Today our company had its Summer Outing, which basically consisted of driving out to the boondocks of Virginia to a farm, and was by far the lamest company outing I have ever been to. First of all, most people don’t even go – its a bad sign when people choose to go to work over free beer and food. Part of that is the distance that one has to drive, as the farm is way out past Dulles towards Leesburg, never the best of commutes. I luckily got a ride, during which I mostly amused by self by describing to the native Virginian giving me a ride why I hate Virginia, stressing one of my views by pointing out the awful uninspired housing developments being constructed along the highways to our destination.
When we finally arrived we were greeted by some volunteers who gaves us name tags as well as a $5 Starbucks gift card, which I’m told they promptly ran out of for everyone else. I took a quick tour of my surroundings, which consisted of picnic tables, a sand volleyball court, two horseshoes pits, and face painting. It was at the face painting table that I ran into my boss, who brought his little son with him. Which basically amounts to what these company picnics are – an occasion to show off your children. I was almost tempted to bring a child along of my own to make things more interesting, perhaps I would not have been as bored. I chatted with my boss for a bit, noticing that he and his son were wearing the same pair of shoes. Aww…how cute! I then tried to convince the lady at the face painting to give me the Spiderman treatment, but nothing doing.
So I wandered back to where my coworkers were sitting at the picnic tables, where they had chosen to whip out UNO. As exciting as the prospect was to play UNO on my off day, an extra juggernut was thrown in when it tuns out that pretty much no one knew how to play. I mean, come on. Its UNO. 3 and up. What did you grow up playing anyway? Then we had to explain it to the rest of the table, and after a couple of rounds, people caught on. I won like three games in a row, then decided to see what else was going on. I lingered at the horseshoes pit for a bit, and talked to a few of my coworkers there, none who I knew. They explained to me the rules of the game, but I didn’t have a partner so it didn’t look like I would play for a while.
Finally the food came out, whch was pork, chicken and hamburgers, cooked in a kettle grill, along with chicken salad, corn bread, watermelon – the usual picnic stuff. The food was pretty good, which I was happy about. My coworkers insisted the only point of the picnic was the raffle, and that they would leave right afterwards. I thought this was stupid, might as well do something while we are here. Besides, when I asked whether they ever won, they said no, some consultants who aren’t even at the picnic always manage to win.
So I wandered again, and after seeing three people mess around on the volleyball court decided to join in and get a mini game going. I am not a great volleyball player by any stretch of the imagination, but athletic enough to get the ball over and chase the errant hits coming from the other side. I even dove for the ball a bit, which actually resulted in me getting a nasty sand scrape along my right arm.
The game subsided after a bit and I headed back to the picnic tables, only to notice the raffle was in full swing. My coworker noticed my bleeding arm, and promptly pulled a bottle of Purrell out of her bag so I could apply some. Man, did that burn. I let out a sound of shock as I applied it, and then was given some more in my hand.
Right at this time my coworker started tugging at my shoulder and telling me they called my name. I gave her an incredulous look, certain she was pulling my leg, but then others chimed in. So I hurried up to the stage, arm bleeding and with a hand still full of Purrell, probabaly looking very flustered. I graciously accepted an envelope with my bleeding hand (the other had Purrell) and quickly returned to my seat. When I opened the envelope (as others crowded around me in anticipation) I discovered I received a $75 gift certificate to the Clydes Restuarant Group. Sweet.
Others muttered that they never win anything, how come I did, and I should take them out. And then they got up and left for home, and since I needed a ride, I had to go with them rather than meet and talk to people. Maybe I will take them out, but I’m just glad I won something. I like to think that the fact I tried to make the most of the day off made me a deserving candidate, though, and I felt some redemption…