Mid December usually kicks off the Christmas party silly season out here. Given that as far back as October, our coffee room conversations had started to take on a decidedly Christmas-sy bent, it was no surprise that the first event of the season came early this year – a team lunch at the Soul bar on Union Street in November no less. Thanks to the atrocious weather I ended up marooned offshore, restricted to taking to Facebook to moan about missing the free food and a half day off work.
I get my chance to make up for that miss one chilly December evening. The team gathers for drinks at The Monkey House, an event I arrive for a full six minutes late. Between navigating the crowd of early evening revellers in various stages of alcohol induced headiness and striving to zone out the not inconsiderable din, I catch the eye of the Boss who waves me over to the tables where they are already seated. There are a few faces I do not recognize, and after a few introductions and handshakes, he clamps his hand on my arm and drags me to the bar to order a drink. It just so happens that my preferred pub drink – a (supposedly) alcohol free bottle of Becks Blue is not available and I have to go one up to a bottle of regular Becks. I grab the bottle and settle in between my Irish work buddy Si and one of the blokes I do not already know. Between sips of our brews, we make small talk – what we do for fun in town, christmas travel plans and the like. When it is my turn, I mention books – I stress these are of the non-academic variety, football manager on my laptop and a couple of evenings at the Opera House as highlights of my evenings from 2011. It so happens that the man I don’t know is an avid Opera go-er himself – his poshy, self assured manner might have hinted at a more cultured interior if I had taken the time to notice I guess – and he recommends The Battle Proms as something I should definitely add to my 2012 plans.
We wrap up the evening with a meal at the Nazma – one that I have some history with. I have some really chili-hot lamb tikka, a side of rice and a sauce chock full of mushrooms. I am wont to chalk my light-headedness at the end to hallucinogens in the mushrooms, not the mere three bottles of Becks I have downed.
Given the way 2011 started – slouched on a couch in front of the TV watching the ball drop in Times Square – I could be forgiven for expecting that 2011 would be a breeze. The reality of 2011 has been markedly different – breaking up with EJ, getting the two year itch and almost leaving my job twice [having said that, I suspect I’ll still leave in 2012], and a significant amount of disruption to my world view made 2011 interesting, if difficult in bits.
All in all, its been a decent, steady year which ultimately flattered to deceive. The cliff notes version? Shitty in bits but otherwise quotidian. Looking back, I got a few big decisions right when they really mattered and got to celebrate a number of family milestones.
All in all, life happened, but then Life ‘happens’ after all, doesn’t it?