Fact: When a passel of previously laid off coworkers show up, it is even less jolly.
Fact: When the shots of tequila are passed around, it is time to run.
We've lost 60% of the company lately. Our (new) parent company recognized this was exceedingly bad for morale, and dispatched their new CEO to come talk to us about it. He was a very good speaker, and had some interesting visions for where he wants to take the company. Still, the loss of so many people so fast is a bit traumatic, and the farewell lunches have been coming faster than the stomach can really absorb. Drinks, therefore, seemed like a welcome change. However, it had the false cheerfulness of a New Orleans jazz funereal procession. People smiled, told each other how good it was to see them again, how much they'd miss each other. But the furtive glances out of the corner of the eye, the plastered on smiles, the look of wan desperation after a few drinks - certainly a peculiar atmosphere.
Still, it's always best to maintain good relationships with coworkers - we're all professionals in a fairly rarified field, and though Los Angeles is a big city with a lot of companies doing exciting stuff, it's almost inevitable that I'll bump into these people again on other projects at some point. It's a weird field that attracts people with a sharp head for logic - but at the same time, teamwork and cooperation are crucial. Riding herd on a bunch of hyper-smart introverts is an Herculean labor. But then, it does have its rewards. For now, I'm sticking with this job the way Slim Pickens stuck with his bomb in "Dr. Strangelove". I'll ride it all the way down, waving my hat!