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The Do

December 6th, 2010 by the_lifer

This week and next, spare a thought for all the service staff and restaurants hosting Wellington’s annual “dos”. They’re playing to a tough crowd. As budget belts stay tightened around town, staff have often contributed out of their own pockets to these events. Wellington is the wrong size for falsehoods, and it’s too easy to put the lie to any alibis. So, along we all go to our work Christmas Celebrations.

Seeing no other option, having dragged themselves along,  when they arrive at the function venue, the Departments and Ministries and Organizations suddenly expect to have wonderful fun. Drinks are demanded, buffets are ravaged, dietary restrictions are suddenly outed as servers wander around asking, “Who had the halal gluten-free?” Fighting boredom in the company of co-workers already experienced for a full 45 hours that week, scrutinizing their partners is the name of the game.

Winona is fascinated to meet the partners  in person. Her co-worker Jennifer’s partner, big and beaky in cellphone photos, unexpectedly glows with the charisma of a footy star and is a major flirt. Even he is intimidated by the bluff Mrs. Largeman. Their department manager must have learned his slyness from a lifetime of negotiating around her.

Mrs. Largeman’s gimlet eyes take Winona in top to toe. “And where’s your husband?” she booms.

Winona skips over the fact that she and Will aren’t married. “He has his work function tonight.” This is the pure truth; both of them agreed that, at this point in their revived careers, they couldn’t not go to their own work party.

Going “to the loo,” she whips out her phone and texts Will. How’s yours? This is OK but not staying late. Wayland with Ulrika?

Alas, there is no swift reply: a sure sign that Will is having a good time without her.

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