There was an "IT Appreciation" event being advertised by the company, however, and one of my co-workers whined at me incessantly most of the day in class because he wanted to go, and he was afraid that if I did not come along then he would end up sitting by himself all evening. He is even more introverted than I am, so it was a good likelihood that he would have done just that. Finally I agreed to to go to the function with the promise that we would leave early.
I got back to my hotel room at about twenty after eleven, so you can guess how well that worked out.
Ultimately the two of us ended up at a table of our own while a succession of people who know him through business relationships (and a couple who knew me) wandered by to chat now and again.
It turned out that it was not a company-sponsored affair, but rather something being hosted by some of our vendors who were holding the party in appreciation for all the business (money) we have sent their way in the past few years. There was a bit of token food (some sandwich wedges, chicken wings and dry ribs) and then as much as you wanted to drink. They gave everyone 2 drink tickets on arrival, but any time you wandered by to get another one they would never give you less than three.
I lost count after six pints of beer and three glasses of wine. I think that I probably had more than that this evening, but I honestly lost count. What was slightly disturbing was that I was one of the more sober people there. As I was wandering around and mingling with others in our IT department (I didn't spend the WHOLE night camped at one table) I had the opportunity to have some rather awkward chats with very drunk people who I knew to be mangers 2-3 levels above me in the food chain.
You know it's going to be awkward when a discussion starts with, "So, plonq, I undershtand you are dissatishfied with your shalary level..."
Fortunately I don't believe that it is possible for me to get drunk enough to let my guard down at a company function, so I think I managed to disarm the situation before any real harm happened to my career. I did a bit of very politic damage control before he got distracted by a pair of legs at a nearby table and quickly excused himself.
To be honest, I kind of set myself up for it. I spotted him in the crowd, and recognized him from an earlier visit to the head office a couple of years back, and I staggered down to introduce myself. If I had been a couple of drinks earlier in the evening I'd have remembered the minor fact that he was the guy who drove us to the party in the first place. D'oh. What can I say? I'm bad with faces and names.
Overall it was a lot of fun - a real throwback to some of the older days at the railroad.