Tonight was the annual welcome reception for associates who joined the firm during the past year. All the new associates are flown in from our various offices around the world, and we throw a fancy party for them and a selected group of older lawyers — mostly the senior “important” people and younger people with personality. Since apparently I fall into that latter category, I always get invited. Plus, I’m on the New Associate Integration Committee, so technically I was one of the hosts.
I finished up work around 6pm, took a nap on the floor of my office (so as to be refreshed for the party), threw on a bow-tie, and headed out to the party.
|Because people want to meet people who wear hot pink bow-ties.
(I’m not kidding – they walk across the room and introduce themselves)
This year’s party was held at the Freer Gallery (part of the Smithsonian Institution) with a significant collection of Asian (and Asian-themed) art. It’s a small gallery that wraps around a lovely courtyard.
The jewel of the collection is the Peacock Room, which was designed by Whistler for some rich guy’s dining room in England. The room was later bought by Mr. Freer, dismantled and brought to the US, and, ultimately, donated to the Smithsonian. We had a dedicated docent on hand tonight, so after a few minutes of small-talk, I made a bee-line for the Peacock Room for a private tutorial on the history of the room, the collection of pottery it houses, and the legal constraints on the gift that make it kind of an annoying collection from a curatorial point of view. It’s a neat room.
After the Peacock Room, I rejoined the land of the eating. Sure, there were passed hors d’oeuvres, and a buffet with tasty meats and salads, but the best part was the chocolate tasting station at the end of the hall. They had five pots of hot chocolate — each with a different degree of darkness — which they served in tiny shot-glasses. Naturally, the darkest chocolate was my favorite.
|72% cacao is always the way to go.|
I had fun. I loved the art; it was great to see work friends in a quasi-nonwork environment; I enjoyed meeting new people; and I appreciated the feeling that they enjoyed meeting me. Like anyone, I have occasional ups and downs in terms of how I feel about myself and how my life is going. Earlier this week I had felt like I was headed into a “down” moment — I felt tired and lonely and worried that I wasn’t the sort of person that other people would actually want to be around. So this party, where I felt like I could let my personality shine a little (and, really, I’m very good at these sorts of parties) and connect in a positive way with other people around me, was a great pick-me-up at the start of my birthday weekend.