You know how when you reconnect with folks in January after you haven't seen them for a week or two and you ask them how their holidays were? You know how they almost always say something like, Nice, I guess. Kind of a blur? Wanna know why they can't parse it with sufficient clarity to relate that time to you? Because almost without fail shit like this (^) happens.
This photo, expertly snapped with my cheap-ass cell phone camera, shows Ethan and Thomas dressed in their pajamas talking to Santa Claus in McDonald's.
In their pajamas. Talking to Santa. In McDonald's.
Pajamas. Santa. McDonald's.
Those three words have no god damn business being in the same sentence, EVER.
If this had happened in June, I guarantee you some good citizen would have called the cops thinking that either a) my kids had escaped from some weird hostage situation in the middle of the night, b) they were about to be abducted by this Santa dude, c) Santa was indeed packing a semi-automatic and was gonna jack the place, or d) all of the above.
But during Christmastime? Pfft, you'd have to bring it a lot Cirque du Soleil-er to raise an eyebrow around here, bub. For starters, nobody noticed or cared that my kids were wearing pajamas. In fact, there were 6 other little kids there with their pajamas on. (Luckily, none of them wore the same flannel penguin prints as our kids. Can you imagine the embarrassment?) Only the patrons with kids even noticed Santa, and it took most of them a good 10 minutes to register. None of the childless patrons even glanced his way. In their defense, his beard and mustache were real. But our neighborhood is not exactly overrun by fat, white pimps, so the outfit alone warranted at least a glance. Fuck sake, people. This is how the terrorists will win. I'm not asking for Bourne-Identity-know-the-room-at-a-glance awareness, but there is NO REASON this scene should go unnoticed. Just put down the eggnog and pay the fuck attention!
Anyway, this particular McDonald's has an indoor playground so we hung around a while after eating. As the boys chased each other around, I had a chance to overhear this Santa chat with a few of the other kids who found their way to him, eager to get those last-minute gift requests in. I gotta hand it to him, he was good. In addition to the real beard, he seemed like a sincere cat, telling several of the kids that it was up to them to decide whether they were going to have a great Christmas. Zen master meets Determinist in itchy red pimp gear. The kids really seemed to take it all to heart. Except for Thomas and Ethan who were obviously just in it for the candy canes. In their defense, they were probably a little put off when McSanta asked them, "What's with the pajamas?" Cha, "Hello, kettle? This is pot. You're black."
"I have often depended on the blindness of strangers." -- Adrienne E. Gusoff