Monday, December 24, 2007
Merry Tennis Balls!
I must be one of those people. Those people that other people like to talk to.
A strange woman started talking to me in line at Starbucks. She asked me what to get a pedicurist for Christmas. After a 5 minute discussion (entirely on her end), 'we' decided that since you never get the same girl twice, and they are tipped already for their service, the Christmas present should be for the entire group of girls, and my new friend would make them a batch of cookies.
She then told me about her son, who really wanted a down vest and they went to Banana Republic, but you know how they’re preppy, and her son is preppy, but not THAT preppy, plus they cost about 80 dollars, so she went online to Land’s End, and they have these great jackets that are rated for 15 below, and they actually say that on the website with the ratings and the temperatures, so if it's rated for 15 below it must be good enough for L.A., so she ordered it, and it came yesterday…
And it was about then that I tuned out. I’m glad I was wearing sunglasses, otherwise she might have seen that glazed donut look in my eyes.
As she continued to tell me about this down jacket, and it’s miracle-ness…I realized that I must have a certain look. The look of a ‘listener’. I nod, I smile…so maybe I have that ‘therapist’ look to me. "And what do you think about that?" should be my common retort.
Or maybe I'm kindly. Like Santa Claus. I'm Miss Claus - tell me what you want, tell me about your son's down jacket. Talk to me.
Or maybe, the world is just so full of crappy people that when someone even appears remotely nice, friendly and 'there', you latch onto them like they are the only remaining vestige of a real human connection out there for you. I, the random starbucks patron, am the only woman who will listen to the tale of the pedicurist and the down jacket like it’s an Aesop fable, and nod knowingly at the end. I'll be kind, and allow the connection.
And that's a pretty sad state of humanity. When, even in the holiday season, you have to turn to strangers for a human moment. Tis the season to be cold and distant. Tis the season to be with your family, and ignore the beggar on the corner. Tis the season to say Bah Humbug. Well...not for me. I welcome being Miss Claus, and I welcome giving whatever I can.
As she wrapped up her story, grabbed her latte, she reached the moral to the fable – "You know how you keep a down jacket fluffy when you wash it?" I answered ‘no idea’ politely, and she looked knowingly at me, and said "tennis balls in the dryer".
She giggled, and slyly said "now the only problem is keeping them away from the dog!" - and we shared a moment of strange absurd laughter at the absurd story, the absurd moral, and the absurd Santa Claus/child on my knee relationship developed.
She left smiling, after my pat on the head. Miss Claus will be sure to deliver your cheer and whatever your hearts desire...even if it's only a latte and a kind ear.
Ho Ho Ho...Merry Christmas everyone!