Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mixed holiday messages

Today is one of the two work holiday parties on my calendar this month. The DoD is a gigantically complex beastocracy, and there are parties organized at every level. Usually I only choose to attend the sit-down lunch for my specific agency, which is attended by a few dozen people whom I see every day. (After four or five years here, I can actually carry on a conversation with a few of them, at that.) Although I receive all the mass e-mail invites to the parties up and up the chain of command, I tend to skip those. Not only would they usually require a trek out to some other location on the rez, they would require two trips: one to RSVP and pay whatever nominal entry fee is required, and then one to the actual shindig. And both of those treks would involve a Metro ride at least, which of course I generally avoid as best I can.

But this year, the responsibilities for hosting the under-secretariat's holiday party has rotated around to my agency, so the potluck is here in our office, and it seemed like more effort to avoid attending than to just give in and take part. I make it sound terrible, I know, but I admit that it's no hardship under the circumstances, other than the mental toll of getting through the stilted artificial socializing without losing my dang mind.

What's funny (for certain definitions of "funny") is that, as I've alluded to in the past, my office is a secure workspace with numerous protocols in place to protect everything from the integrity of our assets to the lives of the workforce. Which means that in order to host a gathering of many people who don't take up cubespace here on a daily basis, we have to have a certain relaxing of the standard rules. But not too much relaxing, per an e-mail that went out earlier this week:

Remember to be vigilant of your surroundings, but to have a good time; and if you see something suspicious - report it.

I barely passed the philosophy course on symbolic logic that I took in college, but I'm pretty sure that the construction "A, and yet also B, but REALLY A" essentially boils down to "just A". Peace on earth, goodwill toward man, TRUST NO ONE.

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