To firmly establish a new personal algorithm for mailings, and in the name of research, I make contact with a friend whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in 20 years but with whom I have traded Christmas cards for at least 15 of them. Can’t remember who blinked first, but we both let down the party lines of communication around the same time. I count 2017.
While doing some digital research, I find out that I last emailed her in 2009, so I hit reply and changed the subject box to “Long shot”. My message reads, “I’ll be amazed if this gets to you, but in case it does, I’d like you to respond with a confirmation.” ‘Xx Jan’.
In less than an hour, I hear: “Be amazed! It happened to me ! How wonderful to hear from you… too many questions! But I can confirm that I am here! xx ‘.
“A miracle has happened,” I declare. “I know this sounds hit or miss, but can I give you a call for a quick chat?” Don’t worry, I’m not going to get you into pyramid selling.
“I do shit on everyone, so if it’s pyramid selling, I’m in it. ” How? ‘Or’ What. Bloody. Brilliant. In this compressed convo, the report was still there. Welcome to my quest for a qualitative survey, lovely Kate.
The next day, we discuss. During a very long time. And try to identify what prompted us to stay in secret this Christmas. Kate questions where I lived (she can, of course, be just polite). However, she keeps a small basket of old Christmas cards that offer a potential paper trail for lost souls and my self-printed, travel-inspired efforts are still here. “This little basket of cards means these people haven’t totally come out of my life,” she says.
Why did I stop sending him? Either I followed my mom’s eccentric etiquette, or Kate fell victim to a particularly long mailing list that year and vanished from my print queue in a timely puff of smoke.
Whatever the real reason, we remember. Mainly about a working trip to a Scottish castle where we spent a lot of our time watching the 1998 World Cup – the one where David Beckham got a red card and we lost to Argentina in the shoot to the net.
That night, dejected, we sat around a bonfire on the beach while someone played Danny Boy on the accordion. Even now, I can’t hear “the pipes, the pipes are calling” without seeing Kate’s sad eyes staring into the embers.
Looking back, we understand how our age group often views the years from the turn of the millennium to today as relatively recent history, believing that the 80s and 90s have had the most influence on our lives. lives. But as Kate points out, it’s over the past two decades that we’ve done, seen and achieved the most.
Most importantly, she had three children, aged 14, 16 and 18 and is now the smallest person in her household. Crikey. When you never see people’s offspring, in your head they stay four years old – it’s always a shock when you ask about little Liam and it turns out he’s a pilot for EasyJet.
I’m glad we spoke. There were no awkward breaks. Don’t try to impress. Only gratitude for the times we shared and for speaking out again. It also helped me draw a conclusion. It’s the friends you never see who deserve a card most – the perfect way to capitalize on the no-commitment cordiality of Christmas. Touching someone’s life in a fleeting, heartwarming, positive way.
So here is the plan. I will continue to pretend to drag my sorry ass around Hampshire. And I pledge to maintain all holiday relationships, including the 80+ year old lady from New York who, when I injured my knee near the Mongolian-Kazakhstan border, helped l ‘wrap with frozen shrimp balls to reduce swelling.
And finally, dear Kate, I have just one thing to say. You are back on the list. The map flies and we have to meet again next year. No really, you have to. Because we’ve gone public now. I’ll keep you posted …