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Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘anxiety’

I like your idea of fun

Or, doing things in your own way

So, we’re coming to the end of a strange and challenging year. And I know it’s been a strange and challenging year, because at the office we’re in the middle of our end-of-year staff reviews and the phrase “this has been a strange and challenging year for all of us” features prominantly when summing up what’s been going on.

One aspect of this strange and challenging December, though, is something I’m actually quite enjoying. The death of the Office Christmas Party, where you and all your colleagues squeeze in to a cramped and busy restaurant for some mediocre food and the chance to pull a cracker. They do vary, of course: some are better than others. The year we went to allegedly the biggest all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant in Europe was a particular low point: at any time of the year, eating there involves so much queuing and slowly shuffling around under neon signs holding a plate that by the end of the evening you feel like an extra in a cyberpunk remake of Oliver! Wherever you end up, though, the food is never great, the music is always awful, and there are far too many people around who are very, very drunk. This was even the case a few years back when due to a double-booking mix-up we ended up having to have our Christmas Party in early November, way before anybody had even had a mince pie.

This year, though, no cramming into a crowded restaurant! Hurrah! Instead, we’re having a Remote Christmas Meal—order from wherever you like and expense it—and various other events spread through the month organised by different departments and teams. I’ve ended up booked into about four pub quizzes because quite a few teams have gone for that as a default option,*, but there’s plenty of variety and choice, and, more importantly, it’s all optional. There are enough different Christmas activities going on that I can dip into a mince pie eating session one day, a pub quiz the next and help judge a tree-decorating competition the day after. Because it’s all optional, none of it seems at all forced.

I know a lot of you don’t really feel like remote socialising is real socialising at all; find it more stressful than the pre-2020 in-person kind of socialising. For someone like me, though, it’s a comfort to know I can just switch Zoom off and I’m back in my own room again. Even in-person, though, I’d always have much preferred this idea of a slate of smaller Christmas events that you don’t have to go to if you don’t want to, than the traditional standard Everyone Goes Out office party. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat a mince pie and tomorrow watch someone try to disguise their cat as a reindeer. Cheers!

* In fact I’ve already won one of them at the time of writing.

Christmas shopping

In which we ponder a potential office faux pas

Christmas shopping for the second weekend running. I might not have bought any presents yet still, but I’m well stocked-up on cards now.

Stupid social worry #273: will people at the office mind when lots of them end up getting the same design of card? All the 10- or 20-card multipacks, you see, only have one or two different designs in. I’m worried that everyone at work is going to be comparing notes: “Oh, he gave you the same design as him, but I got the same one as her.” Which, clearly, is nonsense; but that doesn’t stop me worrying about it.

What's In A Name

In which we discuss the name of this site

So far, I haven’t tried to explain the name of this site; and nobody’s asked, probably because very few people read it. I thought it up whilst sitting one afternoon on Doncaster station, waiting for a rather late train, and ever since I’ve been worried that it’s too pretentious.

The meaning came second, but if you ask me it’s a good meaning, so that doesn’t really matter very much. The Forest isn’t made of solid wood and trees, but it is there, around us. It’s there all the time, but some days you can see it more than others. Some days you feel that whatever happens to you, however wonderful, you’ll still be feeling awful at the end of the day and you still won’t have achieved anything. That’s because you’re stuck in the Forest, and you haven’t managed to fight your way out of it yet. This site is – at its deepest root – all about doing just that, because it’s written by me, and that’s what I spend an awful lot of my time doing.

That last sentence makes this site sound as if it’s going to be very, very personal, all the time. That’s not true. It also makes this site sound as if it’s going to be very, very pretentious, all the time. I’m going to try to make sure that that’s not true either.

The monster up at the top right does have a name. I’ll get onto that another time, though. I might even make t-shirts.