I’ve never been particularly reckless. I’m not the type of guy that rides a motorcycle or goes on holiday without planning where I’m going to stay first. I’m more methodical than that, ‘a safe pair of hands’ as someone once described me. I’m not like that deliberately, I just find it incredibly uncomfortable to be uncertain of an outcome.
But something came over me which I’ve never felt before. I don’t know if it was desperation or depression but something just snapped. I’ve been at a two day conference at the Amsterdam Hilton discussing the various marketing techniques for zips. Some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to have a conference run right up to Christmas Eve. It was probably cheap to hire.
Last night in the bar, I was watching everybody drinking and having a good time. Most of us go way back and so these conferences are usually just an excuse to party in the evenings. I was having more fun than I’d had in a long time. We were all singing Christmas songs at the top of our voices and it was the sort of night that could go on forever.
When I finally arrived back in my room in the early hours of this morning, I started thinking about a lot of things in life which had changed. Nights like that used to always happen but now, I was lucky if we were invited to a tame dinner party. The women who were at the hotel seemed to be happy, they were having fun and weren’t talking about shopping or picking kids up from places.
I wanted the night to go on forever. I could still hear the revelry in the corridor outside, I could still hear people having fun. I began to think about incidents which could cause us all to be forced to stay in the hotel over Christmas. Surely everyone would like that. We could have fun nights like this, over and over again.
I began to plan a Christmas and New Year vacation with all of these beautiful people. There was nowhere on earth I’d rather be and I thought they’d all feel the same. They were all so happy last night, singing songs and having fun.
Suddenly, the obvious solution came to me. I guess looking back in hindsight it may have been a touch heavy-handed but I really didn’t want to go home. The whole idea of coming in through the door, kids running up to me, sitting down for a Christmas dinner with her family, playing shitty games that only come out once a year for a reason. It wasn’t like that here last night. We were free and wild, we were having fun and the women were so happy.
I’d never done anything that crazy before but at the time it didn’t really feel any different. There was a new girl that had been working at the branch in Prague. Nobody really knew her, she was a bit of an outsider and I didn’t feel as though she was probably going to be missed. The only reason I knew of her was because I met her when I was checking in and she happened to be walking in to the room next to mine.
I thought that everyone was going to feel the same way that I did. Sometimes I guess you just have to hold up your hands and accept that you judged it wrong. It turns out that most of the people did want to get home for Christmas.
As soon as I realised that, well, I gave myself up to the authorities and tried to apologise to as many as people as I could before I was thrust into the back of this Dutch police car. Apparently, the girl was married and had three children. I don’t know if that makes it worse or not, but I definitely didn’t think of it at the time. I didn’t think she’d be missed, she didn’t mention the kids when I met her in the corridor. Perhaps if she’d told me a bit more about herself, been more forthcoming with the information then it might not have happened. I suppose we’re all to blame in a way.
Anyway, I’ve realised that I’m not good at being reckless, I think I’ve learnt that about myself this Christmas. Some people can have a drink and then just see where it takes them but not me. It’s probably good if I allow myself some time to think things through. I doubt I’ll be invited to the next zip conference but at least I’ve managed to get out of going home for Christmas.