I shared a meal and a post-meal coffee, and some beautiful chocolates with an old friend today. We spoke about how everyday life in the twenty-first century leaves little time to nurture friendships and leaves us increasingly fragmented as a society — we confess to being hard pressed to even maintain cultural traditions within our own small households let alone connect with our neighbours and communities. We look around at Christmas on display. A consumer holiday. A holiday to be consumed. As opposed to coming together to break bread and share the company of one another, instead “we” (not my friend and I, but all of us, often despite ourselves or even as we try to resist and protest) consume the festivities: in the form of vast amounts of calorie dense and increasingly less nutritious foods, in the form of too-much drink, but mostly in the excess of too many gifts and needless material goods. The mega-mall now maintains–at a price–what were once communal acts of generosity and cultural reproduction — many of us frantic to claim the best Black Friday and Boxing Day deals. As I sit with my friend we sustain ourselves and our friendship on these tiny but beautiful treats, dreaming just for a moment about what might me, just beyond the limits of what we seem able to conjure.

(Image: Jacek Chocolates: Dec 2017)