Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On Shopping Mall Santas

I have caught something nasty and I spent the weekend in bed feeling fluey and earachy and feverish and generally pathetic. On Sunday, in an effort to see something beyond the four walls of my bedroom, CodeMonkey and I went to the mall.

Now, as has been discussed, CodeMonkey didn't grow up here. Most of the time I forget this, as he speaks perfect American English and has been here so long he's largely acclimated to the local ways. But then he'll be baffled by something that seems so obvious and natural to me that I remember again.

Like most shopping malls, this one has a Santa. You know how this goes: you put your child on the Santa's lap and the child either wails or (hopefully) tells Santa what he wants for Christmas while Mom and Dad take notes. Meanwhile, a member of the mall's staff takes pictures, which they will sell you for some outrageous markup. Then, years from now, you can look back on these endearing photos. (Unless your parents were too cheap frugal to buy the overpriced pictures. Not that I know anything about this.)

Anyway, my husband watched these proceedings in fascination for a few minutes before I dragged him off to Marshall's. Then the questions started:

CodeMonkey: "Don't the children know that Santa is an actor?"
Me: *furious whisper* "Would you be quiet! There are children here. And no, they don't."
CodeMonkey: "But there's one at every mall! Can't they put two and two together?"
Me: "WOULD YOU KEEP IT DOWN. And most kids don't put two and two together. I only found out about Santa when I was 8 and a classmate told me."
CodeMonkey: "I would have thought you were smarter than that! But don't parents feel bad about lying to their kids? And isn't Santa supposed to come in through the chimney? We don't have chimneys here! What do parents in New York tell their kids?!?"
Me: "PIPE DOWN, YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN SANTA FOR EVERY KID WHO OVERHEARS YOU. And, obviously, Santa comes in through the fire escape. And if you live in a doorman building, the doorman knows to let Santa in and he lets Santa double park the sleigh. Duh."
CodeMonkey: "This is the Santa that also "sees you when you're sleeping, and knows when you're awake?" He sounds really creepy. We are going to have a serious talk before raising children, right?"
Me: "I give up. What do you think of this coat?"

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