Twas the Friday before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; this includes me! I have woken on my own accord, fully clothed, facedown and laying diagonally on top of the duvet. In the time it takes me to lift my head off the pillow I realise one; I am very late for my last day at work and two; my mouth disturbingly tastes like a stale ashtray doused in corked wine. Judging from my fuzzy head and complete lack of memory it can mean only one thing, this is the morning after the ‘Works Christmas Do’.
Gingerly and using energy I do not have, I stumble towards the bathroom considering putting on my jacket and leaving the house as I am....well I am dressed. This idea is soon abandoned when a hybrid of Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally stares back at me from the mirror. Prioritisation is critical during these moments and not to be too crude but a toilet trip is pointless as dehydration has left little moisture, so teeth cleaning and drinking copious amounts of tap water are top of my list. In the shower I begin to reflect on the evening’s events and panic swiftly embraces. My last memory is slurring ‘taxi’ as a life saving black cab appeared outside the pub; prior to that the evening can only be described as hazy.
It takes time and my performance would be painful to watch to even the most patient, but I am finally dressed and on my way to work. In a desperate bid to sober up the first port of call is to the local newsagent to buy any type of hydrating fluids and stomach lining carbohydrates. Arms stacked high with bottles of tomato juice, energy drinks, water and a cheese and ham croissant I open my purse to find nothing. I can deal with the embarrassment of leaving the goods and muttering excuses to the shop keeper, I am more concerned about the lack of £50 that was in my purse yesterday.
Leaving the shop I notice the newspaper headline ‘Seventeen million will wake today with a hangover’, this does not make me feel better and I realise I need to find out what happened last night before I dare face work colleagues and a potential disciplinary action. I remember talking to the boss but have no recollection of what we talked about. He is not my favourite person and did I tell him this in a moment of drunken honesty?
Clyde, she was there, she’ll fill in the gaps. I remember leaving the pub toilets and she was gone. I find a secluded step, seat myself and send a text message ‘not sure who lost who last night, you ok?’. Within a minute Clyde responds ‘I said goodbye, you hugged me, necked some champagne and told me how drunk you were’. Oh dear, maybe my housemate can help, a quick phone call established he has never seen me that drunk and he was proud I had managed to get up, presuming I would be dying in bed… Oh God this does not bode well!
OK think, what do you remember? Keith from Accounts was boring the troops with his tales of rock and roll mishaps in a Holiday Inn piano bar and mentioned something about my boyfriend and I should come listen to his Britney medley. To my response, ‘three years Keith, three years you’ve known me and you still don’t know I’m gay?’ This was exclaimed loudly between juke box songs so silence appropriately took over and a couple of tumbleweeds drifted past. Hearing this news the rather attractive ‘Girl on Top’ smiled seductively then began flirting outrageously with me. For those with a sewer mind ‘Girl on Top’ only got her name because she works in the office above me! Against my instincts I shied away from her attention and I confusingly began flirting with the rather unattractive ‘Man Down Below’ – he works in the office below me! Keith was last seen staggering towards the underground serenading Girl on Top to the tune of ‘Oops I did it again’.
Walking into work and security has not yet escorted me from the premises, which is good sign. Stopping at the cash point I have a sudden flash back to drunkenly shoving a handful of notes at the taxi driver saying ‘keep the change mate’. At least someone’s getting a bonus this year! Some spend twelve months impressing their peers; with strong work ethics they consistently demonstrate integrity, intelligence and initiative. So why, once a year, does an entire office go mental and work ethics are drowned with large quantities of alcohol? I believe the excuse of a works credit card behind the bar may support the debauchery.
A quick stop at the canteen and finally laden with a water, family size bottle of lucozade, healthy smoothie and a cheese and ham toasted bagel, I have given up remembering, there is nothing I can do now! I am embracing my restructuring failure and saying sod off to sobriety. I am prepared for whatever the office will throw at me! Stepping out of the lift and walking towards my desk I look around. There are only three maybe four people there, all sickly grey in complexion and some holding their heads only inches from the desk. Luxozade intravenous drips are stacked by the keyboards and the realisation overwhelms me; I want to sink to my knees, outstretch my arms and point towards the heavens, exclaiming gleefully ‘They don’t remember either!’