
Artists, politicos, News-Press expats, the mayor, The Palm, everyone was there. All were greeted by the fabulously bedecked door-ladies, given their drink tickets, and sent on their merry way. The early swell of staff and friends-o-The-Indy clogged the entrance to the bar, yet, curiously, didn’t seem to put a damper on anyone’s buzz, least of all those privy to the secret champagne stash housed upstairs, thanks to a certain someone who shall remain nameless, as I’d prefer to remain in her good graces. DJ Matt Armor spun for a spell, eventually giving way to the band, which sent many (at yours truly’s insistence) onto the dance floor, inevitable knee pain notwithstanding (when a girl wants to dance, a girl wants to dance). Some got down, some got off, some got busy, some got peeped.
There were unexpected kisses, inappropriate comments, and a bizarre finger-sucking incident. The chocolate fountain was a total loss. But you’ll get no names from me. These people are my friends. And besides, I’ll have to face them all at the office tomorrow.