Monday, December 7, 2009

A Mighty Wind

There is something in the air this time of year. And it is not simply the familiar, haunting melody of "Good King Wenceslas." It is cold out - wet and chilly, with a wind that cuts and, for a brief and wonderful, magical moments on Friday, it snowed. The tiny flakes did not linger long on the ground, but it was the end - at least for the time being - of the cold, cold air hanging over the city.

I was wearing a leather jacket - a fabulous and fashionable cordovan leather affair that a bartender once said reminded him of the backseat of a 1976 Bonneville. The jacket is sharp, snazzy, and soft as only old leather can be ... but it was no match for that lingering chill wind on Friday night. My father forgot me. Laboring, as I am still, under a suspended license, I relied on my father to drop me off and pick me up at a (temp) job site far from available bus lines. The drop-off, of course, was fine; however, the pick-up - taking place at around 11PM, in the dark of night, and with ice forming on numerous surfaces - my father couldn't find me, or the building in front of which I was huddling.

It was a long, cold hour ... and it was only after my father finally turned on his cell phone that the mystery suddenly made sense. He was sitting in front of the building where he dropped me off, or so he insisted. He asserted that I was the one who clearly was lost ... and as I debated the merits of this point, both in my head and on the phone, I started walking. He was two doors down - parked in a handicapped spot, in front of the Butter-Krust Bakery., the car running and yet covered in ice.

It took 2 days and more coffee than is decent to mention to get warm again. And then this morning - Ellen, who brought bacon and the promise of getting out of the house - lured me out into the cold.

And the absurd.

Central Market was abuzz with activity when we arrived. The ambulance and police cruisers may have had something to do with it. Ellen's and my first guess was that an ancient Alamo Heights woman had fallen beneath the weight of both her wedding ring and her Louis Vuitton bag ... but the wild-eyed, black woman with her shirt up around her stretch-marked mid-section, walking around in a zombie-like state with a large bag of Doritos and half a head of weave laying somewhere around her left shoulder blade.

Even the paramedics seemed unsure how to proceed, and several 09ers in designer clothes were clearly trying to figure out why someone's maid was wandering the local grocery high on something and badly dressed.

And then I saw Santa going through the trash.

Admittedly, I never met the man personally, but he had a belly that shook like a bowlful of jelly, a head of white hair - beard and mullet - wore Christmas-themed red suspenders, and a Santa hat ... and he was going through the garbage. No one did much about that either.

This reminds me of something Ellen said earlier in the day, from Miss Manners: "Regarding flatulence, as it is natural and everyone does it, the polite thing to do is to pretend not to notice." And so it went that when Santa went through the garbage and a stretch-marked, half-bald chocolate woman ate chips and paced around the coffee bar, no one blinked an eye.

Polite company is one hell of a thing, mind you. Ellen and I had coffee and cheesecake at MadHatter's Tea ... and I am very lactose intolerant ... so, upon arriving at Central Market, stepping from her decades old station wagon, I let out a fart so thunderous ... and sudden ... I nearly fell down.

It was a quiet parking lot, but I am grateful that in the Central Market parking lot, no one was there to hear me fart.


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