I have somehow managed to manoeuvre myself into the fabulous position this year of having numerous Christmas party clashes. Each occasion involves really good friends, treasured current or former work colleagues, or just damned attractive cut-throats, so no single option stands out as a better offer. They all involve dinner, and not a bloody one of them is the "pop in for a little while" type. Worse: there are "activities" planned (shudder) to keep us busy, to distract us from drinking too much, to stop us snogging the boss and photocopying our bits. Activities. What a stupid bloody word and what a stupid bloody idea at Christmas! Why can't I just turn up, get pissed, and stagger off into the dawn like the dishevelled Scrooge that I am? I don't want to go bloody go-karting, boot-scooting, bowling, or bungy-jumping. And what is it with holding me to ransom by not handing out the Secret bloody Santa until the end of the night? Ooooooh, better not go to that other Christmas party for dessert, you might miss out on a chocolate penis from Santa!
I know I should feel blessed that I have so many friends who want to share my company at Christmas ... NO THEY DON'T ... THEY'RE JUST HOPING FOR THEIR OWN BLOODY CHOCOLATE PENIS! Well hell I say, go buy your own and leave me out of it. But no, it would be bad of me not to go, I would be forever hounded by the ghosts of Christmases past/present/to-come maddeningly chanting in my ears: You have to go, it's Christmas. So, is this the true spirit of Christmas in this post-modern age: Obligation? (Look out, I'm hearing a bunch of comments being tippee-tapped away as I speak) Obligation to family and friends, obligation to buy presents, obligation to credit cards? And obligation to not let me get completely, tit-flashingly pissed. Truth be told I never really get that drunk (collective sigh of relief), but this mad and desperate spree of Christmas parties leaves me breathless with the overwhelming sense of duty they inspire. It leaves me hanging out for January, the real days of summer where we can bask in the laziness of holidays, barbecues, backyard cricket, and madcap spontaneous get togethers. Where simple things like cicadas and aeroguard, sandy fish and chips, and a sunburnt nose mean so much more. Where our friends and family gather because they want to, not because they think they should. Where photocopiers and go-karts breathe a collective sigh of relief ... until next year.