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A Christmas Party Conundrum

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on December 23, 2012 in Other

Photo: Alex Sumpter

Christmas party season is here again and while plenty of people look forward to these annual get-togethers I can honestly say I cannot wait for them to be over.

The worst variety is undoubtedly the work Christmas party, particularly when you’re the boss, as is generally the case in my world.

Not only do you have to pay for the whole bloody thing, you’re forced to face all those employees who you’ve been paying far less than what they’re worth for the best part of how ever many years, and don’t they just know it!

Thankfully I don’t have to organise these Christmas parties. All I have to do is attend. My secretary looks after the organisational side of things, but that comes with its own inherent risks. You see, the only thing worse than a conventional Christmas party is one that you cant easily escape from, which is what I tend to do about five minutes after all the formalities have been finished with.

I learned this the hard way recently when I rocked up to Catalina in Rose Bay for the annual Christmas shindig. Little did I realise that this venue had been chosen not for it’s fine food, exemplary service and stunning outlook, but rather because of its proximity to the Rose Bay ferry wharf. After enjoying a couple of beers, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen, the high-pitched sound of fork meeting champagne glass brought silence to the room and a shiver to my spine as the words I feared most were bellowed to the crowd: “Surprise, we’re going out on a boat! How great is that?”

Great? Was she being rhetorical or sarcastic? Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than being stuck in the middle of our sprawling harbour with a bunch of work ‘mates’ (a term used very loosely) and employees who’ll soon enough be slurring their words, spilling their drinks and sprawling themselves over one another as a year’s worth of office sexual tension comes to the boil.

So onto the converted harbour ferry I hopped, all the while thinking of ways I could disembark prior to what I assumed would be a four-hour food and beverage package, an assumption that it turns out was rather premature.

Mere moments after we had boarded the vessel and left the ferry terminal we were, to my surprise, coming to a rather abrupt halt, mooring up to another pier and getting ready to alight. It seemed we had arrived at our final destination – Shark Island. In my opinion it might as well have been Alcatraz!

As the ferry disappeared it seemed my chance of escaping early was now nigh on impossible. I’m quite a decent swimmer but I assume they call it Shark Island for a reason and I wasn’t willing to be the guy to provide the proof.

And so I persevered, going through the usual pre-Christmas punishment for a good three hours or four before the first of the return ferries came to free me from my island penitentiary. Rarely have I been happier to set foot on terra firma.

Call me a pooper but I just can’t get into Christmas parties. While I don’t attest to have read much Dickens, that Ebenezer Scrooge certainly had a point – Bah! Humbug!