Captain’s Log 6,145
I hate social events. Where I have to pretend to make nice and pretend that I really care about what a PhD in something or other has to say about how we all need to bond to make a better world. We don’t need a PhD to tell us that. When the master of ceremonies has to stop the proceedings and scold people into listening to the PhD, you know the event is not going well. Nobody gave a rat’s ass about the speaker. I have had more fun waiting for my ears to clear after a bad flight.
So……….I went to a big park event last night. 250 people were transported by trolley from a parking lot to the venue. That was kind of fun, but we waited 30 minutes to get on the damn thing. My board members were not particularly amused.
When we arrived at the venue, we had to walk down a gravel path lit by solar lights. They are cute but they really don’t provide adequate lighting for that many people (many of them quite elderly). But we finally made it to the bar. Thank goodness! A beverage!
They had beer and wine. Wine and beer. If you were some dink-zoid who didn’t want alcohol, you had to step to another area and help yourself to ice water or……Hawaiian punch.
How about a nice Hawaiian punch?
Who serves Hawaiian punch at a party for adults? We weren’t at some birthday party for a first-grader! Couldn’t we at least get something carbonated? Like…..Coke or 7-Up? Who wants to run around a party with a glass of red sugar water?
So we moved into the area of the catered food. It was then I realized they had set up 60 chairs (around tables). There was no more seating. That meant almost 200 people had to stand around trying to balance drinks and food. It was supposed to be easy because there were 10 different catering companies providing 10 different items. That’s great if everything is finger food. But it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Almost everything required forks and plates. You cannot eat quinoa drizzled with chicken sauce with your fingers. There wasn’t any place to set things down and eat. So people would drink their wine. Throw away the glass. Get some food. Eat the food. Throw away the plate. Get more wine. Drink the wine. Throw away the glass. Get more food. And on it went.
Only one caterer out of ten provided a meatless thing. It was a single-bite cheese thing on a crusty cracker thing that was doused with smoked salt. I ate one and realized I needed another glass or two of Hawaiian punch to slake my thirst. But what did I expect? This is the same group that offered slimy bok choy for vegetarians at the park-wide picnic. Who the fook eats bok choy at a picnic????
So I headed off to the dessert table. I had a lime cheesecake bite and a cherry cheesecake bite. It was amazing. They looked so different and cute. And they tasted exactly….. the same! I have no idea how they did that. The coffee station was at the same table, so I decided to try some. It was actually good. I had two cups.
And then the PhD started speaking. People had already been standing around for at least an hour and nobody wanted to hear what she had to say. She is one of those speakers who likes to quote other speakers. People who do that obviously don’t have enough ideas of their own. I heard her speak two years ago and I played Words With Friends on my phone the entire time.
I wandered outside and found an old park pal I only see at these dismal events. That killed about 20 minutes and I could lean on a railing to ease my weary legs. We both leaned over the railing and watched the koi in the pond. It was the best entertainment of the night.
I finally rounded up my board members and we got back on the trolley. But not before receiving a special herb-scented candle. I didn’t want the damn candle. Nobody cared about the candle. Having enough chairs for people to sit would have been a better use of resources.
Also….when people cannot sit, people do not pay attention. I learned that lesson a long time ago. Unless you are REALLY funny or running for President, nobody wants to stand and listen to you. Especially if you are a PhD who quotes other PhD’s about shit nobody cares about.
I got home about 8:00 or so and devoured a bowl of cereal. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have done that. People think my job is exciting and tinged with some sort of romantic excitement. It is not. Not at all. It’s often a balancing act that stretches me to the breaking point some days. How far can I reach to keep all those balls in the air? And how do I do that without ever showing one iota of weakness? How do I deal with emotional bulldozers and the whiners? How do I utilize our resources most effectively and make sure the money lasts? When I come home exhausted and sit on my sofa in pajamas eating a bowl of cereal at 8:00 at night, I wonder what it all means.
Parties like the one last night make me upset. We gather all those people together so they can prance around, eat expensive food (well SOME people eat the food), drink too much, and feel grand about themselves. At least my board understands that these events are meaningless, political moments of posturing and spreading peacock feathers. They know I have to go and they are willing to share my pain. And I love them for that.