Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winner, winner

Here’s a bit of amusement that happened last week but I never got around to sharing with the onrush of the holiday break. I already filled you guys in on my adventures last week in procuring brownies on the way from home to the VRE station in the dark of morning and managing to leap dramatically onto the train just as it was about to leave the platform. (Would have been cooler still if I had actually jumped onto a moving train, but man, they never let you have any fun in this overly litigious nanny-state of ours these days.) To a large extent I glossed over the mindgames which ensued inside my head on the train ride that morning, because it would have been SO like me to go through all that two-fisted baked-goods-nabbing pre-dawn adventure and then forget the brownies on the train when I got to Crystal City, or even worse on the Metro when I got to Rosslyn (worse simply because I hate Metro so very, very much. And they already have an umbrella of mine.) In any event, the requisite self-psyching to remember the damn brownies worked, and I brought them to the office party, and all was well.

I ended up leaving the office party early (although not until after I had one of the brownies because, man, isn’t that the worst when you sign up to bring exactly what you like and then you don’t even get any at the party?) because it ran long and I hadn’t brought a gift for the Yankee Swap; I find Yankee Swaps moderately amusing and worthwhile when conducted amongst friends but pointlessly and painfully awkward amongst loosely acquainted co-workers. What I hadn’t realized when I left the party was that after the Yankee Swap there would be a drawing for door prizes. Nor was I aware that I had been entered in the drawing, although apparently that is exactly what signing up to bring brownies and also paying my share (fifteen bucks) of the party costs got me. If I had been aware of all that, I might have thought that it was one of those “must be present to win” type of deals and that still wouldn’t have changed anything and I still would have bailed. But despite all of the above, my name was drawn, which I found out when one of my closet-mates called my desk extension to make sure I hadn’t left for the day and inform me that he would be bringing the gift basket down shortly. I expressed my disbelief that I had won and he assured me that it was not only the case but also that the gift basket was very nice: “It’s got a bunch of beer in it!”

And my first thought in response to that was “Ohhhh, my wife’s gonna kill me.”

Not without good reason, of course. A combination of recent factors have manifested in what would have once been The Unthinkable: too much beer. The factors in question are diminishing opportunities to kick back and tie one on, which in turn means that my tolerance has gone back to about where it was when I was seventeen or so, which means I’m less inclined to crack open a few cold ones because it will mean a day’s worth of uselessness instead of (not even in addition to!) a couple hours of pleasant mellowness, which in turn means further diminished opportunities and so on, AND yet on the other hand increased affluence which means when we host parties from time to time we want to do it right and gets lots of different varieties of beer to please all palates, AND YET AGAIN our friends who come to these parties and would ostensibly drink the beer now drink less than they used to. And on and on it goes, but one thing which hasn’t changed is my rock-solid conviction that (unless it gets accidentally skunked) beer should never just be thrown away.

So for a while we’ve had a case of beer chilling out on the back deck and more than a few loose bottles taking up space on the top shelf of the fridge. My wife quite reasonably asked that the vast majority of this beer be consolidated in the garage before Christmas, when refrigerator space would be at an absolute premium, and I happily acknowledged the wisdom in this and obliged her. And then I won some more beer at work. Which, honestly, was just going to go straight into the same spot in the garage, so I never really feared any kind of matrimonial homicide, but the irony was not lost on me.

The other hilarious aspect of this turn of events was that I had to get the gift basket home via metro and VRE. On the positive side, it was much bigger and bulkier than a grocery bag full of brownies, and since it was impossible to even fit on the floor at my feet and had to sit on my lap there was virtually no chance of me forgetfully leaving it behind on the train. On the negative side, it was much bigger and bulkier than a grocery bag full of brownies, and it was also awkward and heavy. The basket contained three bottles of beer, two single-serving sized bottles of wine, a can of almonds, a bag of Andes mints, a bag of yogurt-covered pretzels, a package of Ferrero Rocher, a bag of Sausalito cookies, and probably some other stuff I’m currently forgetting which, heck yes and all, is super nice but OOF. Burdened with all those goodies as I was, negotiating the down escalator at the Metro station alone became even more hazardous than jumping onto a moving train.

You might recall that I had also previously related the good fortune my wife and I had at her office party, between fake casino gambling winnings and the resulting prizes plus raffle drawings and so on. So it was a little bit surreal to me that I also won the door prize at my own office party. It makes me feel like I need to get on out to Vegas, or at the very least the new table games out in West Virginia. By the time I get around to that, though, the winning streak may have run its course. Until then, though, it’s hard to argue with free beer, even if you have to hand-carry it home to add to a semi-ridiculous existing stockpile.

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