Santa drove a red Monte Carlo and he didn’t look too jolly talking on his cell phone.
I saw Santa the other day while driving downtown to work. He wore a tan tee-shirt and suspenders and he had a full white beard. He had glasses and, had I looked closely, he may even have had a twinkle in his eye.
But instead of being hearty and festive, Santa looked pissed.
He had his cell phone jammed to his ear and he was waving with his free hand while stopped at a light. I don’t think it was some child on the other end asking for a pony next Christmas. Instead, it was probably Mrs. Claus reaming him out for unpaid bills, unfilled dreams and unaccounted time he spent away from home.
I didn’t make eye contact with Santa when I lined up next to him at the traffic light. You don’t look at Santa directly during the off season and expect to get the good presents the following year. But I saw enough to get the impression that he was saying “No, hell!” rather than “Noel.”
Then I realized how far I had fallen in my tumble into cynicism. Most people, when seeing someone looking like St. Nick, would be thinking of happy thoughts, memories of Christmas past, cookies and milk, family gatherings and trips across snow-blanketed fields to Grandma’s.
I see a broken-down, out-of-work Santa catching grief from his ol’ lady.
The light changed and we both drove through the intersection. The red Monte Carlo sputtered a moment before catching; the muffler popping a couple of times. I was disappointed in my negative thoughts about the situation.
I was more disappointed I didn’t get a chance to ask for a pony.