Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Hour

When I first came to the US Happy Hour was introduced to me as the main way of socializing with co-workers
(For my Indian audience:- Happy hour is where you sit down at a bar/pub with friends/colleagues and drink a few beers, talk about sports, or anything else that can be yelled over the din of a 100 people drinking and yelling around you. Oh, and don't forget inhaling second hand smoke...my clothes smell smoky and well, incredibly smoky whenever I emerge from a bar/pub. Actually, now that I think of it, I think that Happy Hour is actually a term coined by bars to identify a time-slot where drinks are cheaper than usual...so that is supposed to make you happy and some more)
I went a couple of times and got thoroughly bored. I didn't go for Happy Hour for months afterward. I must admit that I was missing a way to meet people from other departments.

I was generally cribbing about this to my AOL Part-2 course teacher. She advised me to have a social life, and to resume going to Happy Hour. So, I have been to three Happy Hours after that.


Post Course Happy Hour 1: I must admit that it was pretty good. Despite the fact that I was drinking only grapefruit juice, I still had a lively conversation with a Singaporean (of Tam-Bram origin) and a Vietnamese. Both were really friendly and we managed to talk about topics that didn't put me to sleep! The Singaporean was the one who invited me and told me not to fret about feeling out of place - that it was perfectly acceptable for me to drink water instead of beer.
Of course, I still ended up with a headache after 2 hours, so I paid for my drink and left.

Happy Hour 2: This one was with our team(People A, B, C, D and E, Z), and a group of people from out-of town(H, I, J, K, L) and a couple of people from other departments(F and G) that we were hosting. I have to maintain anonymity so please don't mind the "names". A, B, C, Z, F, G, H, I, J, K and L were in training together. I am D, and E is the only other woman. D and E invited H, I, J, K, L, G and F to join us for Happy Hour - we were acting upon A's instructions. They didn't even acknowledge us properly. I have never felt so inconsequential in my life. We were beginning to wonder if they would even show up.
So D and E then went to reserve the table at the restaurant. D ordered a non-alocholic pina colada, and E ordered an iced-tea. B and C joined us later. So far so good. Then trooped in the rest. By the way, most of them didn't know my name. They just sat, and began talking among themselves.
Well, I must tell you that we were the most neglected hosts in all of civilized history. You must be thinking, but you are the hosts..shouldn't you take the initiative? Well, because we had gone first to reserve seats, we were in a corner. And they just gave us such aloof vibes that it was tough to talk to them. I must also mention that D and E are sort of on the bottom rungs of the hierarchy, but I have never been made to feel that way before.

C and E left after sometime. E introduced herself as she left...and was met with polite but dispassionate responses. Then A showed up. H began talking about work to him. I(D) left 5 minutes later - but those 5 minutes seemed like FOREVER. B was also sitting quietly next to me. It was just so awkward. I too introduced myself as I left. I could see mild looks of surprise and indifference on the visitors - "Oh, who are you? I didn't even realize you existed?"
What a blow to my ego to be ignored like that!!!! I am not being vain or anything, but I do consider myself a nice person to talk to and look at (if nothing else - I was decently dressed that day, and I had actually bothered to comb my hair during lunch break for a change) I mean, they weren't even interested in knowing WHO i was!! Usually, people at least ask me if I work for A or Z.

Happy Hour 3: This was the same crowd as Happy Hour 1, plus some more people. I was in a conversation with 1 Indian and 3 white people and surprisingly I had something to say and I didn't get too bored. That was because the only sport they talked about was one of them participating in a Demolition Derby - apparently it is like bumper-cars, with real big trucks and SUVs instead. I also spoke for a bit to the Singaporean and the Vietnamese. I also said hello to everyone else. So it was quite nice. I just had water, but I still felt good. I left after 1 hour, my shawl reeking of second-hand smoke.

Anyway, if you have made it this far, you are either my mom, or you really have nothing important to do at the moment. Because I must admit that this isn't one of my more interesting articles. I am severly constrained by confidentiality agreements and the like.. So plis excoos me.

1 comment:

tnc said...

nopes, I'm not your mom, but I plead guilty on the other count - have some time while my comp churns out numbers... and the posts are interesting :)... took a while to figure the Googoo Baby was u though...