Every year at this time, the Sunday Supplements are full of such articles as "get in shape for the Party Season!", "Fashion must-haves for the Party Season!" and "Hangover cures for the Party Season morning-after!"
And initially I think "Yes! Of course! It's Christmas! There will be festivities! How exciting!"
And I look around and... where are these parties that comprise this "Party Season"?
Now it could be just that I am not terribly sociable or popular, but I shan't be attending any parties this Christmas. Indeed, I am not aware of any taking place. And every Christmas, this seems to be so. This vague cloud of indistinct festivities looms up at us from about October onwards with a promise of happy throngs of revellers enjoying each others' company with abandon in some social whirl of celebratory engagements.
And suddenly, I look up and its a few days before Christmas and, well, no invitations have been forthcoming, in fact, I haven't heard from anyone for ages!
Is it me? Do I smell? Am I just persona-non-grata in civilised society? Or do people just stay in and watch telly nowadays?
Ok, in an ideal world, it would be deeply exciting to be invited to, and attend parties where flamboyantly-dressed characters converse with much laughter in darkened halls where bands of musicians play evocative tunes and acrobats cavort in harlequin suits above. I would dance all night and hold quickfire bantering conversations with a man in a purple silk top hat and a lady in a burgundy velvet ball gown. And we would toast "To life and living it!" and jostle and laugh,
But a quick drink down the pub after work would be good too. Only.. everyone works from home now (as I do mostly) and face-to-face interaction seems a thing of the past.
I suppose I could hold a party. But I start to draw up the list and realise that, the kids are grown up and the link they provided to the friends of the last twenty years (i.e. those with whom we shared children of the same age) is broken now. The list of potential attendees is somehow strangely short and everyone we ever knew has buggered off somewhere. A few tentative phone calls and discouragement is complete. Despite there being no parties elsewhere, those few people I know are all somehow otherwise engaged.
So, let's hear it for the party season! We can pour ourselves a drink, put on our party hats and sit down to watch Christmas Escape to the Country as we toast to "Absent Friends!"