Don’t Ever Leave Me Alone With Anyone, Ever

Last night, at my wife’s company Christmas party, I was left alone with a table full of auditors. I was on my fourth Michelob Ultra (hey, any port in a storm) and I was feeling a little loose. So I decided on a pretty risky course of action: to participate in the conversation.

The group seemed friendly enough. They were all responsible young professionals — the kind who make a beeline for the food table when arriving in these types of situations (as opposed to the open bar). I said something like, “So, have you guys been keeping up with the Kardashians?”

But instead of polite laughter — which I was hoping for — all I got were looks of bemusement. One of them said, “Are you talking about the television show?” And I said yes, adding that I had only been joking. This seemed to confuse things further, but I took a hard swig of my beer and we pressed on.

I decided next to pretend that I understand how accounting works. The way I went about this was to ask how their end-of-the-year audit was going, then casually drop bits of Excel formulas I’d memorized into the mix. This worked about as well as you would imagine.

Eventually someone asked — as nicely as possible — who I was (a fair question). I explained that I was only affiliated with the company through marriage, then pointed at my wife. She was across the room having a perfectly normal discussion with someone else I didn’t know. I tried to communicate “S.O.S.” to her telepathically.

Then, by the sheer grace of god, one of the auditors inquired as to how she and I met. Gleefully, I let forth with all the details. I expected that afterward they would regale me with stories about how they each met their significant others. Or at least share some humorous anecdotes about recent dating experiences.

Really, I would have accepted anything to fill the silence. Including: sob-filled accounts of lost love… elaborate dissertations on relationship “non-negotiables”… even a philosophical argument over physician-assisted suicide was welcome.

Unfortunately, I learned that all three of my tablemates have made the decision to focus on their careers right now. And while this is something I could get behind normally, it was a great hindrance to my desperate attempts at small talk. So after seriously weighing the pros and cons of introducing euthanasia into the conversation, I figured I should just throw in the towel.

I excused myself to get another drink. Then I strolled over to my wife with the intention of scolding her for not extracting me. Before I could say anything though, she kissed me sweetly and told me how proud she was that she could leave me with total strangers and not have to worry that I’d act like a blithering idiot.

Deflated, I smiled and introduced myself to the head of the marketing department. TC mark

image – Lenore Edman

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  • Anonymous

    This is so cute. Thank you for sharing. I have had similar experiences, but without the love of a perfect significant other to thank more for my suffering at the end. I am glad to hear there are people that are so kind. :-)

  • Sarah

    Some (many?) people just suck at making small talk. It’s awkward for everyone, they just don’t know how to handle it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      I’m one of those people.  It’s probably best that I just don’t speak…I get so awkward with silence that I’ll attempt to fill it by discussing the Dahmer crime scenes photos I just looked at.   

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    True story, I shouted ‘we’re born between piss and shit’ at a woman at my boyfriend’s company Xmas party.

  • Cal

    I think the title Keeping Up With The Kardashians just refers to the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”, it doesn’t have anything to do with “keeping in touch” with them. Sorry. Pet peeve.

    • mya

      but that’s why it’s punny!

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Whoa, whoa.  You have a wife?  Looks like my Christmas wish isn’t coming true this year…

  • Sophia

    story. of. my. life. i can relate so hard to this. small talk with people i have nothing in common with practically gives me an anxiety attack, just thinking about it

  • http://twitter.com/niceflying Emma

    OMG did you talk about how the concatenate function is the best function of all the functions?
    Because, really, the concatenate function is the best function of all the functions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      Concatenate, concatenate, what’s your function? 
      Stringing two or more words or text strings from different cells..   

      • MC

        Nothing like a little poorly disguised Schoolhouse Rock to really fix up an awkward silence…

  • SueBeDoo

    Hahaha, I love this! I actually work at a mid tier accounting firm, in the audit department (granted, I’m the PA to the Partners, so not an actual auditor) so can see where you’re coming from with being stuck at a table of auditors.  Yeah, that stereotype does exist, however, they’re not so bad!   Most of the year the auditors I work with are finding ways to play practical jokes on each other, and not actually working all that hard ;-)   Most of the work functions I drag my fiancee to he always finds someone who has the same sick/offbeat humour that he does, or to have a smoke with. 

    • future gopher

      Haha believe it or not, some accountants actually have a sense of humor (not sure about the tax folks)!  I work in audit for one of the big 4 in NYC.  You would have a hard time shutting them up if you asked them about the PCAOB and FASB/IASB.  :p

  • beatrice

    Which is precisely why parties like this suck. I mean, if there’s ever going to be a party/dinner with people you don’t know, at least make sure they get along. Props to you buddy

  • Anonymous

    People who have made the decision to focus on their careers = Conversation Killers

  • Crystle

    Omg! These archives are amazing!!! I will be here for days!

  • Rachel

    This sounds like one of the reasons I’m not going to prom.

  • Clinko

    The only thing worst than small talk is not even being able to make it when it’s necessary. Brave!

  • Kyle Johnson

    Great build up. I laughed the entire time. 

  • http://alexmoschina.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/dont-ever-leave-me-alone-with-anyone-ever/ Don’t Ever Leave Me Alone With Anyone, Ever « Alex Moschina

    […] Don’t Ever Leave Me Alone With Anyone, Ever […]

  • http://alexmoschina.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/dont-ever-leave-me-alone-with-anyone-ever/ Don’t Ever Leave Me Alone With Anyone, Ever « Alex on the Interwebs

    […] Don’t Ever Leave Me Alone With Anyone, Ever Last night, at my wife’s company Christmas party, I was left alone with a table full of auditors. I was on my fourth Michelob Ultra (hey, any port in a storm) and I was feeling a little loose. So I decided on a pretty risky course of action: to participate in the conversation… [READ THE REST] […]

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