Today at work, we had our office Christmas party. About a week ago, a coworker popped into my office to let me know that at this office we give gifts to -- and I quote -- "members of our team." The gifts didn't have to be elaborate, he explained, just something little, like a bottle of Martinelli's with a bow. Since he knew it was my first year at the office, he just wanted to give me the heads up.
My team consists of another attorney, an analyst, and a secretary. But I supposed I should probably also get something for my trainer and the other two people he is training.
Add with me, people. That's 6.
So I asked my crafty sister Echo to make 10 presents, on the off-chance I was under-estimating. She made some cute little Oreo Pops, which is basically an Oreo on a sucker stick, dipped in white and milk chocolate, then rolled in crushed peppermint pieces. Darling, no?
I set off to work this morning with some cellophane-wrapped gifties, feeling mighty satisfied with myself.
And when I flipped on the light in my office, I found that I had already received five presents from people who weren't on my list.
Sidenote: You might be wondering why, at this point, I didn't run to the store to buy more presents. The short answer is that I have a client I have been trying to talk to all summer long about his case.
I periodically call or email him to see if it's a good time. It never is.
Who decided to email me the morning of the Christmas party and say he'd "pop in sometime today to talk"?
You guessed it.
So for roughly twenty minutes, I sat and panicked in my office. More gifts arrived.
Every person who brought me a homemade jar of jam, banana bread, and gift box from Bath and Body Works received a bag of Oreo Pops.
And my anxiety ratcheted up-up-up, because how the hell am I supposed to multiply a finite number of Oreo Pops?
That's when I remembered Echo's original plan.
"Why don't you just get people a package of Twizzlers and write 'Twiz the Season' on a sticker?"
Though it seemed cheesy to me at the time, I seized on Echo's idea and proceeded to text and IM every person I could think of who might be able to run to All-A-Dollar and buy 10 packages of Twizzlers and Christmas package stickers.
Finally I got in contact with Charlie, who agreed to head to All-A-Dollar after a meeting with his graduation counselor. The only problem was that put his arrival at my workplace around 2pm.
Sidenote: Why is that a problem, you ask? Well, because the Christmas party was scheduled for noon, with everyone leaving the office afterward as a gift from our boss.
Why is that not a problem? Well, because I could just sneak the Twizzlers into offices and pretend that they arrived in the morning, like all the other, more thoughtful gifts had.
So I sat in my office, trying to work, trying to ignore the growing pile of presents on my desk, and waiting for the Mystery Client.
|This is how things looked BEFORE NOON. I didn't even have the heart to take a picture of the final haul.|
Finally it was time for the Christmas party, and I trudged off to a sumptuous feast, all the while trying to avoid eye contact with the coworkers who had bestowed me with homemade fudge, only to be rewarded with a big, fat nada.
And then, in the middle of a musical number -- seriously, my coworker's children came and SANG -- Charlie texted me.
"Done early. Where do you want me to deliver this stuff?"
Now, the most important of my little plan was that no one realize (a) I came grossly underprepared to show my love for my coworkers the day of the Christmas party and (b) some people got Oreo Pops, and some people got cheap bags of Twizzlers.
So I texted Charlie back, "Leave the bag on the curb, I will come out and get it when I can get out of this party."
Sidenote: Why didn't I just stand up, walk out, and meet Charlie outside?
Answer: You try walking out of your boss's recitation of "Tilly's Christmas" by Louisa May Alcott.
And because I know Charlie, and I know he's never met a plan that he didn't think he could improve somehow, I texted him again. "Seriously. Leave them on the curb."
At this point, it's incumbent to switch to Charlie's point of view. For fairness' sake.
Charlie arrived at my place of employ and stared at the curb nervously. Do I really leave this bag on the curb? he wondered. I mean, I know my sister who has worked here for a year told me to, but this is a [big secret, people] GOVERNMENT BUILDING.
According to Charlie, there were three squad cars of cops chilling in the parking lot. And he just couldn't take the chance.
Here's where we switch back to my point of view, and I argue that "three squad cars" was most likely one pudgy member of Highway Patrol, and that even if dropping a plastic bag is suspicious, IT WAS A PLASTIC BAG OF FULL OF TWIZZLERS. What's more, my government building doesn't even have metal detectors, because in New Denver, packing heat is strongly encouraged.
In short, I can say with total confidence that had Charlie dropped a bag of Twizzlers on the curb, not one damn thing would have happened.
But Charlie felt like he couldn't take that chance. So he popped into the building and left the bag with the front desk secretary. Who proceeded to come into the Christmas party and deliver them to me.
In the middle of a musical number.
In front of LITERALLY every single person I work with.
Who could all see that I had clearly forgotten to plan appropriately for gift giving.
And that I bought their presents at ALL A DOLLAR, as the plastic bag was so proudly emblazoned.
After the luncheon was (mercifully) over, I skulked off to my office to slap Santa stickers onto bags of Twizzlers, shove them into mail slots (since there was no point in being sneaky anymore), and make my escape before I had to talk to anyone.
To make things even more amazing? As I was leaving, I saw that the other attorney who started with me last January gave everyone CDs.
And as I drove back to home my home, roughly twenty minutes after my escape, the Mystery Client (remember him?) called. He had not received my email that I was leaving for the day at 2pm. He was in my office. And he wanted to meet.
Sidenote: You would think that my most embarrassing story would now be over. You would think that, and you would be wrong.
As I wallowed on the couch tonight, nursing a giant Diet Coke and holding a snuggly Spencer on my lap, Hannah came home and I proceeded to tell the tale.
"Wait," she said as I explained what Charlie had bought at All-A-Dollar, "why Twizzlers?"
"So I could write, 'Twiz the Season' on the sticker," I explained.
"Oh. So did you do that?"
No, my friends, I did not. In the midst of my anxiety and frustration, I forgot to write the cheesy line that was the whole point of getting Twizzlers to begin with. I put the sticker on the Twizzlers, stuffed them into boxes, and ran for my life.
So tonight, all over the greater New Denver Valley area, my coworkers are looking at the presents they received from their colleagues and wondering, "Why the eff did that girl give me Twizzlers with a Santa sticker?"
And now my humiliation is complete.