The Christmas Party Hardest Decisions!
Suze and l had been invited to attend a Christmas party last night at the neighbours a couple of houses up the road, by Tom and Richard a lovely couple. They moved in to their house at the start of last year and invited us to their first Christmas in the new home last year, which we couldn’t make, and they invited us again this year.
I am not that social a person, and if you didn’t know that about me by now, well where have you been? However l should imagine that you do know that anyway. I should clarify that stance perhaps. I am not social in so far as the defines society regard as social. I am not anti-social, l am selectively social. I am very social with people l do know, but l don’t go out of my way to be the life and soul of the party as l used to do in my younger days when l wore a mask and pretended to fit in, and so l was very social, but at a cost to my very soul. As to be that social l had to go at it hammer and tong and by the time l got back home, wherever that was at the time, l would usually collapse through the mental exertion of it all.
Over the years and more so since l threw away all my masks l don’t do the deliberate social thing or scene anymore, l am just me. Suze used to do the same, pretending to be more social than she actually felt for the sake of appearance – be this for previous partners to me, or for work nights and so on, but deep down she is not that social either.
When we first got together, Suze would rather inconveniently lay the ‘don’t do social events blame’ at my door, because of my Asperger’s which l used to get quite frustrated with. I am at my own concession an amicable chap, l am very affable – l don’t go out of my way to be rude to people unless pushed, but l still have more tolerance than most folks in that department, so it takes a lot of pushing to get me to react, however be warned once l have hit that level, l am extremely unforgiving.
Over the years that we have been together, which this January is 6 years knowing each other whilst our actual six year anniversary as a couple will come into fruition June of 2019, l have seen her change. As said neither of us are social butterflies, but she was perhaps more intentionally social than l ever was and especially since l hit 50 in 2013. Now, l don’t suffer foolish behaviour gladly and as far as l am concerned ‘sociality’, is at times viewed as foolish.
I am way more social on my blog than l am in real life … because my blog is at my pace. Whilst my readers follow my writings none of you are thankfully directly in my face 24/7/365 which trust me on this would bore the living crap out of all parties.
Suze works in a stressful position at her employment, and whilst she was more patient as little as six months ago, those same months forwards now are showing just how considerably her attitude has changed towards people and actually wanting to talk to them. Her job involves talking to council tennants whom the majority are on benefits and seem to think the world owes them everything, and some even make a professional career out of being on benefits and in their ‘professional role’ when they ring the office that Suze works in with a handful of other staff they think not twice about hurling proffanity and abuse from the time an operative answers their call.
Suze is not an aggressive person by nature and so maintains a steady calm when being called anything from a fuckwit to a whore or even the dreadful C word, and this happens on a day to day basis, so it is not hard to understand why 1] Suze sought a new position in the company which she has won a secondment to start in 2019 for a year, 2] why she is still looking for a new job and 3] why her current office has an exceedingly high employment turnover … principally because of burn out. Ask anyone you know in retail or any front line service positions how they feel about their jobs, and more so how social they feel after a hard and tiring day in the office/shop or wherever when they are being sworn at everyday?
I can almost guarantee from experience in retail myself and dealing with people day in and day out that life is pretty damn taxing on your enthusiasm.
So last night Suze got back through the door and l asked her if she wanted to go to the party that Tom and Richard were hosting.
She just looked at me, and basically said that if l wanted to go, we would but she was really tired, and of course l mustn’t forget that l didn’t do well in crowds of people. To which l answered, l would go but only she wanted to, that this was our second invite by the lads and we might not get a third. But, to not answer the question on behalf of me, but to answer on behalf of her.
She then asked “Are we supposed to bring a bottle of wine?”
“Well it doesn’t say that darling, it simply invites us to drinks and ‘nibbles’, why?”
“Well we don’t really socialise for one reason or another, and l don’t know what the etiquette is anymore on these things having been years since l went out socially.”
“It’s not rocket science surely? I mean if the invite had an attachment to bring your own drink, l would answer yes we need to bring our own. But it doesn’t, but more importantly do you want to go? In truth l am not bothered, but l know you are tired and you are still recovering from this flu you have had, and from what l know most of the attendees are in their 60’s – 70’s and might not appreciate this bug of yours which you alone have had for a month, this close to Christmas.”
“Are you making excuses to not go Rory?” Suze asked.
“Not at all, as said if you wish to go we only need go for half an hour to show our respects sort of thing, but l am not the one who needs to ask that question of me, but l think you need to ask that question of you? I have not been working all day and talking to abusive people, whereas you have. I don’t have a nasty bug, you do. So do you want to go or not?”
“Well can you Google if we need to bring wine?”
“You want me to Google the etiquette requirements of Christmas party invites???”
“Why? If they had wanted to, they would have said so.”
“Well you’re hardly Mr Social are you? What would you know?”
“I am confused babes, it’s not this hard a deal, if you don’t wish to go, we simply don’t go. If you are too tired, too unwell, not feeling social, that’s fine, but that’s all you have to say, not asking about silly etiquettes.”
“Just look would you please?”
So l carried out a search online for the requirements of a simple invite in 2018 regarding the do’s and don’ts a of party, whilst Suze took Scrappy out for an evening walk. The party was to start as 6.30pm, and l had initially answered that if we were to turn up it would be closer to 7.30pm due to Suze working a fair distance away and getting home later.
When Suze got back, l told her that if the invite doesn’t specifically request BYOB, then you are under no fixed obligation to take anything with you, but if you wanted to – you could take a gift.
“We have no wine, and l am not going to the shop to get a bottle for ten minutes at a party!” She stated very firmly.
“We have a bottle in the fridge you know?” I offered.
“It’s open l had a small glass of that yesterday.”
“Well why don’t we just top it up with some water then, all good.”
“You can’t do that! It’s been opened!!”
“Alright, let’s take an unopened pack of olives then, or maybe some milk, or how about a bottle of soda water?”
“Do you want to go to this thing? Talking to people we don’t know, are you forgetting you are an Aspie? Hardly your sort of thing is it??”
“Whoah, hang on a moment, don’t lay this all on my doorstep. I have already said we don’t need to go if you don’t want to, are you looking for me to make a decision on this then?”
“Okay, we don’t go then, there we go – simples.”
“Oh great so now you are saying we shouldn’t go then?”
“What?” I stammered “You just said you wanted me to make a decision, so l did based upon the facts as presented towards me?”
Suze stomped off and we didn’t attend the party.
Somewhat confused l got on with dinner and hours later Suze came up to me and said she didn’t want to go to the party as she was tired, grumpy, sick to the back teeth of people and not feeling very well. I told her that it was ok, that there was no need to apologise, but to just basically acknowledge at times that it is not always me that is not that social, and there is nothing wrong with that. She agreed to that and she was fine after but boy for such a small invitation, it was seriously hard in the decision department.
My Father used to say something , which is quite true at times. “Women have many faults, many only two, everything we say and everything we do!”