Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Then it's over.

We can relax for another year!

It's not that I don't like Christmas, it's just the three weeks before it that I find distinctly less than satisfying.

In December when the jolly sleigh bells come out and the fake-snow trimmed trees and the airconditioning in the shop gets turned down to fifteen degrees to simulate winter in the northern hemisphere, while it's really thirty-five outside, and the shops are full of stuff that I can't see in focus, partly because some Moroccan stole my glasses in Barcelona and everyone's too busy to make me new ones, and people seem to get much more aggressive and tired and bigger and slower and more frantic and definitely more numerous.

People become strange. "Ho ho ho" they'll shout cheerily as they accelerate and cut you off to get the last carpark, or they'll waddle indifferently in front of you as you are racing to catch the close of the post office, unintentionally zigging and zagging with their prams to ensure you can't get past. Isn't this the season which is contrived to spread the message of goodwill to all men?

Living as we do, in a holiday environment exacerbates the problem, there's a near fracas as holiday makers, with zinc cream and bathing suits and wearing sand encrusted scuffs into the shops, mix with women on desperate last minute missions pushing multiple trolleys and business people racing to get one more thing done before that great annual deadline.

So much sand is carried into the supermarkets by these unwashed miscreants, that the floors start to resemble an old time dance floor. When we leave we carry it on the soles of our own business shoes and deposit it in our cars, where it contrasts in a not terribly tasteful way with the charcoal carpet, adding further to our irrational annoyance.

Sure the streets are decorated with banners wishing all a jolly merry old time, and they are festooned with pretty lights, but the only lights we ever really want to see in the week before Christmas are the reversing lights of a car in the process of vacating a space right in front of us.

Now, as with every year when Christmas is done, everyone breaths a collective sigh of relief. A huge exhale if you like.

The holiday makers take over in earnest, and the mood changes.

The urgency is gone, tolerance is back.

Those of us who have work to do are focussing on our next deadline, which is of course Easter, and for now that seems so far away that we are more relaxed than usual. Relaxed enough to allow the tourists their little foibles. They have turned from being the devil incarnate, to being the life-blood of the community. If only they'd waited until after Christmas to get here, things could be much happier!

We stop wearing shoes in the supermarkets ourselves, and even begin to enjoy the feeling of sticky sand underfoot in every shop and on every footpath.

We know that it won't be long till they will be gone, so we can make the most of it until it will be our turn to return to the beaches. In the meantime we can do other things. Things that will take our minds off any of the aggravation of the weeks before.

It's a sort of warm, fuzzy time really.

It's pretty close to Peace on Earth it is, this week after Christmas.


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