Waking up in the middle of the night (OK it was actually more like 4 am which isn’t far off getting up time), I mused about the people I haven’t heard from this Christmas. As you do.
There were two joint contenders on my list. I’ll start with the oldest friend of some 35 years.
The one who I met at university, shared a flat with for a while when we worked together on archaeology digs, went youth hostelling with, always stayed with in London, was a bridesmaid in a rather OTT frock at their wedding etc etc
It’s six years now since I’ve seen her. When we moved to Spain she finally condescended to visit en route from a dressage course near Jerez. She’d visited Spain a few times previously – Madrid, a couple of trips to see a pal in Mallorca, and somewhere else too, Barcelona maybe? I finally got a look in.
I should have realised I was rapidly approaching my fecha de caducidad (sell by date).
Birthday cards became email greetings. I used to reply to them with a chatty mail, but never received anything more so I stopped wasting my time.
In 2011 the birthday greeting from her was a few days late. She was busy with her mega house-warming party (marquee on the lawn in the home counties mansion) which happened to be on the same day as my birthday so obviously it was understandable that I was right at the bottom of the priority list.
My aversion to Christmas cards is well known, but she was one of the handful who received one. And what did I get in 2011 following her late birthday email to me? A ‘Season’s Greetings’ email on the 29 December.
I sent her a birthday greeting mail in 2012. It might have been pretty short, but at least it went on the day. I didn’t send a Christmas card. Or an email. I figured I’d wait. I’m still waiting. I guess I thought about it on 30 Dec because it was past the date she had sent her cursory mail the previous year.
In fact when I woke up, I couldn’t remember if I had received a birthday greeting or not so I suddenly fired up the computer to check. Nothing.
I can’t say I’ve sobbed buckets of tears over the realisation I’ve not heard from her in more than 12 months. These things happen. We have very different lives and what use is a friend in Gibraltar and Spain if she doesn’t turn up for an ostentatious house-warming party? Or she has a poky house in Spain?
On the plus side, my other two university friends both send me a card as usual. One invariably includes a long letter, easy enough these days, top and tail it for each person, and hope you don’t confuse Great Aunt Mabel’s letter with the one to roughseas. The other one just usually signs the card and says nothing, but even he had included a photoshoot newsletter of their year.
One perceptive comment from the letter-writing one – he’d had to email me for my address (!) so we’d had a quick exchange of mails, was that, although he wasn’t into Christmas, he did find it a good prompt to keep in touch with people.
And the other prime contender for non-friend of the year, was someone who emails as and when. Dropped off from more than once a day to nothing for months. Says he’s still around and still a friend – except I don’t hear from him. Although he seems to manage to log into a few internet sites often enough. I think I can work that message out too.
But other internet friends are still around, some who I’ve known for a few years now. As one of my longer-term friends said, on her summary of 2012, you lose friends and you gain them.
I’ve met some good and extremely interesting people through WP blogging. Some come and go, and some have stayed around. The internet is what it is. Transient, superficial, and just occasionally, we may find the odd gem within it.
As for blogging, I really hope not to see one more of those ghastly wordpress summaries of stats. The same picture, the same drivel. People, if you want to include a summary of your year in blogging, at least make the effort to do something yourself. Do you realise how boring it is to see the same post popping up all over the place? Even the annual hits seem to have similar figures eg 18,000, 27,000, 67,000.
I wonder how many new friends I will gain and how many old ones I will lose this year?
One of my favourite quotes from the James Bond films was in Quantum of Solace.
‘A friend of yours?’
JB: ‘I don’t have any friends.’