There was a Christmas lunch at the Faculty yesterday. Last year I missed this occasion because I was stuck in a snow storm at Copenhagen airport. Two years ago I was also busy elsewhere, don't remember why. The mere number of people attending was impressive. The tables were gorgeously decorated with crackers, balloons and what not, and everybody put on the crazy paper crowns and shot around and blew the whistles and had fun. Then there was entertainment, coordinated of all people by the Head of Finance Office (I am apparently prejudiced against finance people as being bores by definition). There were tremendously funny sketches, a guitar and banjo trio, poetry recital, Bach partita for violin, all preceded by hilarious comments on Christmas carols from the point of view of Health and Safety regulations. It is a hazard to use open sleighs, pointing at someone's red nose is discrimination, and of course, to rock a baby's cradle you need to be approved by Crimial Record Bureau.
I couldn't help thinking back on my previous workplace. Can I imagine any of my professor colleagues in Stockholm playing banjo in front of the staff? Or anyone at all doing a standup performance? I feel privileged belonging to a community that allows itself to enjoy life. And nobody cared that singing Jesus praise might hurt the feelings of Buddhists or atheists.