I never thought I'd be in a position in life wherein attending a company Christmas party is actually a big deal, but that damn party has been the center of everyone's focus for the past couple of weeks. I've been working for several years now, and have moved from one workplace to the other and I have been able to avoid being part of something (in my opinion) but an annoying way to wreck a perfectly good night. I guess things really are different now.
The events of that night, as well as the days surrounding that night, have been an apt way to end my year. Status quo has been shattered, both externally and internally.
Questions in the Dark.
Before the chaos, I was asked by someone from my past about love, and if there will ever be someone that would truly love me as much as she did back in the day. I just smiled, but there were a lot of thoughts that ran through my mind after that conversation. I knew the answer. Unfortunately. This was a thought that would stay with me for the rest of the following two weeks, and mostly likely go well beyond the remaining days of the year.
Drinking Before The Party.
At the start of the work week, the rest of the Breakfast Club weren't really the well oiled working machines that we usually are. Most likely, it was because we had dumped everything we had in the previous week's "competition". Or maybe it was just me. But the point was, I wanted to go out drinking, and, as is usually the case, I bugged the rest of the team to find some bar so we could get our booze on. It was then that I disclosed certain personal plans for the party. (I get a little open when I drink, as most people know by now.)
Still, it was a very unproductive night, but it was exactly what I needed at that point in time. I'm just glad to have people that would up and indulge me whenever needed.
A Throwback to The Empire.
The day before the party, I was doing a bunch of things related to the "family business", when I received a text message from the friendly-former-almost-neighbor. While I had a bunch of shit to do, I'm a sucker for a person in need, and being someone who also once was a part of the Evil Empire, I know she needs an ear more than most people.
It was a very pleasant afternoon. She seemed like she lost a smile or two, and that's something that's completely understandable. That soul sucking abyss has that effect on people. Sad though, as she was always one of those people who,despite her problems, used to make that place brighter that it was supposed to be. Among other things, that meeting of ours made me appreciate where I am now, too. I'm still trying to convince her to join the Think Tank, and hopefully, I'll be successful.
The Night Before the Party.
After I met with the former-almost-neighbor, I dropped by the Think Tank to see the goings on with the rest of the Breakfast club, as they had plans on really making a huge impression on the party. Again, it wasn't exactly my scene, but since they asked me to join them in their preparations (they let me write as they worked, claiming that all they just wanted me to hang around). So, off we went to the team's Batcave, and as they crafted this box from which one of the teammates would pop out and, in theory, wow everyone with her Barbie costume, I went to write a sequence treatment for an entire movie hours before it was due. They rocked the box, I rocked the story, and honestly, while I'm sure they could've done a great job on the box with or without me, I don't think I could've finished my story without them.
Honestly though, these bastards were amazing. Staying up all night for something that, to me, didn't really matter much shows a level of passion and unity that I haven't seen since the Scoobies. The people in Purgatory never gave a shit for anything beyond getting smashed (one of the many reasons I felt really at home with them). The Angels were happy with just hanging out. But these guys? Shit. They eat together, they work together, they know about each other's personal lives like a motherfucker. It nothing short of amazing. That night, the night before the party, has to be the definitive moment for this group.
The Party in Question.
And so came the all important night of the party. I don't know what the rest of the Breakfast Club did, but I went home, emailed my story, showered, changed, and headed out again for my meeting. The meeting was long, but at least it was productive. I got to screen an audition (in a fucking mall), discuss specific details of the project, and basically everything that would keep me awake. Most people don't know, or refuse to acknowledge, this, but I'm a workaholic. I don't like idle moments, and as long as there's something to be done, I keep doing. Once the meeting was done and over with, I bought a big ass burger for dinner and ate it on the way to the supposed party.
A lot of things went down in the party, but I'll stick to the shit that happened to me, to save space.
I arrived and saw everyone's attention focused on some trivia game. At that point, I've been completely awake for two days, and I was a six foot three ball of stress. They were going to need a bunch of Green Berets to get me away from the bar. The night progressed from silly games to dancing and of course, the booze. Gifts were given, and the only holiday spirits I was feeling were the ones I imbibed. Once the festivities died down, it was time to proceed with my plan.
I was fucking smashed, but enough to be able to speak with Erin. A few weeks ago, I told her how I felt. (I'm not too sure on whether or not I was clear about it, since I'm pretty bad at serious conversation. One of the reasons I became a stand up comic.) My main point then was that I genuinely liked her in "that" manner, but I had shit to get together first, so I wouldn't be actively pursuing her just yet. All that shit has yet to be worked out, but I told her during the party that I'm ready to you know, be Mr. Suitor or whatever. Our long, mostly one sided and hopefully still coherent conversation was cut short when one of the people from the party started breaking down and crying. (I learned it was like a yearly tradition for her.) So I helped take her home, and I left the party without a clear idea of how my talk with Erin went. (She has been clear about her lack of interest though, that was made obvious even before.)
I tucked the drunken girl in her couch, hitched a ride back to meet the rest of the Breakfast Club, and had met up with them when I realized I left my bag (laptop and all) at the drunken girl's place. At that point, the fatigue, the alcohol and the emotions finally took their toll and I passed out. I woke up at the team's Batcave.
Yeah, it was awesome. Awesome-ish, at least.
The Days After.
The days following that surprisingly eventful night (not just for me, but apparently for everyone) were composed almost entirely of me trying to juggle my jobs and overcoming my holiday anxiety. The days were mostly devoted to spending time without he team and futilely trying to get some time with Erin. There was drinking, of course, and on more than one occasion, those drinking sessions that involved the appearance of a person from Purgatory. One rather interesting encounter was with a drunken Purgatory dude who, outspoken as ever, approached our table and gave a couple of members of the Breakfast Club a unique perspective to my long history of romantic attempts. Now people at the Think Tank refer to me as a man-whore. (Or, on special days, a He-Slut.)
I even travelled to Tagaytay once to help out a teammate who was helping out his friends secure a church for their wedding. It was fun, I guess.I mean, I always liked helping couples out, and seeing that place where I sued to have retreats as a college student really kicked ass.
As I mentioned, the following days were also spent with my romantic endeavor, something that doesn't really seem to be going well. I knew going in that it was going to be not just difficult, but highly unlikely, and definitely not painless, but, like before, I'd rather fail at something that I truly want than succeed at something I don't give two shits about. (Again, another reason why I decided to be a comedian, despite the obvious lack of talent.) At this point, I just want her happy, and if anything I do contributes to that happiness then I've done my job.
There was also talk about sending me to Singapore for work, but that's something I'll tackle in a bit.
The Longest Day Ever.
The highlight of the post-party depression was perhaps the longest, worst day of the latter half of the year that ended surprisingly well. I did not even see it coming. I spent the night at the Think Tank, as per usual, and had to step out once the Big Man arrived. To those with short memories, The Big Man and I worked on a project recently, one that dissolved the moment I got back from Hong Kong. I honestly felt that I was abruptly set aside, so I kept my distance from the Big Man, my oldest friend, until I get the proper face time. It is, after all, the professional thing to do. We haven't spoken in months, the longest amount of time we were out of each other's lives since I disappeared for eight months after his sister and I broke up. So he stopped by and we talked over a few bottles of booze from the nearest liquor store. We shot the shit, and cleared up certain matters. He also updated me on the goings on back South. Apparently he's been through as much, or even more, shit as I have been. But, all hat has been settled, and I thought that was the extent of the drama I was going to go through on that day.
So, doing the usual thing I do, I went home, showered and changed for that night's hosting gig, and left early for the pre-production meeting. I haven't slept, so it goes without saying that I wasn't in the best of moods. We went to the location, and then went to some burger place to do the production meeting. I have been vocal before about how slowly things were going. This small project should not be taking more than a month to do pre-production for. This guy who wrote and directed this potential piece of shit was going on another one of his endless stories about his life that had nothing to do with the agenda for that day's meeting, and was trying to teach his crew a thing or two about the job. He spoke about how principal photography has once again been pushed back, and spoke about patience. "If you are not patient, you will not be a good filmmaker." That's when I walked out. Hearing those words from a guy who rushed writing a script (a script that has a plot with holes bigger than a pornstar's anus), went off to Singapore for nine days, tried to get an actress who already vehemently expressed disinterest in working with him and constantly wastes a good chunk of our meetings trying to pass the buck on stuff he was responsible for set me off. One, you take time to develop a good script, not shit one out and then take your sweet time in pre-production. Two, being impatient and recognizing inefficiency are two different things. Three, any real filmmaker knows that there is nothing more important than the project. Not the fucking holidays, not any stupid business trips, not any attempt to bang an actress the director clearly has the hots for. Nothing matters but finishing the project. "Family business" be damned. No Singapore for me. (Wow, I went on a full rant.)
The unfortunate meeting took place in some far flung burger place in the North, and I had to race to get to my hosting thing for the teachers at the School for the Deaf. it was a gig that Iw as looking forward to, for various reasons. But, thanks to the rambling of a poser and everyone else's holiday mania, (add the miscommunication between me and the contact) I didn't get to the gig on time, and got bumped off the program.
So, to sum up, I kept my distance from my oldest friend because of some professional principles and I discover he's been through some really rough shit, causing me to feel like a crappy dude, I spent an afternoon in a meeting that accomplished nothing aside from show me exactly why the family business isn't exactly booming, and I missed a gig that I actually want to do (and promised a good friend I'd do) because of that same meeting. Add the facts that I'm turing 30 in a couple of weeks, I'm deeply into a girl that would never go for me, my health failing, my holiday anxiety hitting its peak and I'm pretty sure hair is falling, and my day was the pits. I decided to go to the office instead after wandering aimlessly for a bit.
The sight that greeted me the moment I stepped through those glass doors was the team that I belonged to, the one I endearingly refer to as The Breakfast Club, dancing and singing. I took a second to digest that sight, and it was the first time I smiled on that day. Not surprisingly, we ended up in Tagaytay, and whatever shit I was carrying earlier that day, and whatever came after, all vanished. They did what they do best… they kept me relatively sane. The holidays would have been rougher if it weren't for them. It doesn't matter if it's binge eating, drinking, or overly pointless road trips, I've come to a point that I know there's at least a small group of people that could make me smile when I run out of reasons to.
Tourist no more.
I've been watching "Parks and Recreation", and there's this character there named Justin, someone a character referred to as a "tourist". He was someone who would travel through people's lives, taking pictures and stories, and then leaving. I've been a tourist all my life. The past couple of weeks have caused me to rethink that. Though I'm sure that whatever this phenomenon that's causing me to be attached to the team and the rest of the Think Tank would pass, I know that it's time for me to stop collecting shit for my scrapbook, and it's time for me to sit down and actually look through it. Right now, I don't know what to do with the family business or with Erin or the other shit that's on my plate. I just know that even though the answers to those questions in the dark aren't exactly in my favor, I can learn to live with them.
"I've made up my mind, don't need to think it over
If I'm wrong I am right, don't need to look no further
This ain't lust, I know this is love
But if I tell the world, I'll never say enough
'Cause it was not said to you
And that's exactly what I need to do if I'd end up with you
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?"- Adele, "Chasing Pavements"