let’s have another round tonight

Like every good tech company, the one I work for has a lot of swag. In addition to the usual range of t-shirts and stickers available to the public, there’s a series of limited edition, staff-only swag that gets handed out from time to time: bottle openers, beer koozies, flasks (so many flasks), growlers, martini shakers, kegs, beer bongs, jugs of moonshine, shot glasses, stomach pumps, etc. There’s a theme. Can you guess what it is?

As someone who doesn’t have an apparent drinking problem, I’m confused and annoyed by all the drinking-related items. To be fair, I’m confused and annoyed by almost everything – but honestly, it’s awkward being a non-drinker surrounded by a culture of binge drinking. I don’t get it. And I’m nearly always left out, because every event or celebration is centred around alcohol. Hit a milestone? Shotgun a beer! Building camaraderie? Ice someone! Team events? To the bar! Company outings? Booze is provided! And thirteen orders of fries, is that it here? WINE AND BEER!

That’s why, when I found a piece of company swag that I could actually use, I was excited. It’s a little reusable pouch with a first aid kit in it, and and someone who is frequently injured in stupid ways, I was happy to have a cute little safety kit to throw in my bag if I was feeling particularly perilous that day. During a fundraiser last week, the kits were available to purchase, so I bought a bunch to give to my friends and share my glee over having cute, usable swag.

I am so adorably naive!

Each kit contains:

  • Bandages! (super useful!)
  • An antibacterial wipe! (clean them germs!)
  • A vial of Blistex! (dry, chapped lips are unpleasant!)
  • Aspirin! (cures what ails ya!)
  • Breath mints! (not exactly medical, but thanks for thinking of my breath!)
  • A packet of Vitamin C drink powder (wait a second ..)

They’re not first aid kits. They’re hangover cure kits.

*sigh* At least the pouch it comes in is cute. If I find out you can dissolve the pouch in water to make emergency wine, though, I quit.

I promise I’m not straightedge, a teetotaler, or some freaky booze-eschewing evangelist. Drinking is fine. I even do it sometimes – in fact, just last month I had an alcohol. I don’t care if people drink. I’m simply struggling to find my place in a job that revolves around booze, and feel more left out than usual because I can’t relate. It’s by far the most difficult scenario I face in the tech world: not trying to navigate all that technology in spite of my uterus, but trying to advance in a culture that I can’t partake of.

pictured: one alcohol.

pictured: one alcohol.