The café was much emptier than usual, and this quickly became an all-inclusive discussion.
A new customer entered just as we were voting on whether an official date was needed and, if so, whether it should be the end of January or the end of the first week in January (a little mean spirited that, I think). He contributed immediately (what a joiner) with the suggestion that the real question should be about resolutions. Groans, eye rolling, and surreptitious distancing from pastries greeted this idea.
But he was graciously granted a defence allowance. He clarified his view.
This was that at least asking about resolutions, however cheesy, led to conversation. Cheerily wishing someone ‘HNY’ was essentially closing down conversation, to his mind.
Our in-between-Christmas-and-New-Year-temporary-barrista was quick on the counter attack.
“But resolutions are irrelevant. They mean nothing. Me? I just assume the new year will bring a much deserved purple patch.”
“I wonder where that phrase comes from?” mused a chum.
We all fell to googling and within seconds were comparing findings, talking over each other and exchanging quotes.
Purple prose? A florid prose section for dramatic effect? And lo – apparently a phrase first used of Elizabeth 1’s translations of Horace!
And they weren’t called translations then – they were called ‘Englishings’.
So a game started about other lost words that we would secretly like brought back into everyday use, and….
I caught the eye of the new customer.
“Rest my case.” he said.
So, in the spirit of starting spirited conversation…
“Happy New Year. And……how are the resolutions going?”