Driving I-95 N. ‘Tis the Season.

~6:00 pm on the dashboard clock.  Sigh. 14 hours. And It ain’t over. ‘Tis the Season. For office holiday parties.

It’s a short drive to the event, from Work, from the office, to a suburban restaurant. The car edges forward, held back by rush hour traffic, the stop and go, and a sea of red tail lights lighting up the darkness.

How does one makes sense of it? The 360° turn. The jackknife. The Man who leaves the at-home comfort, the warm cocoon of his desk at work, to this. From Krishnamurti’s You are the Everything. To…You are something far less than that.

Irreconcilable differences.

The small room is crowded.  An introvert’s haunted house. Small talk, tight spaces, no obvious way out.

Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car…You got a fast car – I got a plan to get us out of here.

The small talk. The dread. The ever-present doom that suffocates the mind, that blackens all things.

“Hello Sir. Can I get you a drink?”

“Thank you. I’ll have a V.O. Manhattan.”

“V.O. Sir?”

“Sorry, anything Canadian will do. Canadian Whiskey.”  I note my repeat of Canadian, the mind dehydrated from the discomfort, the body desperately seeking its circadian rhythm, seeking Home.

She smiles and steps away.

I swirl the low ball. The alcohol laps the ice, the ice taps the glass. Teetotaler needs to nurse this, with his one drink limit. It’s smooth, edging down the esophagus to the stomach, and spreading all over. You are the Everything.

The heaviness lifts, ever so slowly. Lightly childly, lightly. The volume of the background music rises, the voices seem to quiet.

I say hello to a colleague, asking about plans for the holidays, an open ended question that demands a long answer. I lean against the wall, listening. And not.  A plastic Christmas tree stands in the corner. Multicolor lights circle the moulding.

I’m half a Manhattan down. I lift the plastic spear and bite down on the sweet, black cherry.  If the genetic screws were tightened one notch, no chance you could stop at one.

It’s a sit down dinner. Introductions. Pleasant conversation.  A fun “Name Your Favorite Song” party game. Key Lime pie for dessert. And a closing toast to celebrate a very good year.

Coffee is being served. I make a quiet exit to the car and out the door, racing down I-95 in light traffic.

How was dinner?

The drive home…was…Delicious.

Notes: Photo Credit. Writing Series: Commuting


  1. Funny! I am semi-retired with a Taxi business! One vehicle, and I am the driver. My wife records the income! Maybe her and I should go out and do a company Christmas dinner!! 🙂
    All my customers are Amish. Actually last year, on Amish gentleman with a business took me out with his family, and parents for a special Christmas dinner. He needed a driver to get there anyway! He did give me a 1099, since he had actually paid me $1500 last year, so one of my best customers! TMI? Take care, and keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. you had me a ‘introvert’s nightmare.’ i was already thinking about when i could be home and in my pajamas.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t miss those parties one bit..and how I would welcome the drive home

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The introvert’s haunted house…I understand the need for an escape plan. I heard that in the current climate, many office holiday parties were cancelled this season. Not sure that attendance should ever have been mandatory. Ho ho ho.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. come on Dave.. at least no dancing.. Happy Holidays to you and family!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I miss the office parties. I´m an extrovert living an introvert´s dream. I don´t, however, miss the traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhhh, the compulsory celebrations! I love a good party as much as the next gal, as long as it’s on my terms. Those exercises in exultation were always tough for me, too…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to love office parties. They were gr8! Fancy frocks, ultra-cool suits, heavenly food, great music, dances….. Now I don’t (which is quite helpful as I’m no longer employed, retired and thus the subject has somewhat lost its appeal anyway)! I’m still occasionally participating in larger parties and usually am very much part of it but I also long to get back to my home, enjoy the peace and choice of my own music, discussions, food, or silence between ourselves. Solitude instead of loneliness. You can be so lonely amongst hundreds of people!

    An old post of mine on the “solitude vs loneliness” can be found at the following link.
    With this: Happy Weekend, sweet solitude, joyful outgoing, just being or being active – whatever suits you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh David; what have I done? I only wanted to post the LINK to this photo, because it’s not the photo that’s important but the message (a sad message really….). Can you help me to get this right? Thank you
    If you can’t…. you’ll have to click on the picture to get to the page on Flickr. Sorry about this!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I need one, now! Yes, a drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was the first year in 40 or so that I didn’t have a Christmas Party to attend and the thought never entered my mind until I read this. I do however, feel bad for the mistletoe people. I don’t think it was a good year for them. BTW. . . what was your favorite song, announced to the gathered attendees?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Did everyone on earth have a bad year this year? Looks like I’m not alone. I never liked those parties either, being a total introvert myself as well. But now I go out and photograph music events, which kind of forces me to put myself out into the open. It’s sort of a way to be an introvert and an extrovert all at the same time. You’re very visible to everyone who is there, but you don’t need to talk to anyone because you’re working. Glad you made it through that one David. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. nutsfortreasure says:

    I feel the same way about 95 xo
    My very best to you David and for the New Year as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well now… extrovert as I am, I am in for parties – depending on the company I worked for at the time. However, now that I WORK as a waitress at said parties, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. Having to navigate between tables and people NOT sitting down at service has taken the fun out of it. And yet, I’m still the one dancing around as I pick up sh*t 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Did you deploy the button for the heated seat, during the drive home? For me that makes a drive cozy…during colder weather and in the summer too after the gym, of course the a/c blows on the face.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The most fun I ever had at a Christmas Party, at least recently, was when I got cornered by some nerdish looking guy at a party I knew absolutely no one.
    He said he had a degree in chemistry, and had retired a millionaire the first time after selling his business in Magnetic Imaging. Then he went to Law School and had spent the last several years suing the asses off of corrupted Doctors. Then he retired again, because its too “hard to sue a Doctor” anymore, but he is working now on a Metabolic Elixir, sure to be a success and save people from the heartbreak of needless bariatric surgery.
    Then he started in with the questions….I thought I was on a speed date.
    “Kids?” He asked.
    “Two” I said.
    “19 and 20”
    “Girl and Boy”
    ‘Working or school?”
    “Boy works, Girl in school”
    “Marine Biology”
    “What job?”
    ‘Are you asking me what my son does for a living?”
    “Oh, he deals Pot.”
    His jaw drops and theres something stuck in his throat.
    ‘Really?” he gasps.
    “Yes, he does quite well. Takes after me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go flirt with that little blonde buffet attendent””

    Liked by 3 people

  17. you get some weirdoes here…. (in the best possible sense, I’m quick to assure you!)
    Just finished some hours of intense work for a Christmas party tomorrow – just saying…. food is an important part, isn’t it? And the music…. now I’m really tired AND I need a drink too. And NO it’s not early, it’s 9.15pm here so that should be alright!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lots of comments on this one. Lots of introverts out there. Maybe we ARE birds of a feather after all. More the lone eagle type rather than one starling in a flock.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is why I love working for myself. No boring Christmas work parties! Glad you survived Mr K 🎄💃🏼🍾

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh crikey David. You make an office party sound like a form of torture. . You have my sympathy but I also want to say Bah Humbug. That’s because I’m an Extrovert, as you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh the joy of being self-employed, a sole trader, no Christmas Party! An introvert’s relief …

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I really enjoy your writing….and the responses!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The one Manhattan policy is definitely good. I remember receiving a few love declarations in holiday parties over the years…from frequent visitors to the drink table. I’m an ENFP, but dreaded those obligatory parties. Now I can have a company holiday party just by myself. Better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Back in the day (pre political correctness) my office parties were so much fun. We had games and dancing. Don’t know if I have the inclination or stamina … or if these even happen now!!


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