Friday, December 19, 2014


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire and nobody likes the damned office holiday party. These days, we don't even call it a holiday party. Parties suggest music and fun and good cheer. We don't have that. We barely refer to the holiday party as a holiday feast.

The spread declines a little every year. Usually, the company provides some meat, a little bread and some drinks. We were encouraged to bring side dishes and desserts.

Some years, what everyone else brought was the best part and while we tended to sit at our desks, we clustered together socially.

Most of the people who liked to cook and liked to bring their cooking to things like an office luncheon either retired, quit or stopped giving a damn.

I would be in the latter category.

I used to bring an apple walnut cake I made from scratch. I used to bring a lot of apple walnut cakes, but this was back when I had free and easy access to black walnuts, back when the expense of a few Granny Smith apples and a little bit of flour seemed like a nice way to give back to the people I worked for and with.

One year, I gave out over a dozen at the job. I wrapped them in aluminum foil, stacked the loafs like bricks and carried them into the building inside of a heavy cardboard box.

I handed them out to people I liked and even to people I barely spoke to. 

I started cutting back last year. This year, I haven't baked a single cake yet and so I brought nothing to the meal. Nobody else brought much either. The receptionist did some baking. Someone baked a pie and maybe someone else bought a couple of boxes of cookies.

It was a tiny contribution from the ranks. 

We made our plates and I went back to my desk. Everyone else seemed to be doing the same thing. We ate while staring at Facebook or while finishing up the dregs of one more story.

When I first joined the paper, I felt so lonesome there. I didn't know anyone, didn't think anyone took me seriously and felt so out of place.

It felt the same way again.

I finished my plate, then gathered my things and went home unhappy and unsatisfied. The company ham and turkey sank to the bottom of my stomach like a discarded hubcap.

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