Thursday, December 7

Nothing happens and you know it

All the misfortunes of man come from not speaking clearly

Albert camus

Nothing happens. I just aborted New Years Eve like I aborted Christmas Eve. Dinner for two. As so many of you have done. Nothing happens. I know it, my father knows it, my sisters and my in-laws also and yours – parents, children, grandparents and other families. Nothing happened last year and this one won’t happen. Nothing would happen the rest of the time, either. This is the last column of the year and the next, Sunday, will be read next year and nothing will have happened in between.

Nothing happens and if we are honest, we will all have to admit that some weight has been lifted from our shoulders with this supervening abolition. I remember perfectly when, for a long time that seems eternal, the great occupation of these days was the cracking of Christmas. Cracking on the arguments it provoked, on the meetings that would not go well, on the trips that prevented making, on the family tantrums if you decided to do them instead of staying. Crack on the siblings stuck, on the conversations and derivative discussions, crack on the expense, crack on the work that all this gave. Sometimes even being happy to please others with something that mattered to them but that we did not care. Carrying out the work of decorating, organizing, shopping, cooking, scrubbing, tidying up, managing bad drinks, and starting over just a week later. All that Christmas stuff that now seems to have been forgotten, right?

Far from my intention to show myself as a hater of these parties. These last two years I have decorated my house, even if no one was coming to visit, I have adorned the table, I have bought and cooked special things and taken out the old and delicate china that brings me so many memories, and I have spread the festive tablecloths and brought closer the matches to the candles in the candelabra. Only while I was doing it I have not stopped wondering about the strange engine that drives us to continue repeating these gestures when we no longer believe in what these days represent, our elders do not accompany us and we are in front of the tray of nougats – which we do not like –S the ones who share dinner every day. What moves us? What prevents us from not doing it?

I don’t think the answer is superstition and that I have to confess that on the night of December 31, 2020 I did not eat the grapes at midnight, for the first time in my life, and look at the one I did! Just kidding because all superstition can only be a great joke that we play on ourselves and on our pathetic need for security.

I believe that in these last two years, albeit in a low voice, we have all caught ourselves finding ourselves relieved by a waning obligation. Those who are about to say no, do not have to block the comments. Whatever you want, but I am sure that it is, that some of what you had to stop doing out of obligation was for each of you a devotion. It is not necessary to verbalize it, just assume it. And we all also have that thing that always hurts us not being able to do, with or without a pandemic, as for me it is not being able to sit again with my mother in front of a suckling lamb dish in the oven prepared by her infallible hand from the early hours of the day. New year. That unique smell that woke you up from a hangover when mixed with the chords of the Vienna concert. But it was her and not the kicks to the rhythm of the Radetzky or the magnificent barbecue, it was her. She, who almost until the end of her days, while her illness allowed it, did not stop putting up her nativity scene and gathering her people or lighting her oven or peeling her thistle. Because Christmas, I think for everyone, bears a mother’s name, and it has almost always been handed down on the backs of women from generation to generation. Even when? Until when will such a responsibility and such an ephemeral work be assumed, for the children, for the in-laws, for the others, since most of us no longer believe in what is commemorated? Those who believe have a meaning to give it, but and others, why do we do it?

I’ll eat the grapes and put the kings’ well-polished shoes and try the roscón. I would even if I were alone. I am not very clear why. These years that we have saved ourselves the questions about what we would do at parties, where we would travel, how many we would be and how beautiful and happy everything would be, these two years in which it has been enough to recognize that we would be “those from home”, few, two, the As always, they have helped us to realize that we don’t do it just for others, right? Maybe we do it so as not to throw in the towel, so that there is something that we all do the same and at the same time, in almost everyone, to be able to play something that seems solid because it is repeated. Perhaps it is because it is the only ritual that keeps us anchored with who we were in childhood. Each one will have his reason, as well as for not doing it.

But the truth is that we all know that, despite everything, within us there is a small relief for having been able to avoid something without having to deny ourselves, just because life has given us that pleasure by preventing it. What I don’t know is if we should think about it and realize that when this happens, we can keep saying no without anything happening.

Nothing happens. Nothing has happened and will not happen. Nor if we stop doing it when true normality returns. Because all misfortunes come, Camus said, not to speak clearly and more than once, not to speak clearly with ourselves.

PS: My relief today was not dealing with the balance sheets of politicians or the skirmishes of health management. The truth above all.