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Dec 25, 2011

We wish you a happy X-mas

When we entered la bonne bourgeoisie in 2003 by buying our house here on the coast, we learned a lot about the world, including the world of X-mas cards. Such cards are sent across social networks to maintain ties by exploiting the pivotal holiday occasion, and then exhibited proudly near the entrance of one's dwelling for all visitors to see. Obviously, one's social status is related to the quantity of cards on display, as well as their quality (cards can cost up to 20£$€, and look the part).  But quantity --- as the philosopher would say --- converts ("schlägt um") to ("in") quality, and it's not necessarily the other way round, in particular since visitors are not supposed to inspect cards too closely (privacy). Am I making this sound very French?

Sheraton sécretaire in the hall

The first year, we received ca. 10 cards. Since we were new to the game, we didn't write any. That didn't keep the cards from coming. Their numbers grew, and we wrote back. Our best year was 2007, when we were able to over-decorate the pretty sécretaire in the hall (a Sheraton replica) with more than 25 cards, although it was already clear that we would never make the cut of the better society here on the hill. @ some neighbo(u)rs the cards would overload the table in the hall (we are the only ones with a Sheraton replica, but it doesn't matter, nobody else here has ever heard of the guy, and I wouldn't raise the issue if not Alan Hollinghurst had mentioned the Regency éboniste in his first and absolutely oversexed gay novel The Swimmingpool Library), enfin, @ our neighbo(u)rs the cards would overload the table in the hall --- and additional auxiliary furniture --- summing up to a total of 200, or 300 X-mas greetings.

To repeat, it was clear that we would never reach the exalted station of 300 cards, but we were entering the year 2008, and candidate Obama was winning the presidential elections with, yes, what was it, something about HOPE. The card numbers were growing, and the trend is your friend, as they say on Wall Street.

Come Christmas 2008. I am not going to elaborate about my peeking out of the door in merry expectation of the card-carrying postwoman ("facteur"), as lesser bloggers would. Bref, there were fewer cards. We blamed it on Wall Street and the crisis. But 2009 wasn't better. And 2010, when the crisis had abated, the card number had shrunken to 2003 values, around 10.

Doris (picture taken by her husband, Dirk (yes, the Dirk) ca. 1968)
A trend is a trend unless reversed, as they say on Wall Street. Today, one day before Christmas, we may expect the X-mas card business to have plateaued. Cards are sent early, it's too late for more. Time for the final count. How are we doing this year? We received 2  ("two") cards, both from the same person (Doris, also a neighbor, and she does not have a computer).

How is this going to end? Will we drop out of the world? Will the numbers turn negative next year? "Why can't we live together in peace?" (Jack Nicholson, as American president, in Mars Attacks).

It's the internet, stupid, I hear Bill Clinton say, who has possibly received 100,000 cards.

1 comment:

Dirk said...

My tip for next year, Michael: Do as "the better society here on the hill" do - Collect all the cards you ever received and put them on display altogether ...
:-D :-D