Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time – Holiday Incarceration



 I was trapped at my husband Brian’s work Christmas party with no obvious means of escape. I know because I’d spent the last thirty minutes trying to squeeze out through an undersized bathroom window.

Brian busted me when I wasn’t back before snacks were served. It’s unlike me to miss snacks. He told me he figured I had either died or made a break for it, and that if I snuck out without him, I would die, rather literally, when he caught up to me.

“Fine,” I snapped at him in a hushed whisper. “I’ll come back to the stupid ‘party,’ (I object to the use of that word) but you’re going to owe me.”

“You’re missing snacks,” he tempted me.

I rolled my eyes and climbed off the toilet.

“Here,” he said as he handed me my boots. I’d taken them off when I crawled onto the toilet to access the window because I was afraid their hard soles would make noise on the ceramic and my escape would be thwarted.

Turns out the narrow window and my not-so-narrow hips prevented my escape anyway. I eat too many stupid snacks.

I put my boots back on and followed him out of the bathroom. I made a genuine effort not to pout. I’m not sure I managed it, but I gave myself points for effort.

The other guests were seated in my husband’s boss’ living room sipping “holiday punch” (fruit punch sans adult beverage) and munching slices of American cheese and Saltines.

I shot Brian a nasty look. These were the snacks I’d traded my freedom for? Even my five-year-old niece would know I’d gotten a bad deal.

The guests munched like cows. No one dared move from their chair for fear they would draw attention to themselves. No one spoke, possibly for the same reason, or more likely it was that they had nothing meaningful to say.

To pass the time, I nibbled a cracker and eyed each of Brian’s coworkers trying to decide who would snap from boredom first.

I was afraid it would be me.

Why are actual work holiday parties nothing like the parties on TV? Just once in my life, I want to chug a bottle of champagne and dare a coworker to photocopy his bare bottom. Is that too much to ask?

When our sentence ended and we were released from the party, Brian and I fled to our car.

“You’re a free woman,” he teased. “Want to stop and buy a bottle of bourbon?”

“Nope,” I replied. “Champagne.”

“Really,” he asked surprised. I rarely drink champagne.

“Yup, really.” If I couldn’t chug the stuff at a party, I’d chug it after a “party.” Besides, Brian doesn’t drink champagne so I wouldn’t have to share it with him.

To be fair, I did warn him that he would owe me.

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at or contact her at