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A tale of two parties...

On Wednesday I headed to Ashtead (a mere one stop by train) for the Writers' Circle Xmas Meal. I've been going for the past few years, despite no longer attending the adult education class. I've discovered that seeing the people involved once a year is enough for me. The students are perfectly nice, but the atmosphere of the class was just stagnant. Everyone was welcome to join the clique, but new students seldom lingered. I wasn't learning anything new - or meeting anyone new. You need fresh blood, otherwise the class becomes the same tired voices, saying the same tired things.

When looking for something I else, I stumbled upon an email to bethnoir from 2010 in which I asked: At my Writers' Circle meal there was much discussion about my vegetarianism. Is this really something worth commenting on? Still? Sadly, it continues to be an issue. Or rather, one student was disparaging about my melanzane parmigiana. I have always rather thought that if one did believe that a fellow dinner's meal looked 'disgusting' one should keep such an opinion to oneself. It's not that I care one iota for this person's opinion, it just seemed a curiously rude thing to say.

We were having perfectly decent chats when our meal was interrupted by the pub quiz. I hate pub quizzes. They ruin a perfectly good conversation. Also, I never know any of the answers. I made my excuses and left around 10.30pm, reasurred that I had made the right decision about the class. The story I tell about pub quizzes is: I went to a pub quiz directly after the royal wedding, the event around which the quiz was based. If there are two subjects on which I am ignorant it is weddings and royalty. The only time I shone was during the 'beat the intro' round when I correctly identified Busted's Crashed The Wedding, but it wasn't a moment of which I could be truly proud.

On Thursday it was my work Xmas meal. I found it difficult. I find large groups of people overwhelming. I'm not sure why. I'm hoping that by writing about it I might understand myself more. Proceedings kicked off with the staff choir performing. One of the choristers had asked me to film the performance. I was happy to do this. Not only am I getting more interested in filming, it also gave me something to do. I really hate Xmas songs - with the exception of The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping. Also, I was aware of much of the trauma the choir had been going through. They were diminished in numbers from the previous year. As more people quit, the self consciousness of those who remained increased. I thought they did a perfectly decent job, considering they were amateurs who practised in their lunch times.

As the canapes were served, I just wanted to flee. I'd been editing video footage in the morning, something I've not done much before, and been really enjoying myself as I learned a new skill. It's a sad day when I admit I would rather have been at my computer, working, than socialising with colleagues. I knew that if I did flee, I wouldn't be able to choose who I sat with for the meal. I did get to sit next to people I liked, but because there were four of us we ended up sitting on table with people we didn't know. The tables were so huge we couldn't have spoken to the other people if we'd wanted to. Sometimes in large social gathering I 'go quiet' and I cannot think of a single thing to say. I suppose saying too little is better than saying too much. At least people think you are enigmatic and mysterious. 

It was a formal four course meal, which took forever. I'd actually eaten some lunch at my normal time, because I would have been grumpy if I hadn't eaten until 3pm. It was like being at a wedding. And there was a quiz! Well, it turned out only to be a Before They Were Famous collection of photos we were supposed to identify. I don't know why I find large social groups so intimidating. It's made worse at work because I'm trying to pretend I'm a 'normal person'. And once again there were disparaging comments about my choice of diet. One colleague took a look at my risotto and said: 'I'm glad I'm not a vegetarian...' To which, I could not formulate a reply. I thought everyone had got over people not eating meet by now. 

There was a raffle - and I won a £25 John Lewis/Waitrose voucher, which was unexpected. I made my excuses and left the party early. I had the kids coming over, who I hadn't seen for ages, so I couldn't have stayed even if I'd wanted to. Judging from the pictures on Facebook there was drinking and cavorting, but I'm afraid for the most part the people I work with are not the people with which I wish to drink and cavort. I'm aware all of this marks me out as a 'no fun' person. I don't want to be this way. I want to be fun. And to eat my food without people making judgements. Is that really too much to ask? The problem is, there's nothing more desperate and doomed to failure than someone trying to be 'more fun'.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
People are so rude! And it's always things you think of the perfect response to afterwards.
I think we should just say to people (like the one you said your melanzane parmigiana -- I drool as I type it -- looked "disgusting"): "That's rather a rude thing to say, isn't it?" Actually, that would have worked equally well with both inappropriate comments. The second could have also had the optional retort, "I'm glad I am!"

You're fun with people whose company you seek out. Fuck all the others and what they think.

Dec. 16th, 2012 10:25 am (UTC)
I like your "That's rather a rude thing to say, isn't it?" approach, though somehow I'm concerned it would suddenly be *me* who was being rude! I wonder if previous crusading vegetarians have put flesh-eaters on the defensive, despite the fact that I would never dream of telling someone else what ethical decisions they should make. Or that their food disgusted me.

Yes, these are people who I only want to see once a year, or who I work with, so I won't worry about them too much.

Thanks. :-)
Dec. 15th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
I agree that is very rude to make such comments! Perhaps I'm lucky with my work people who have relatives and things who are veggies and wouldn't comment like that. You are a fun person, don't feel you have to be different, you're lovely as you are.
Dec. 16th, 2012 10:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. It was just a surprise that it happened once, never mind twice, I thought people had got over the fact that some people don't eat meat. In some circles in which I move vegetarianism is mainstream. I'm certainly a light weight compared to vegans.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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