I love Christmas, or maybe I should say I love the spirit of Christmas. People seem to slow up a little around the holiday period and act a little bit nicer towards each other. As I sat down to write this blog a story came to mind that I’d like to share with you.
Shortly after I left school I ended up living in a bedsit on Elmpark Avenue in Ranelagh (Dublin City) and I was working over in Terenure (also in the city) on Rathfarnham Road (you can Google the journey for fun if you have the time). I used to walk over to Lower Rathmines Road and then get the bus up to Terenure. It was a walk I did five days a week.
At one stage you become aware of certain people either walking the same direction as you or coming at you from the opposite direction.
There was one guy who I used to pass as I walked on Charleston Road. He must have left his place around the same time every morning because we usually met at the same point on the road. At first I just noticed this and then after a while I noticed that he’d noticed it too. This eventually led to us both nodding to each other as we passed each other by. That was it, a nod. Nothing more and nothing less.
I can’t remember who spoke first but in any case whoever it was said “howya”. That was it. Nothing more and nothing less. We continued to exchange “howya’s” after that but here’s the funny thing…in the week before Christmas we broadened our conversation to “how’s it going?” and “you’re running a bit late this morning”. “Terrible weather, isn’t it?” got a mention as did “did you get your Christmas shopping done yet?”
What changed? I think it was the spirit of Christmas. Somehow we felt safe talking to each other that little bit longer because we could use Christmas as the ‘excuse’. That made it alright and you hadn’t really blown your cover, so to speak.
I’ve often thought about that situation over the years as I contemplate how we make up our world and what we decide to let into it…or not. I should add that I was quite shy then so speaking to a ‘stranger’ like that took me outside my comfort zone. Now here I am all these years later talking to ‘strangers’ all over the world, strangers who have become friends.
It’s never too late to start a conversation…and you don’t really need Christmas as an excuse to do it. Happy Holidays everyone!!