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Santa Claus Hat, Artcar, Goat Meat

In the oatmeal-and-Internet cafe where I am taking my breakfast this morning, a man sits one table ahead of me in a rather elegant serious-looking Santa Claus hat.

He’s about thirty, lean, dark and grizzled. The pile of napkins and tea detritus in front of him indicate he has been here for a while, by himself. He is otherwise dressed in a hiply outdoorsy way: layered T-shirts and a down vest.

What worries me is that it took me about ten minutes to notice that the guy has on a Claus cap. I wonder if I’m in a fog and not noticing much and how much of the time this is the case.

And I wonder why he decided to throw on red velvet and faux ermine this morning.
*Is it just the sort of thing he naturally does: it’s who he is.
*Is he a late-blooming sociology grad student monitoring reactions (don’t think so, he blinks a little too much)
*Did he do it as one of his personal experiments with overthrowing convention
*Or because he is full of the Christmas spirit
*Or because he feels rakish and daring with that fur band around his ears, showercap style
*Did he do it to meet people (an older man in a knit cap, chatty and opinionated, has just sat down at the next table and engaged him in conversation. They shake hands. They both look happy and relieved.
*Is it a signal I haven’t heard about?

I suppose someone might have asked the same questions about why I painted morning glories on my car. Answer: I’d always had an irrational craving that way and didn’t examine it too closely. And, it didn’t feel eccentric, it felt normal, with a twist of delight.

The two guys across from me are both visual artists, I now hear. The older one, black, garrulous, is articulate. The younger white stubble-faced one listens and says, “Holy crap, man!”

What I’m searching for, I think, is what distinguishes an odd gesture that’s a natural extension of oneself in a particular moment, from a what-was-I-thinking move.

Did I mention that my beloved husband surprised me with 80 pounds of goat meat for our 25th anniversary on Monday? (I don’t cook, don’t eat much meat, tried goat once in 1978 and found it so-so.)

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Categories: courage, eccentric, love, strategy

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