In the latest post, I shared quite a bit about the trials and tribulations of getting all new decor for the house. As The Wife expected, her coworkers were suitably impressed with her efforts. I honestly have to say that the house looked spectacular on Friday night, both inside and out. The crazy expensive lights adorning our gutters made the house glow, while the new tree and interior items brought a unique holiday feel to each room. I’m still not happy about the expense, but the result was amazing.
Now for the down side, one person who attended. A few of The Wife’s coworkers can be a bit rough around the edges at times and that led to the most uncomfortable situation I’ve ever encountered at a company holiday party.
Our friends Kevin and his wife, Beverly, are both African-American. Natalie, who is an older white woman, works for the same company as my wife and Kevin, but in a different location. I only mention the race of those involved because it pertains to the story. Kevin, Beverly, and Natalie were discussing some tax implications of owning a small business (Beverly is a self employed doctor). Apparently, Natalie’s husband is also self employed and so Natalie starts sharing all of the tricks her husband uses when customers pay him in cash to avoid taxes. Natalie lets us know that her husband hasn’t reported any cash transactions to the IRS in years.
Kevin and Beverly were attempting to listen politely as Natalie shared her husband’s underhanded financial practices, while looking for any sort of escape from the conversation. Then, Natalie takes a turn to a seriously uncomfortable area. She started making all sorts of general and generic claims about how “certain communities” (her words) abuse the system regularly and that she and her husband are just doing what those “other communities” do routinely. Natalie embarked on a rant about people who abuse the food stamps program and steal from people who are trying to make a legitimate living. She shared how she has first hand knowledge of “certain communities” who would rather buy Nike Air Jordan’s instead of feeding their babies. The final claim she was able to share was that “Hispanics and blacks routinely cheat the system.” At that point I had heard enough.
Needless to say, Kevin and Beverly were shocked and visibly upset by Natalie’s comments. I had walked up to the conversation right when Natalie was getting into her “certain communities” comments. After her outright racist claim, and seeing Kevin shake with anger, I pulled her aside and told her that she was going to have to leave immediately. She began yelling at me, saying that because her husband is Brazilian she can’t be a racist and that I’m the one who is being racist towards her. I wouldn’t let up and forced her to leave in a not totally friendly manner. I actually had to keep a tight grip on her arm as I escorted her to her car and made sure she left. She was PISSED when she drove away, doing her best to attempt to peel out in her cheap sedan. The whole time I was walking her to her car, I kept telling her that she needed to calm down and rethink what she had said and to whom she had said it. I knew I had caused a scene with Natalie, but I didn’t care. The woman had to go!
The worst part of the evening was having to go back and apologize to Kevin and Beverly for allowing Natalie to go as far as she did. I felt so horrible that they had to endure that awkward and uncomfortable situation in my house. I apologized profusely for not recognizing the situation and getting Natalie out of there sooner. They reassured me that they were fine and appreciative that I escorted Natalie out.
I’m super eager to find out what happened at work today. Hopefully Natalie came to her senses and is appalled at her own behavior. For some reason I doubt that moment of self awareness will ever happen. More than likely she is going to complain to her manager about me escorting her out of the house in a rude fashion and likely bruising her arm with my tight grip.
What’s even more interesting is that Kevin is a Senior VP at the company and has the power to make Natalie’s life a living hell as long as she stays there. I don’t know what Kevin will do, I have no idea if he will seek any sort of revenge, but I can’t wait to find out! We’re meeting up with Kevin, Beverly, and their kids for dinner right before Christmas, hopefully I’ll get some answers then!
Other than that, the party was pretty mild. Nobody, other than Natalie, got out of control. The CEO was there, so nobody over-indulged in the open bar. Because everyone embraced moderation in their beverage consumption, we now have an overflowing collection of different types of alcohol that were leftover. Neither my wife nor I drink, so we have no clue what to do with the spoils. Hmm, maybe it’s time to have a neighborhood block party!
Holiday parties are always interesting. The Wife has already volunteered our house for next year’s party. I wonder if Natalie will return (or even still be employed with the company). I’m also curious as to what new decorations we’ll need to get for next year’s party. I doubt you can have the same decor two years in a row!