Monday, May 08, 2006

The Joys of Being "Spouse"

This weekend was my husband's annual employee appreciation dinner. Hoo Boy.

Now, I'm not one to bitch and moan about a free dinner and an open bar, even if I do have to wear a nametag that reads, "Spouse." It's a pretty sweet deal. There's cocktail hour and the catered dinner is surprisingly good. Plus, it's a huge company with 13 car dealerships and the employees move alot between dealerships. We get to see people we haven't seen in a while. My husband still gets a charge out of escorting me around and introducing his wife. He honestly believes I am the most gorgeous woman in the room. (He's a better judge of engines than women, apparently.) It's pretty fun.

Except when you're sober.

This year, I was pregnant, so no open bar or wine with dinner. That's not to say I wasn't asked to go get drinks for a couple of the guys who had been cut off. Yeah, I'm serious. And yeah, I refused. I sat at the table and realized for the first time, that my husband and I have some seriously obnoxious friends.

Our table was loud. LOUD. The president of the company had to stop talking twice because the noise from our group was distracting. This is a ballroom with over 600 people in it. These guys and their wives were yukking it up, heckling the people being introduced, whistling and get the picture. I have to say, this is kind of the president's fault. He gives a long speech. His father, who started the company, gives a short speech. Then there is a 3 minute video for every person getting a 5, 10, 15, etc. year service pin for all 13 dealerships. And to ask a bunch of drunk mechanics to be quiet for all that? Not fair. Even I wasn't paying attention, but there were a lot of distractions at our table.

The couple next to us started dating a couple of months ago. He had both hands up her skirt and was kissing her cleavage. NO, I am not exaggerating. I am serious. Thankfully, they disappeared for an hour after desert. The couple across the table was hiding the centerpiece, a HUGE silver vase, packed full of pink and white carnations, under the table so they could take it with them. The couple on the other side of us were so drunk, they were staring around with silly grins, saying the F word loudly, while the table next to us was shushing them.

They weren't the only ones. I started counting the F bombs early in the night, but lost count after 187. Again, not exaggerating. I hang out with a classy bunch. And I didn't even count the MF bombs. I put that in a different category of cursing.

Then there was the entertainment. Last year, it was a troop of musical theater actors doing numbers from Broadway musicals. You know, Phantom, Cats, etc. They were fine, but it was plain why they were singing for a car dealership and not Stephen Sondheim. This year was Fabulous Fifties and the same group, doing golden oldies. They were actually worse this year. My group left the room and congregated in the bar, probably because there wasn't anything to throw.

We came back for the raffle, in which 15 $200 mall certificated were given away. The woman beside me was counting how many times people from the same dealership won. Curious? Sure you are. Audi won 6 times, Acura won 4 times, Land Rover won twice. Lexus: 3, but hey...they came all the way from Concorde! No one from the VW store won, which caused a loud chorus of boos and "Fix!" from my table. I think they were drunk enough to slur their words, so probably, no one could understand anyway.

My favorite moment was when I went to the bathroom and two older ladies were at the mirror. They got very quiet when I walked in and I recognized them from one of the tables surrounding ours. I'm sure the dirty looks were the give-away. I smiled and very nicely apologized for my table. They just shook their heads and left. Hey, they were lucky it wasn't the aquaintance I'll dub "Miss Mai Tai." She actually invited a 60 year old woman outside at Outback one year. Yessiree. Classy.

We went home shortly after. It was a 4 and a 1/2 hour evening that seemed about 12 hours long. Thank heavens most of them had rooms at the hotel that night. And thank you, sweet Jesus, that they did away with the Christmas party.

Next year, I'm getting hammered.


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