Sometime back in March, Margie sent out an email about an upcoming social event in May at a RETRO ENTERTAINMENT ESTABLISHMENT called Shorty’s and I was like, “Yes, this is something I will attend.” So right away, I RSVP’d because everything about me is knee jerk. I then set about to strong-arm several of my work-bros to also RSVP. Some were hesitant but I said, “NO, JUST DO IT. IT WILL BE FUN. I WILL BE THERE.”
And then the day came (Tuesday) and it was cold and rainy and I had a headache and I RULLY wanted to bail. I truly did. Erin of Yesteryear most definitely would have. MOSDEF. But I had talked other people into going and what a bitch move that would be, not to mention I know that final headcounts matter when it comes to planning these things and I couldn’t do that to Sue and Margie. It would be different if I had a legit reason, but considering my alternative would be, you know, loafing at home…Look, I’m really trying to retrain myself into being the social butterfly I was in the….early ’00s.
I can’t even blame covid for my awkwardness!
Henry drove me so I could drink irresponsibly. I walked in like a scared baby deer, knock-kneed and hiding behind a curtain of hair. There were other people there and my eyes are bad, so I was heavy-squinting, trying to see if I could recognize anyone considering I never see work people IRL anymore and we have new people hired during and post-covid that I haven’t seen before! There could have been a whole table of our department already there and I wouldn’t haven’t know. Then a hostess smelled my social anxierty and asked, “Are you here for the party?”
I said yes, and OF FUCKING COURSE I was the first one to arrive. She took me back to the totally empty area reserved for us and on the way, said, “I love your sweater!” As I was saying thanks, she cut me off to add, “AND YOUR PURSE OMG!” It was my “make your own luck” duster from La La and my hamburger purse that I bought at some yoga studio in….Scranton, PA last year.
“I’m secretly still 16,” I stage-whispered because sometimes I’m me again, and she laughed and said she loved it and OH how I wish Chooch had been there to witness it. He hates when I get to flaunt my INDIVIDUALITY.
Then a waitress and some guy came flocking over to me. ‘ARE YOU MARGIE OR SUE?” the waitress asked and when I said no, her faced fell and she said, “Oh.”
WOW. SORRY FOR BEING HONEST.
J/K she was fantastic actually although I think I was starting to get on her nerves as the night progressed because I am a stupid drinker. I forget what her name was now but when she told me, I cheerfully said, “Oh OK, I’m Erin!” and she looked at me like, “Bitch we ain’t friends now.”
Then Margie finally arrived after I festered on a stool by myself for a solid 3 minutes.
Margie gave me my TWO drink tickets and then asked me to hold the stack and I felt equal parts important and anxious. It felt like too much to be accountable for, especially once people started arriving and I had to dole out the rations.
My table originally consisted of Wendi [I need to say that I am so depressed that she started at the firm AFTER we all moved to fulltime WFH because we have so much in common, especially musically (um, she has seen Dance Gavin Dance and knows Emarosa, etc etc)], Megan, Joy, Amber and Lucas – a solid line-up. But as the progressed, people started mingling more but Megan, Wendi and I were like, “No, people can come to us.” AND THEY DID. So, we ended up with Nate, Margie, Jill, Sharon, Regina, Rachel and Aaron at various points and you know what? I am so glad I didn’t punk out. I really miss seeing these guys every day.
I was so excited to play shuffleboard, which I haven’t done since I was underage and sneaking in (LOL there wasn’t much sneaking involved, actually) to Tim’s Corner Bar in West Elizabeth where I quickly became a shuffleboard shark. And there was supposed to be an interactive photo booth, whatever that means, which Nate and I were fixated on when Margie sent out the email a while back.
BUT DID I PLAY SHUFFLEBOARD? NO!
DID WE PLAY IN THE INTERACTIVE PHOTO BOOTH? NO!
In fact, I forgot all about it until the next day, and Margie admitted that she did think of it when we were there but she couldn’t find it! IF I HAD THOUGHT OF IT, I WOULD HAVE ASKED MY WAITRESS FRIEND. She LOVED it when I would beckon her to me, only to say, “Wait….what did I want?” to Wendi, who was basically ordering all of my beers for me.
<3 these guys!
One of my favorite parts was when I was one beer in (and already slurring) and screamed, “OMG I HAVE TO DO MY BE REAL. YOU GUYS CAN BE IN MY BE REAL!” and Amber and Wendi were like “the fuck is be real” and I had to explain it that it’s basically an app FOR THE KIDS but I started using it (much to Chooch’s chagrin) because one of my favorite YouTubers uses it and to be honest, it’s so dumb for someone like me to have because I’m home 90% of the time when I get the notification that it’s Be Real time.
I explained to them that while I take a selfie, it will also take an outward facing picture so that they can be in too and I made a big production of getting them to pose…
…but my drunk ass wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and this is how it came out lol. They were like, “Wow. Cool. Thanks for letting us….be in your Be Real. I guess.”
My other favorite part was when Sue was looking at my photo card holder attached to my purse and softly exclaimed, “Oh Erin, when did this happen??” and I was very confused, like was she asking me when did my NCT bias change to Renjun? “He’s gotten so old!” she said, so then I was like, “Oh wow, does Sue follow NCT Dream and she’s now realizing that they’re not the same little kids from the Chewing Gum era anymore?
NO. SHE THOUGHT IT WAS A PICTURE OF CHOOCH! Oh my god, it was so funny! Granted, it *was* pretty dark in there and most people would assume that if most grown ass ladies had a photo hanging off her purse, it must be her child.
BUT I’M NOT LIKE OTHER GROWN ASS LADIES.
My other other other favorite part was when I was psyching myself up to leave the house and I said, “I will stay for 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Make an appearance. Be mysterious, say something awkward, then leave.” The “event area” was only booked from 6-8 so it wasn’t like people would be staying that long anyway.
But then it was 7 and I was like, “Well, I might as well at least stay and finish this second beer that Wendi chose for me,” and then it was 7:30 and Sue was leaving and gave some of us a third drink ticket, which I greedily accepted.
And then it was 8:30 and the waitress was giving us strong side eye.
And then it was nearly 10 and I was leaving with the last of us still standing after all the food was taken away and there were no more free drinks. I think it was me, Nate, Amber, Sharon, and Rachel at that point. Megan had left RIGHT before us because she was being stubborn and called an Uber instead of letting Henri the Chauffeur take her home.
I’m really glad that I went, I’m super appreciative of Margie and Sue for planning this to help boost morale and give us all a reason to crawl out of our holes and interact outside of Jabber. Also, this was the first time I have Joy IRL and not via WebEx video since before the pandemic!
I will admit that we had a events committee who tried very hard to get people to engage socially during the pandemic, but it was all virtual, obviously, and let’s be real: I’m not trying to log back on after work hours to play trivia on WebEx. I don’t care if there are prizes. Once I log off, I’m done until morning! No offense to the people who were on that team, I give them a lot of credit for trying to come up with new and creative ways to get people to talk to each other. But even though it might sometimes be a drag for me to leave the house initially, I definitely prefer IN REAL LIFE social engagements like this one!