New Year wishes

2012 is slowly fading away, and 2013, like an early edelweiss, is already poking its nose on the horizon.
It might be a bit early, but before I get too sloshed to do it properly, I will present you with my best wishes for the New Year.

When I was a kid, a popular song (Que reste t-il de nos amours?) was often heard on the radio. It was first recorded in 1942 and made popular in France by Charles Trenet.

This song later evolved into the American version known as « I wish you love ».

“I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this
I wish you love”

 So for 2013 I shall wish you love of course, and its inseparable companions: peace, health, laughter, and friends.

First and foremost, I wish you peace. World peace. A little optimistic maybe, but still something to wish for.
Peace is the sunshine of mankind and without it nothing much can grow. So peace is my Number One wish.


My next wish is love. The intoxicating romantic attachment to someone. The glue that binds humanity. A man or a woman consumed by passion are totally oblivious of their surroundings and very unlikely to stir any trouble.
So love has got to be on my list.

The next thing is health. When you are healthy, the world is your oyster and nothing is impossible. Health is more valuable than gold.

I wish you an epidemic of laughter. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”Charles Dickens
So I wish you the ability to laugh, at yourself and with others. And I hope that by hugging and kissing you will contaminate everybody around you.

And last but not least, I wish for you to be surrounded by friends.
“For a friend with an understanding heart is worth no less than a brother” – Homer
Life without friends is like spaghettis without Parmesan. Unthinkable.

And finally, in 2013, may the Gods grant you a few (don’t be greedy) “carreaux” and the pleasure to share your delight with friends.

Meilleurs voeux de bonheur a tous!
My best wishes to all!



Close friends are not unlike diamonds; they are rare and precious and should be treated accordingly.
Only after you have cemented that close bond called friendship, are you entitled to some degree of familiarity with kindred spirits, but absolutely never before!
I am against the forced intimacy that some individuals are trying to foist upon others. Calling a waitress “honey” or “sweetheart” at the first encounter is absolutely distasteful. It is patronizing and demeaning; if I were the waitress, I would certainly have a few chosen words with those behaving that way.

Instant intimacy! This is definitely one of my “bêtes noires”.
Generally speaking I am not fond of anything instantaneous.
I do not like to be called by my first name by somebody I just met. My last name is a different story; it’s my outer shell and everybody can have a whack at it.

A long time ago a Highway Patrolman stopped me for some trivial matter. He demanded to see my driver’s license and then proceeded to write me a ticket. Once he was done he said “Goodbye Alain. Please be more careful.”
Goodbye Alain? Whatever happened to “Sir” or “Mister”? Did we become instant buddies because I let him peek at my driver’s license?
Nobody should have the right to call me by my first name unless I say so.

And that’s why I prefer by far romance languages over English.  In French (Spanish and Italian) for instance, you have two ways of addressing people: the formal way (vous) for strangers, and the familiar way (tu) for friends, lovers and relatives.
Nobody with a bit of “savoir-vivre” would be gauche enough to use “tutoiement” with a total stranger. It would be considered extremely rude and offensive.

Not so in American society where everybody professes to be your pal.
Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a slow progression toward intimacy rather than the “instant familiarity” favored by Americans. I’d rather spend ten years building up and nurturing a true friendship rather than rushing into an artificial comradeship based on beer, pretzels and television commercials.

Call me quaint but I am not your friend until our friendship have been tested and validated.
Then, and only then, are you allowed to call me by my first name and use the familiar way exclusively reserved for friends or lovers.
Not being your friend by the way, doesn’t preclude me from being friendly, but I am not your friend until we have shared some common joys and sorrows together.

I am not everybody’s friend, nor do I want to be.

Let me have five close mates and I’ll gladly let you keep all the rest of your Facebook-style “friends”.


Hi Alain: (may I call you Alain?) It was not always this way in the US.. when I was young (40s and 50s) everyone called other persons by their last names, as in my mother “Mrs Gilman”, me..”Mrs. Toulon”, and all children were taught to say this always, and if they didn’t know the last name, they had to say “Sir” or “M’aam”.. I remember that somewhere near the early 70s it changed, and I was upset when a nurse in the hospital called me “Jan”.. my children’s friends still call me Mrs.Toulon ! I love it in France when I can say “Monsieur” or Madame, or “Mademoiselle” without the last name, as I can never remember everyone’s names!
I miss the formality too….
Jan Toulon