Anatomy of a Company Picnic
June 23, 2004
Or, When Life is an Episode of The Office Just Waiting to Happen
Or, The Longest Entry Ever
Part One: The Memo
We're pleased to invite you and your immediate family or a guest to our upcoming Company Picnic on Wednesday, June 23 from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Employees are excused from work at 1:30 p.m. to attend the picnic. If you choose not to attend you are expected to remain at work.) The picnic goes on rain or shine. Should the weather be bad (heaven forbid!), there is covered seating available.
There will be numerous activities for all ages including: softball, volleyball, horseshoes, miniature golf, basketball, ping pong, and field games for kids and grown-ups alike! We’re also featuring some new and returning favorites this year. These include a double dump truck slide (new), a horse-drawn hay ride, a moon bounce, remote controlled NASCAR racing, and a bucking mechanical bull - (it was so much fun last year!) We will also enjoy a "fun in the sun" entertainment package from Bristol Sounds Deejays.
In addition to all the fun, you can plan on plenty of good food and beverages. Barbecued chicken and spareribs will be served along with vegetarian baked beans, green salad, corn-on-the-cob, cranberry sauce, pickle chips, applesauce, three-bean salad, rolls w/butter, potato chips and snack cake desserts. In addition to the main course, we will have Nachos available all day. And, if that's not enough, you can save room for individual ice cream treats in the late afternoon.
Beverages -- consisting of soft drinks, beer, wine and coffee -- will be served throughout the day. (Beer and wine will be served only if you have proper I.D. and will be limited to one drink per person per visit. In other words, you can't carry a drink back to your spouse or friend unless they also provide proper I.D.)
Part Two: Resist urge to copyedit memo and tape on HR's door. Grumble about "Nachos" being a proper noun for some reason. Shut up about it. Attempt to RSVP via a fancy online form on the company intranet. Give up, call HR to RSVP. Try not to laugh when asked if my spouse will be attending. Haaa, right. Hang up. Wonder if maybe I should have asked around to see if anyone else is going. Shit. Print out directions to picnic.
Part Three: Forget about picnic completely until Tuesday, June 22 at 4:30 pm. Completely revise work schedule and write many post-its reminding self to bring picnic clothes to work, as they're still making us wear suits in the morning. Print out directions to picnic.
Part Four: P-Day, Zero Hour
9:30ish a.m. Arrive at work, picnic clothes wadded up into wee Coach bag.
9:45 Print out directions to picnic.
10:02 Find out friend cannot go to the picnic after all. Neither can other friend. Other friend still on vacation. Shit.
10:15 Feel small and unpopular.
10:22 Oh right. Work.
10:27 Work work work.
10:30 Am super productive, really. Should get a raise.
10:47 Assistant asks if she can follow me to picnic. Print out directions for her. She seems shocked when I tell her I probably won’t be arriving there promptly at 2 p.m.
11:34 Seriously dude, EVERYBODY is blowing off the picnic. Dude.
11:37 Consider blowing off the picnic.
11:43 Determine that I cannot blow off picnic for the following reasons: I RSVP’d and unless someone picks up my nametag from the sign-in table, I’ll get a stern lecture about how the company paid for my share of Nachos and rolls w/butter and since I wasn’t there the money was wasted and could have gone to poor children and the rolls are all stale now. Also, I do not want to stay at work doing work stuff all day. Also, free beer and wine.
12:00 p.m. Did not bring lunch. Forgot how hard it is to wait for picnic food. Go eat miniature Snickers from office Candy Corner.
12:56 Holy crap. Hungry. Eat three Twizzlers and miniature Twix.
1:13 Huzzah! One person is going to picnic. No, two!
1:45 Assistant leaves for picnic. Adorable.
2:26 Get following email from practically last person I know going to picnic: I think I’m gonna bail out on the picnic…you?
2:28 Oh hell no.
2:32 For no real reason, guilt email-sender into coming to picnic, reminding him of that one time he bailed on the Christmas party and then the picnic once I think and shouldn’t we be a better example to poor assistant who has NOT had zeal for life and corporate spirit sucked from her yet?
2:33 Translation: I’m going to be miserable, and I’d like you to join me please, thank you.
2:40 Change into picnic clothes. Shove super-expensive work clothes into wee Coach bag. Shit.
2:42 Print out directions to picnic.
2:44 Leave. Alone. Brave face on. Leave directions on desk.
3:00 Miss turn. Drive two miles out of way before finding place for U-turn.
3:10 Arrive at picnic. It’s sort of raining. Fantastic.
3:17 Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god I don’t know anyone here. Health publishing side of business outnumbers wealth publishing side by a bajillion to one.
3:18 Holy FUCK, there’s a clown. Named Crackers. Driving around like a crazy person in a little miniature car. Cannot breathe, shaking.
3:19 Debate which looks worse: woefully wandering around looking for familiar faces with or without a beer in hand.
3:22 Assistant! And other people I never talk to but sort of know!
3:30 Picnic organizers keep announcing last call for children’s “field games.” Everyone momentarily perks up upon hearing “ffff-“, but when it’s not “food is served”, everyone dies a little inside. So very hungry.
3:32 The DJ is trying very hard to get people to join in a hula hoop contest. Is honest-to-godly playing the Macarena.
3:34 Damn, there are some serious skanks on the health team.
3:35 Skanks who hula hoop, apparently.
3:37 – 3:50 Beer. And PLEASE MAKE THE CLOWN STOP DRIVING AROUND IN CIRCLES.
3:51 There's white zinfandel from a TAP, for crissakes.
3:54 Try to think of a company activity that DIDN’T involve the Electric Slide. Cannot.
4:00 We’re all getting a little hammered. And a little mean and catty. Somebody Important’s Important Wife? TOTALLY has hair extensions. Please. Hair don't grow that fast, sister.
4:02 Dude, people are wearing those ugly T-shirts they gave out for the cruise last fall. Like dozens of them.
4:03 Discuss with coworkers the varied fates that befell our company T-shirts. Painting, carwash, gave to dog, etc.
4:15 Fucking food line.
4:18 Panic. Have lost sight of coworkers. Am wandering around with a plate of chicken and baked beans with no place to sit like it’s the high school cafeteria.
4:19 Found them. Cling.
4:20 Why are there no knives?
4:23 Eat barbeque chicken in silence using fingers and cheap plastic fork. Stupid knives.
4:27 Notice that the mechanical bull’s inflatable “pen” is decorated with inflatable palm trees. Huh?
4:30 Coworker: “This is where mechanical bulls come to die. They go from Urban Cowboy to country western bars to this. Their agent goes, think CORPORATE, and then here they are, surrounded by inflatable palm trees, terrified that one company will give their employees KNIVES.”
4:31 Me: “Do you have a blog? Because seriously. You should.”
4:34 Important VP is hovering around the exit area. Shit.
4:40 Notice graphic of rooster is also on beer cups. Rooster is chasing hen. Heh.
4:42 Funny-as-hell-coworker declares my powers of observation to be superhero-like. Seriously calls me Queen of the Mundane.
4:46 Imagine new site banner with rooster graphic. Heh.
4:48 Fucking clown. Stop it. Stopit stopit.
4:53 Decide to get “snack cake dessert” for road. Maybe two.
4:57 Am free! Free!
5:17 Fucking picnic grounds with the one fucking entrance with the fucking traffic light that lets three fucking cars through at a fucking time.
5:20 Eat cupcakes. Both of them.
6:00 Home. Saved NO TIME by going to picnic. Diet is in ruins. Cannot find scissors to cut Green Wristband of Power off.
6:20 p.m. – 11:15 a.m. Write longest entry ever. Jeez.