An Ode to Leaving Drinks

One phenomenon I miss most about London is the “leaving do.” These pub gatherings were fun, well attended, and most of all, frequent.

Co-workers, friends, and even strangers always seemed to find a reason to congregate in pubs for lengthy drinking sessions — no matter how flimsy the excuse.

Almost every week, there was something to toast: a colleague’s birthday; an engagement; a promotion; a debut; or, most, often, a departure.

One place where I worked got so carried away with leaving drinks that the employees threw a pub celebration when a woman left one floor to take a job on another floor. The new position was with the same company, in the same building (and that building was not tall).

Another woman was leaving for a break from the company, then found out at the last minute that she couldn’t attend her drinks celebration — but it went ahead anyway.

The fact that the guest of honor wasn’t there didn’t dampen the mood, or make anyone question why they were there.

I suppose the excuse made it easier for people with families to explain that they *had* to go to the pub (to say “goodbye” to someone, or “Happy Birthday,” or “I’ll miss you when you’re working on the third floor, while I’m still on the first”).

Or maybe the reason for the gathering made justifying to oneself that one had been in the pub for five nights straight a bit better.

Here in Atlanta, leaving parties don’t seem to happen with the same regularity as they did in London. When they do, they seem to be organized by management, rather than by the people.

Perhaps I will try to organize a bar gathering of co-workers on the pretense that I am moving to another floor, and see what they say….

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