Holiday Gatherings: Mastering The Art of the Escape

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When I moved out of NYC for the first time in my life, I took with me, as all NYers do, a healthy dose of paranoia. When I took a job in an office, my first thought as I scoped out my new surroundings was how I didn't have an escape route. (Hm, I'm a writer who was taking an office job. And I freaked out because I had no escape route. I wonder what that means. Anyhoo...)

I mean, here I was working in a huge building where it seemed like anybody could walk in and out as they pleased. Strangers could come to your cubicle, stand two feet away from your face, and you had no exit, no physical way to get away from these people in case of emergency....Much like a holiday gathering. And this is why planning your family gathering escape routes ahead of time is vital.

Let's say it's Thanksgiving and your curious aunt, (feel free to replace "curious" with "nosy") or sister-in-law or second cousin corners you between herself and the stove or her husband and an end table, or her chunky son and the vase with the dusty silk flowers that seem to be growing and starts a conversation which the pit of your stomach tells you is a'goin' down the ol' "So...Why don't you have a baby yet?" path ... This is an emergency. And you need an escape route. Maybe your physical well-being isn't in danger like paranoid NYer me in the office, but certainly your mental and emotional well-being are in jeopardy.

So what are your options at one of those black tie, high end holiday bashes that your family throws every year?

1) The Ol' "There's that person across the room whom I've been dying to talk to since March" standby.

Two choices here. When the person in front of you seems like they're revving up to pose some embarrassing questions about your fertility either:

a) Wave across the room and yell at no one in particular: "Hey! When did YOU get here?" or if you want to emphasize the urgency to ditch this person yell: "Oh, you're leaving already?! Wait! I have to talk to you!" and head in that direction. You may not want to name a specific person because your aunt probably knows the same people in the room that you do...On the other hand:

b) Screwing with her works well too. "Hey Judy! I really have to talk to you right away!" You and your aunt have both been attending these holiday shindigs for the past 17 years. Let her spend the evening wondering who the hell this Judy person is all of a sudden.

2) The "Imaginary vibrating phone" trick--

So you're considerate enough to keep your phone on "vibrate" during the holiday festivities. But wouldn't you know it, just as this aunt/cousin/sister-in-law starts rambling on about her kids and how lucky you are you don't have any, you glance at your phone and it's a call that you must take. Not only must you take it...but you must take it in private (hint hint) and/or you can pick up the call in front of the aunt/cousin/sister-in-law but then quickly dash off to a place where you can hear your fake call better.

Or if you're more daring and want to get rid of the person for not just the duration of the party but weeks to come as well just feel your pocket and say: "Oooh something's vibrating down there. I can't wait to be alone so I can find out what it is."

She'll probably knock over you and a lamp to get out of there first.