Posted by: peterhact | February 28, 2010

A sober man’s view of a work event

Now I am not going to name names, but I was at a work function in Sydney on Friday, and after the standard conference time of lectures and training, the evening was filled with awards, mingling, re-establishing networks and generally catching up with colleagues. After the formality of the evening had passed, we left the function site and went back to the hotel we were staying at, the Star City Casino…

And that is where the fun began. Several people hadn’t made it there, they had called it a night after a few too many reds, and I was happy to at least have caught up with them before their witching hours had caught up with them properly… Now, I must make a confession. I am not a teetotaler. I do drink. I just have an unwritten code that I don’t drink at work functions, primarily because I have to look these people in the eye in the morning, and being the guy who spoke his mind (what was left of it) after a skinful is never a nice way to be remembered. The other reason is that I can see a lot of people doing pretty bad things, and know that even if they don’t remember it, I certainly will…

The biggest surprise of the night was the bouncers at the casino. I have been to a few casinos, we even have one of sorts here in Canberra, but nothing on the scale of Star City, but I digress. The Bouncers circled the casino like a pack of sharks, singling out the weak, drunken people and ejecting them. Apparently, Drunken people is not the intent of the casino. Even with their multitude of Bars… These particular security people didn’t suggest a switch to water, not straight away, anyway. No, the first scalps that were claimed were removed from the casino. I can only imaging the reaction of the people who remained, who might have had a few, but I was “targeted” myself, which was a bit of a surprise to me, I must say. I was tired, bloodshot eyes, but completely stone cold sober. The security guard who approached me at the bar was in for a hell of a surprise. when he told the bar staff to stop serving me alcohol, only to be told that if they were to do that, I would have to buy something alcoholic  first, the look on his face was priceless. What could he do? Luckily for me he took the easy option and backed down…

Not more than an hour later, another guard tried the same maneuver, with a partner. they were following me, I was a bit light headed, the function venue did not serve us food, per se, just nibbles, so I didn’t get a lot of food for dinner. I was headed for the toilets as it had been a while, and had to stop and sit at a pokie for a sec to get my balance back. they stood behind me, and when I headed off, I must have staggered a bit, for there I was in the dunny at the trough, with these 2 massive guys standing near me, watching me. Being watched whilst taking a leak never helps me. It takes far longer to finish the job at hand. when I finally had finished, went to the sink to wash up, wet my face, and dry my hands, imagine my surprise when i looked up in the mirror, which only a moment had contained only my face, to find there were now 3 faces, and 2 of them weren’t anyone I knew. My next surprise was the hand drying apparatus, not a blower on the wall, but a contraption that you dipped your hands into, made by Dyson. (I was really impressed by this device, can you tell?) It was an experience that left my hands bone dry.

When I left the toilets, these 2 guys finally decided to approach me. Again, they decided to let me “off” with a change of drinking from alcohol to water or soft drink. Funny that, it was what I had been drinking all night thus far. For whatever reason, they left me alone for the remainder of the night, preferring to eject my mates, as they succumbed to the evil drink. The first one I saw go was a repeat offender, from prior work events, and he was so far gone, his eyes were just slits. the effort to keep his eyes open had deserted him. I watched through the evening, as our numbers decreased slowly, till at about 3am, i called it a night, and escorted a friend to her room, before making my way to my room and the oblivion of sleep.

There were a couple of standout events, I received a big hug and kiss on the cheek from a workmate, which was a bit of a surprise, but the look on his face when I told him that I would never wash that cheek ever again, as I held him in high regard compensated for the looks I got from everyone else who saw him do it… There was the guy who bought me a drink, who obviously was having a good night, considering he gave the bar staff $100 chip tips. I remembered to thank him for the coke. I think he was a bit surprised that it was only a coke… There was the guy I bumped into, spilling my drink on the ground, he was so embarrassed he insisted on buying me a replacement. He was a massive guy, I was certain I was going to end the night with a fat lip… I even had a discussion with a couple of people about some of my ideas that I had submitted – they were very keen to discuss them with me at a later date. As they were members of the management team, I felt firstly amazed that they had read the submissions, and secondly honored that they were interested in my opinion. I met a lot of interesting people, put faces to names that I had spoken to on the phone, and just had a generally good night.

The upshot of me being sober? There is a lot more I remember. But I also have the good grace to keep it to myself. I really enjoyed the night, and thank the entire team who organised it. They really went all out in making it a great experience.

I attempted to drive home on a fairly small amount of sleep. This was a big mistake. I had to stop at a rest stop and have an hour’s kip. This was after I fell asleep at the wheel, drifted onto the wakeups on the side of the road and snapped back, awake. I have never done that before, and I certainly won’t do it again. It felt so peaceful, but when i snapped back, I could have been dead, or dying… the ads on TV are so accurate. I felt a fool for doing it, being smart enough to recognise when i really am tired. Pushing on is no excuse, it is just dumb.



  1. The subject is fully clear but why does the text lack clarity? But in general your blog is great.

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