Last night, I almost murdered an animatronic snowman. But he had it coming. Everyone knew it.
Before you think I’m unnecessarily cruel, let me make it clear that I wouldn’t have been acting alone. I was simply the first one offered a cane to take a whack at the snowman like a pinata*. And, I’d like to think that since my batting vastly improved this summer softball season, once I hoisted myself up on the information desk and took my stance, the job would have been done in one shot. And then, after 10-12 minutes of relative peace, I would have picked up the phone and made the call I was dying to make: “Something terrible’s happened to the snowman. Send EVERYONE.”
At this point, a logical question one might ask would be, “Why were you in the presence of an animatronic snowman for an extended period of time in the first place?” And that would be an excellent question. Here’s the semi-short answer: On Fridays (and one Saturday, about which I’m withholding comment), I pop on a really fashionable embroidered Christmas sweatshirt over three shape-enhancing layers of shirts and volunteer at the local Christmas boutique extravaganza. Why I do this isn’t exactly clear, even for me, but I can isolate a few distinct reasons as to how I ended up in this position:
- The damn volunteer form was online and it was so darn easy to follow through on a speck of an idea.
- I also happened to be on the phone with my mom at the time, who thought it would be fun.
- That same day, we switched to Standard Time, and the combo of online form, surprise extra hour, and motherly guidance created a perfect storm of sorts.
- I like being busy, and this holiday season I wanted to be REALLY busy (Because evidently not having time to food shop totally means I should be adding more things to my schedule. That reminds me, I’m out of feta cheese. And I need that for living this week.).
- My Friday afternoons are sort of generally lame (exceptions: beer Friday, skee-ball Friday, beer and skee-ball Friday). I figured I could spend that time enjoying the Christmas spirit rather than in my office inhaling whatever that black stuff is that falls from the vents when the heat kicks on
- In a foggy moral universe, it seemed like a nice thing to do.
- I wasn’t going to pay to get in, but volunteering gets me in for free. And, did I mention the sweet-ass sweatshirt, name tag, and volunteer pin?
- Oh yeah, and I really like Christmas. And I think volunteering is kind of fun. I’m a total nerd.
But back to my time under the snowman. Short digression: I’m never watching Frosty the Snowman again. Not because the animatronic snowman made me all twitchy about talking snowmen the way the loop of “Wonderful Christmastime” in Kravitz Drugs that time I had a fever in middle school and my mom made me stand still in the card aisle while she filled my prescription causes me to have a minor brain explosion anytime I hear Paul McCartney enjoying the holiday season. I’ve just had enough of his sort. I can cross talking snowmen off the list of things I’ve found I don’t have an infinite amount of patience for.
Last night, I worked information, which made for good people-watching. I didn’t see as many awkward first dates as I did last week, but I do think a former student pretended not to know me when he handed me his entrance ticket on his own awkward date while I was working admissions. Instead, I had my confidence in my ability to give clear directions shaken by blank stares from out-of-towners and I apologized to some mildly angry senior citizens for the presence of port-a-potties instead of luxurious bathrooms. Evidently, while the structure is clearly not a permanent one, failing to install plumbing is totally half-assing it. But honestly, none of this really got to me. After all, I teach college-going teenagers. They’re the blankest-staring, most nonsensical-apology demanding group there is. This was total cake.
Things were largely slow, though, so I amused myself by reading and memorizing all the available pamphlets. Please, quiz me. The things I know offhand will frighten you.
Oh, and the snowman lived to harass another group of volunteers.
* It would have been awesome if he had been filled with candy. It would have made up for the fact that the only song he sang in between his incessant talking was Andy (The Golden Voice of Branson) Williams’s “Happy Holidays.” I could have chalked it up to a chocolate/nougat-related glitch. Because I swear “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland” was in the mix at some point.
Before you think I don’t like Christmas songs, however, let me offer a few that I would have loved to have heard in the mix (but that would never have made it through what I’m sure is a rigorous song-vetting process):
Because I just love it and it would have made that snowman seem soulful:
To kick things up a notch:
This actually would have been wildly appropriate since the snowman was right over the entrance:
Oh! Did I mention I’m a HUGE sap?