Party the Outpost way

Last night we went to Jod’s boss’s party. In a wine lodge that had an unnaturally low ceiling made of elaborate wickerwork (this is for the ‘rustic’ touch). Everybody working for the boss (plus spouses) were invited, a total of 500-something people. Buffet dinner (quite good, too) and unlimited drinks. I can see eyes flashing and reflecting on computer screens but this is not the north of Europe where people would en masse drink themselves to extinction. Here in the Outpost people drink sensibly, which is good, unless of course they are about to drive.

I was profoundly bored, the kind of tedium that reminds me of descriptions of hell when I was a kid (nothing to do with the temperature, rather ‘total alienation and loneliness’, ‘eternal boredom’, ‘absence of human rapport’ — this sort of stuff, as I was not born in North America). Hundreds of people, most of them young, packed up in suits and frocks and the like, staring and not staring at each other, smiling and not smiling at each other, deprived of even the comfort of small talk. Not to mention the pomp and face-saving austere grimness of some of the guests. “What would happen elsewhere?”, I eventually asked myself. People would not be so self-conscious, maybe. In times like this, I wish I smoked: it would be a lovely sort of excuse, pretending to myself I was actually ‘doing’ something.

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