I may have mentioned this before, but I have determinedly surrounded myself with Christmas cheer this month. About three weeks ago, when I was in the early throes of Yuletide ecstasy, I got in touch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and asked if we could meet, maybe if there was a Christmas get-together of all the old college crew from UCC. She replied that this was a wonderful idea, but that she didn’t know of any Christmas meet-up of UCC people, and maybe I should organise it.
And so it began. I hummed and hawed, unable to decide on a list of people who I would invite to this “get-together”. In the end, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I would invite everyone! I sent an email to the 57 people who were in college at the same time as me and are my facebook friends. Thank God there was no facebook when I was in UCC, or else I would have ended up inviting 200 people. I invited people who I wasn’t really sure I’d recognise. I hadn’t seen some of them since 2001. I invited people who I’ve fallen out with. I invited people who I knew to be abroad. Everyone.
There was quite a response. A few people said no immediately. But most seemed keen. There were 18 positive-ish responses. 18 people would make quite a good party. Now, Dublin suited some people better, and Cork suited others, someone suggested that there be two nights. And so I suggested we have a Dublin meet-up on the Tuesday night and a Cork one on the Friday.
This was all fine. I was quite excited. Then I saw one of my friends posting on another friend’s wall on facebook, asking him if he’d be at “Connor O’Donoghue’s Reunion”. Eek! A Christmas get-together had turned into “Connor O’Donoghue’s Reunion”. I was now responsible for the success or failure of an official event.
I was asked a few questions about the “reunion” over the two weeks between the day the invitation went out and the day the party was due to happen, and one or two people said they couldn’t make it, but for the most part no one really mentioned much and I assumed everything was ticketyboo.
I sent out a quick reminder the day before, saying that I’d be there from 8:30.
Last night, I got myself cleaned up. I put on an actual shirt and everything. I went to the pub. I had chosen very well. It had enough people in it for atmosphere, but there were two or three free tables the entire time I was there. All 57 people on my list could have shown up and there would have been room. I bought myself a pint, went to a table and sat down. I took out my phone and went onto Twitter. I’ll let Twitter take over the story from here.
Connor (me) (@connormuzz): So, I am at what has come to be known as “Connor’s reunion”. I have a pint. And a table. I am alone.
Twitter User 1 (a lovely woman from Sligo who I’ve never met): And us. Don’t forget uuuuuuus.
Connor: @twitteruser1 How could I forget the sodden mass of pitiful humanity on the twitter. (Better than actual people).
Connor: I would be absolutely fine with no one coming to this reunion if it was known as “John’s reunion” or “Mary’s reunion”. But it’s “Connor’s”
Connor: There were empty glasses on the table. So it looked like I had company. But the barman took them away.
Connor: The next table has loads of people. They’re about the right age. Maybe I just don’t remember what anyone looks like.
Twitter User 1: I hate to do this to you Connor, but, erm, I, have to, like, go.
Connor: Quote: “Twitter User 1: @connormuzz I hate to do this to you Connor, but, erm, I, have to, like, go.” Even my virtual friends are bailing.
Connor: My eyes dart to the door every three seconds. But I pretend to be absorbed in my phone.
Connor: Twitter just informed me that I was mentioned by myself. Even twitter knows I’m alone.
Twitter User 2 (a spam bot, with the unlikely name of Robbi Delay): @connormuzz Get a McDonald’s giftcard [followed by a web link]
Connor: And Twitter has just suggested I buy someone a McDonald’s gift card. I never do know what to get for my eldest brother for Christmas.
Twitter User 3 (a good friend): Oh noes!! Sorry I couldn’t come. xx
Connor: @twitteruser3 I should have arranged to arrive with someone. I’m quite enjoying being dramatic on twitter.
Connor: There are worse things than drinking alone. I could be listening to an Adele record.
Twitter User 4 (another real-life friend): Adele grinds my gears.
Connor [I was unsure what “grinds my gears” meant. I guessed it either meant “really annoys me” or “arouses me sexually”, so I decided to respond in a way that could sound like it agreed with either]: @twitteruser4 Adele blows arse.
Connor: The table next to me are singing the 12 Days of Christmas very, very noisily and badly. Drinking alone is trendy in comparison.
Connor: So, I’ve been drinking alone for 45 minutes now. Do I get another pint? Or slink off home?
Twitter User 5 (someone I’ve never met or communicated with before): What would Adele do?
Connor: @twitteruser5 I imagine she’d just keep chasing pavements. (Not an actual thing people do).
Connor: I’ve made a decision. I’ll get another 10 minutes out of the dregs of my pint. Then I’ll go home.
Connor: Now holding an empty glass. Trying to make it look like I’m still drinking. Three minutes and I’m gone.
Connor: I’ve gone. Escaped! Now I feel vaguely guilty. But strangely elated. Like my first time being drunk.
And I did feel relieved. As I’d been sitting in that pub, my main fear was not that nobody would come. It was that one person, who I didn’t know well, would come, and I would have to spend the evening trying to be entertaining while looking ever so unpopular. Thank God they didn’t.
Having posted about the evening’s events on both facebook and twitter, people gradually started getting in touch. By 11:00 I was getting a avalanche of tweets, texts, emails and facebook messages.
It wasn’t anyone’s fault, even though at least eight people apologised. But I’ll say this much. If I don’t get at least 3 RSVPs for “Connor O’Donoghue’s Reunion” in Cork, I won’t go. Also, someone better come early and arrive with me to the pub. Just saying.
I’m done with Dublin now, and I’m about to drive home for Christmas. Hurray!