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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Freeloading 

Tonight I have been to a Reception. I use the capital R not because I am feeling casually Biblical but because it was an event, a drinks and nibbles party with suits.

It was the Moody's Corporation Reception for Distinguished Alumni, an event held every year in a variety of London venues. This is the second one I have attended.

I'm not sure why I went, to be honest. There was the freeloading aspect to it, of course. Free food, free drink (not really enjoyed to its fullest because I had overindulged last night) and a gift on the way out. The last time I went to one of these things, I was given a Tiffany desk set that still graces my desk at work. This year it turned out to be a magic wallet.

That isn't what it's called. It's actually a wallet for holding business cards and receipts for expenses. There's some clever goings-on with elastic when you open it in different ways that I haven't entirely figured out yet. However, when I finally got through the seemingly endless layers of wrapping and saw what it was, the only description that fit was "magic wallet".

However, the freeloading isn't really me. OK, so I haven't had to pay for my meal this evening and I am now the proud owner of a magic wallet but I think I would have rather been in the company of friends while I did it. I would have preferred to eat at home on the sofa in front of the TV.

I'm not a terribly social animal. Stick me in a room full of strangers and I'll be off in the corner somewhere or looking out of the window. I have no concept of small talk. My small talk is very small indeed. When confronted with people I don't know I tend to just listen.

It's not a part of my character of which I am proud and I am deeply envious of people who can just launch themselves into a room full of strangers and chat away without a second thought.

Even in groups of people I do know I will tend to be silent if there are sufficient numbers. This isn't a winning strategy at work.

Anyhow, tonight I was going to meet up with a friend and ex-colleague but she had to drop out at the last minute. However, as I'd said I was going and I'd brought my suit to work, I decided to go anyway.

I vaguely recognised two of the people there and spoke with them for a while. They belonged to the London office and may have visited the office in Reigate where I was based a few times. There were no other people from Reigate. In Reigate I was a Knowledge Engineer (a specialised type of programmer) but all the people in the London offices deal with credit ratings and wouldn't know what we did in Reigate at all.

So you see, other than the fact that we had a parent company in common once upon a time, there was little shared ground with any of the people at the event. I left after an hour and a half but at least I got my magic wallet.

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Ah, even my boss has sort of come to realise that I just don't do that kind of social event. I won't even be bothering with the Office Xma$ meal/party/event - I'm adamant that my work is not going to dictate - even once a year - who I socialise with... and besides, just because I work with them doesn't mean I'm able to come up with any small chat outside of the work context.

What a grump I must be...

Anyway, surely it'll only be a magic wallet if it constantly refills itself with money?
 
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