Monday, November 29, 2010

Pre-Season Observations

Fear not, Gentle Reader. There will be an entire post devoted to the Magic of Our First New York Thanksgiving later this week. But for now...I have to tell you these things before I forget, or before I realize they aren't all that funny after all.

The Christmas windows should be up by now at the big department stores here, but the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Dean and I found ourselves outside Macy's, enjoying the "Miracle on 34th Street" window display a little early. It's full of little automated people, doing things like smoking pipes, sitting in a stranger's lap, and going on trial. It really piqued our interest in the Splendor of Macy's, so we ventured inside to experience the thrill of holiday commercialism first hand.

The place was packed- locals and tourists, perfume sprayers and asthmatics, children and their handlers, all rubbing elbows, all side by side. Kids were everywhere, especially around the special "Write a Letter to Santa" display. They could sit down, write a note to Santa, and then put it in special mailbox that is solely for letters headed to the North Pole. However, letters to the North Pole are not exempt from US Postal Service rules and regulations, and the letters would not be accepted without a stamp on the envelope. Seriously. A stamp.

Dean was especially aware of the irony there, and as we walked away from the mailbox area, he declared- in the midst of many, MANY young children- "Why do letters to Santa need a stamp? I mean, come on! Guess they're really making their money off this, aren't they?" I looked around, noticing the number of kids holding their parents' hands, and I loudly replied, "Because they want to make extra sure the letters make it to the North Pole! Everyone knows Santa won't get the letters without proper postage!" And that was how Dean almost ruined Christmas at Macy's.

We actually were looking for a good terry cloth bathrobe for me, and it's worth sharing that these days, most ladies' robes are this polyester fleece stuff. After lots and lots of looking, we realized that cotton terry cloth robes are in the same section as towels. Did you know that? It was news to me. It's like putting baby clothes in the lingerie section. I guess one leads to the other...?

And speaking of babies, I have a request for all the holiday shoppers with babies. Please leave your strollers at home when you know you'll be in close quarters. After Macy's, we wandered down to Union Square to check out one of the city's Holiday Markets. They're great, full of little pop-up stands with people selling handmade and specialty items- it's where Dean found my new hat! It's a cute place, and very popular and crowded. But people, space is at a premium there. People make faces at you if your coat is too big, or if your shopping bag infringes on their personal space. When you take a giant stroller and shove it through a crowd of people, we resent you. We aren't thinking how sweet it is that you have been blessed with a sweet little miracle; we are thinking, "I was going to stand there." Take a tip from the hippies, and use that Baby Bjørn you got at your baby shower. Take it out of the box, sling it around your neck, and put your baby in it. Parents all over the world carry their children like this- close to them- and their fellow shoppers are grateful. And we will be, too. Now excuse me while I look at these hand made dog sweaters.

We did other things that weekend- we saw "The Coward" and "Looking at Christmas," and really enjoyed each other's company. We also went to mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral Sunday morning (my birthday), and it was really strange in some ways. It was like going to church during a football game. People were jockeying for a seat with a good view of the priest, sometimes settling for a good view of the television monitors. Tourists kept opening the side doors during the service, checking things out and taking pictures. Communion was rushed and a little unorganized, with one priest looking like he was just shy of tossing a handful of wafers out over the crowd, like beads at Mardi Gras. But on the flip side, it was very moving. The church itself is ornate and historic, and I just felt better for being there. While Dean and I go to another church on occasion, I found that I missed the familiarity of the prayers in a Catholic mass. I like knowing the words without looking at the book. I like incense, and the ceremony and ritual of it all. While it may be awhile before we head back to St. Patrick's Stadium, it was good to go, especially on my birthday.

So there you go, Gentle Reader. Let's review what we've learned from this entry:
1. Letters to Santa need stamps
2. Cotton terrycloth robes are located in the towel section.
3. Keep your baby close to you while shopping.
4. Church can be like football.

Until next time,

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