I’m going I circles on a bus, looking for it’s bay in the new and spectacularly bad at it’s job bus station. It’s the in-between nameless days of Christmas and New Year, and the rotation is making it hard to type. I’m going to a party, which is not unusual. I’ve been to less this year than most, but have had the equivalent of about 4 Big Dinners, to the extent that I may even have gained a big of gut, which is very unusual. The named days were the usual itinerant selection of eating drinking and present opening for a number of very kinetic and noisy children, which is what it’s all about, after all. Ho ho ho.
It brought to mind, as these events tend to, the past. And just how much stuff we have as compared to then. No really, this isn’t just old person whinging. We, as in my folks, really do have more stuff now. And, so do we as in the wider we, in general and on average. Thing is, as I sat and watched a particularly kinetic small child pile into a heap of wrapped boxes, that whole value vs. worth vs cost equation played out in my head. I remembered all the things, many of them old and second hand, that I valued as a kid, and how they all got broken by other kids, or out grown or given away in turn. Of course, I’ve forgotten all the rubbish presents (well, I assume I have) and the ones I didn’t value. But as the wrapping trashing avatar of acquisition exposed each new present, and casually set it aside un-inspected with a cry of ‘more presents’, I did recall how we would open our presents. There was a ritual. Basically, one of us three kids would fetch a present from under the tree, and hand it to the recipient, after reading the label. This way, everyone knew what everybody had got, and from who. And, it meant we tended to eat dinner quite late. But, even when we were small, there was no uncontrolled or unsupervised orgy of paper ripping.
Not that his means that that child valued those things any less than I did mine. He’s one of my nephews, and I know he certainly does value things highly. All it means is that he, and his branch of my family, do a certain ritual in a different way. And that I quite possibly value the ritual over the actual presents.
And that I have lost a little more of my very low reserve of childlike joy and wonder.