Sunday, December 14, 2014

WATCHING SANTA AT THE MALL

"A big smile right here — one, two, three," says a man in a red shirt behind the camera and one-flash umbrella.

The little boy is all dressed up for his laptop meeting with holiday royalty. He sits up and obeys the man with the camera. Santa puts on his benign smile.
It is an endless parade of awkward — kids uncertain of climbing onto the lap of a strange man with candy; parents looking hapless as they try to get their children to pose for a pretty picture. One man rubs his palms together and whistles, like he's trying to get the attention of a beagle instead of his daughter.

Through it all the Godfather of Christmas stays in character. He's wearing at least 10 pounds of felt and trim — he's got to be sweating balls from the cavalcade of warm butts on his thighs — but give it up for the guy: he doesn't flash a frown. Stone-cold pro, that dude. I'd have to be heavily medicated and I don't think Santa is allowed to nod off while he's in the big chair.

There is a family fuss going on next to me in the sitting area next to Santa. A man in his 20s is complaining that he hasn't eaten all day.

"Bullshit," replies a woman standing next to him, her face etched with endless annoyance. She rolls the word in her mouth like a savory piece of meat. "Bullllllll-SHIT."

"I had a bowl of cereal," the man admits.

"If anyone in this little group is entitled to complain about not eating, it would be this girl right here," the woman says. Satisfied that her work here is done, she grunts out a "huh" and walks in the direction of the food court.

I don't see anyone I know at the mall.

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