Friday, June 25, 2004

Break out the sunscreen

What do you get when you combine:

A muggy and hazy June day, a verdant, quiet park just north of D.C., Old Bay-spiced crabs, picnic tables, bacon-wrapped shrimp skewers and pork barbecue sandwiches, 30 SPF sunscreen, a big green moon bounce, an inflatable playground, pick-up lacrosse, ice-cream sandwiches and lemon bars, tepid white wine, a popcorn machine the size of a mini-coooper, watermelon and cantaloupe slices, a bunch of polite and semi-distracted people in shorts and running shoes, and their many and various progeny?

Why, the annual company picnic, of course.

The picnic, as is the annual holiday company fete, seems to be dedicated to employees' kids. Never mind the employees. Besides the moon bounce, we had a nice lady face painter in case you wanted a flower painted on your cheek, a man whose sole job was to scoop popcorn into little red-striped paper bags, slides and other playground equipment, lacrosse, etc.

This is wonderful if you a) have children and b) you don't mind just sitting around watching your kids have fun. But it's a bit boring if you don't have little kids or if you want to do something else besides stuff your face with catered corn on the cob.

At the company picnic two years ago, I rallied some colleagues to play badminton, but everyone pretty much wilted in the heat after about 20 minutes besides me and my fiance. While the family folks nursed their Sprites and talked about their kids' soccer games and bowel movements, the singletons and others who don't have kids sat there like blinky-eyed toads, making polite chitchat until they felt they'd put in enough time at the event and could leave.

What would be fun for both kids and adults? Water balloons! A Slip-N'-Slide! (Okay, I guess I'm still bit of a juvenile.) A softball or soccer game I don't have to organize!

And another thing: Why can't employees bring their dogs? A park should have dogs running around in it. I like dogs. They're more interesting than babies. This from a woman in her 30's.

Today, my fiance is in Philadelphia, so he couldn't make it to the picnic. It's just as well, because I don't really feel social today and I definitely don't feel like playing camp counselor and rounding up people for an invigorating game of whiffleball.

So I ate, chatted quietly with a few colleagues, then slipped out of the party, nicking a lemon bar on my way out.

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