The Party, the Crowd, The Wait and the Ride

Last night was my department’s Christmas party. I wasn’t really sure I was going to go at first, because I know so few people, but once I found that most of the people I knew were going, I figured it’d be a great chance to get out there and meet people, chat, mingle, have fun. I’ve made amazing progress over the past year in my ability to talk to people, introduce myself, and be a lot more assertive and not terrified of social situations. Which is great, and I’m really proud of that.

I digress.

There were at least 60 of us. I’d venture to guess that there were closer to 80. It was crowded - for 3/4 of us, it was standing room only. I did the bump and grind (unintentionally) with a rather important person in the food chain. Unfortunately he just gave me a grim smile, so it’s not like I garnered any career favors out of it :wink: Whoever picked the place we went to was insane. It was far too crowded, and as I later told my driver, I was getting awfully close to people I really didn’t want to get close to. Now, as I said, I’m doing great on the social front, but standing tooth to tooth with someone would make even the most seasoned social butterfly wince at least a little. It was tough, but managed to handle it, and maybe even with aplomb. Then they served the food, and as expected, about half the crowd vanished after eating. So it was nice, and cozy rather than copulatory, and I really started relaxing and having fun. The open bar was even calling to me, but I didn’t want to spend the commute home feeling like crap. I told my boss that I needed to get him drunk so that he’d offer to put me up in a hotel for the night.

(Quick backtrack: I’ll admit that I was too chicken to ask outright, but I did drop hints about wanting to get a hotel room for the night instead of doing the 3 hour shlepp back home, and I got the vibe that there was no help to be had from him (which was fine))

“Ohh, you know, for future reference, if you have to stay in the city this late for a work related thing, you can just get a room.”

Me: …

“Or, you can reserve a car service and have them take you home instead. They direct bill to to bank.”

Me: …

This would have been highly useful info about a week ago. Obviously I wasn’t going to get a hotel room on that kind of notice, and I’d have had to pony up first and get reimbursed so that idea was out. Because I’d left my bag at work, I needed to go to the office to pick it up, so I figured I’d snag a car from there. A very nice woman, who I would have thought I’d known for years, walked back with me and chatted with me the entire way before going on to Grand Central. It was a surprising turn of events, but she is exactly the kind of friend I’ve always needed - supremely outgoing, nice and friendly, and able to take the lead when it comes to getting to know me. At any rate, we said our Good Nights, and I went to the office. Went up to my desk, gave the cleaning woman a heart attack, and called the car service. They tell me it’s about a 45 minute wait, and I agree, figuring I’ll get a little work done in the meantime. 45 minutes later, I head down to the lobby to wait for the car.

Fifteen minutes after that, I call the car service. They upgrade the delay to TWO HOURS from the time I called, so I’m looking at another hour.

An hour and a half later, they tell me that they’ll call me back with a car number. Fifteen minutes after that, they call and say that they’ll call in fifteen minutes with a car number. I’m losing track of times here, but this is the bottom line: I called at 9:23 for a car. I got into a car at about 1:15.

I get into my car and my drivers says “Long Island, right?” With precise comedic timing he laughs and says “I’m kidding!” and I couldn’t help but laugh. I struck out on the “I don’t suppose I can smoke after waiting FOUR HOURS” attempt, but that was fine. Then my driver asks me the best way to get to Danbury.


There goes my vague hope of sleeping on the way. I might have ended up in Montreal. So I stay awake, and luckily, the driver was a great conversationialist. I figured this was where he excelled in driverhood - maybe no navigation skills, but amazing to talk to. We laughed and joked and pretended to be serious, talked about life, love and work - it was fun.

Finally, because I don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to navigating from New York City when I’m exhausted and stressed, we arrive in front of my house about 2.5 hours later. I sign the paperwork, and open the door and thank him and he smiles and turns around and looks at me for the first time. He says “Did you want to like, hang out sometime?”

Me: :eek:

I was floored. He says “Well you know, I usually spend these rides in silence and any attempt at conversation just kinda falls flat. I’ve never met someone that was so easy to talk to before so I thought it’d just be fun to talk sometime.”

So I handed over my number, smiling inanely to myself and wished him a good night.

After he left, I realized I should have asked for his number in return, but noooo.

I fell asleep giggling.