For the last 100 years I’ve avoided the staff holiday party at the library. I usually take the day off but I ran out of vacation time taking the week of Thanksgiving off. Damn it. There’s no booze at the holiday party and many of us would need tequila shots just to get through the very confusing game of BINGO and the bizarre gift exchange where if you really like what someone else opened you can trade the piece of shit you won for the piece of shit you want.
I stayed at my desk and ate 20 chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, this is not an exaggeration. I lost count when the cookies reached the double digits. I may have even gone into a cookie binge blackout. There was going to be a group photo taken for a co-worker who was out having surgery. I thought it would just be my department doing the photo. I forgot (or repressed) about the entire staff of the library gathering together for a photo. The co-worker who takes the photo each year draws it out in a tortuous event, waving her hands at us to stand closer, step to the left, no, your left. Take the fucking picture, Anne Leibovitz. I didn’t say this out loud because the library’s big boss, the director, was standing five feet away from me. Or maybe she heard me mutter “Jesus fucking Christ.” If she did hear me she didn’t call me on it. Maybe she was thinking the same thing.
Bethany, my-life-is-so-much-more-important-and-complicated-than-yours, turned to me and snapped “Just smile for the camera.”
You know what Bethany? Go drink everything under the kitchen sink.
Gathered on the stage steps of the library’s auditorium, ugly Christmas sweaters, reindeer antler headbands, five pounds of holiday cookies in my belly, I’m reminded of the holiday season, the wonder in a child’s face, the sense of togetherness and unity. And then I think
“Fuck this shit” and head back to my desk to eat another dozen cookies.