Move on. Today, Cameron and I did one of the few remaining things I haven't done in ten years in New York City — went and sat on Santa's lap in Macy's. We're both suffused with David Sedaris and his marvelous tales of being a Macy's Santa elf (we even did the Billie Holiday "Little Drummer Boy" while in line, and if you don't know what that means go get "Holidays on Ice" by Mr. S now, now now — or even better, listen to it).
"I love it when the big kids come to see Santa!" said the elf outside Santa's door. There are four santa houses. Without prompting, the elf told us the others were holograms. That this was the real Santa. And this Santa did have a kick-ass outfit, with bells on lederhosen-like straps and everything. He asked us to leave him cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer.
"What about a shot of whiskey?" I asked.
"Not until the 26th," he told me.
I just asked for a ticket to L.A., but Cameron wanted a duplex on the Upper East Side. Clearly, she's got her priorities in order.
Earlier in the month there was the Maryland Tour of Aught-Six.
Went down to Maryland to catch up with various best friends; started off with Lynda here. She showed me around her Hampden neighborhood, which is just adorable and fun. She knows everyone! Waves to people on the street! Is friends with the proprietors! (Proprietoresses, really, if that's a word!) We shopped, we went to Faidley's for crab cakes, I got all tense thinking I'd miss my train, and then didn't. In fewer than 24 hours she even managed to take me to a birthday party where I recognized the former girlfriend of a college friend who got weird on all of us one year. Neither of us have seen him in forever. Byron Cruz Navarro, radio in!
Is this the most beautiful girlchild you've seen in your life? On the right, folks. (Well, except yourself and the ones you're related to, we'll give you those.) I thought so.
Took the train down to D.C. and Metroed it up to hang with Alexis and Jerry and their lovely progeny. I've known the two of them since we were in high school, they've known each other since they were in high school, and I have the notes to prove it. Alexis and her eldest daughter Katie came up to visit me in May, so it hasn't been as long a drought as it was with Lynda, but I hadn't seen her other kids — Emily and Peter — in forever, and it's scary how fast they grow. And a cliche. Yet true. Peter showed me his room and his light sabers and we played "try to hit Peter with the light saber only not really because he has Ninja Force Field," and Emily showed me her room with her cluttered desk which is how she likes it and her "too many books" in the closet and when we went to play ball it turned out she likes to have an overhand pitch, and I'm used to underhand and this turned her off pretty quick. It kind of went around that speed, too. Katie was at the movies with some friends.
We did Hanukkah, which required me as an unclear Jew to go on the Internet and download all of the information they might ask, like what the point of it was and what the word meant and all that. Of course, no one asked but they did give the blessing a go, and then we painted dreidels (Alexis is Mrs. Crafty) and ate gelt.
And then came the greatest and worst part of the evening: We went downstairs and, following a game of Wii Bowling (eh) they showed me Guitar Hero II. I gave "Message in a Bottle" a shot on slow speed and every time I botched it I kept expecting Sting to slap me in the head. But then I got up to full speed and made an avatar (Pandora) and created a band name (Squalid) and began the rocking out. When my hands hurt I turned it over to the experts — Katie and Jerry — and officially announced that I hated them for turning me on to a new addiction. I now have to get a PS2, which sucks. I wanna rock.
Next day we met up with yet another shiny delightful old friend, Rebecca, and her beautiful progeny (and slightly cranky husband Paul). We bonded during a Jewish group convention in Ocean City the weekend Friday Night Videos premiered "Thriller." I know this because she had a crush on Michael Jackson at the time and we had to break away from the party to run up to the premiere. It was important. Anyway, that has nothing to do with anything.
We all met up at this tremendous jungle-gym type place and the kids ran around and got nutty and Ethan (Rebecca's) got almost stepped on as witnessed below. But mostly he was this complete daredevil running around and asking to be swung higher and higher and climbing up to heaven and sliding down the tube-like winding slides with abandon. He's amazing.
The rest of the Maryland tour involved a few hours with Becca just catching up, and then a night of latkes at my godmother Suzanne's place, and then a long bus ride back to the big city. Being in Maryland is a strange thing now, since my immediately family all vacated last December for that Texas place they now live in. Maryland now has to be a place to visit, forever and ever anon.
But it does have its attractions.