Thursday, December 11, 2008

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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K.B. said...

Really goat meat? And, um, really for you, d'you suppose? :)

Peggy Payne said...

A whole fresh-slaughtered goat.

I thought he was kidding (oops, pun entirely unintended.)

What's weird is that I don't remember him ever having any interest in goat meat either.

K.B. said...

Perhaps he thought he was being original? :) Certainly I don't think it would have ever occurred to me to give someone a slaughtered goat for Christmas...

" know what I've always wanted..."

Nah, just doesn't work for me... :D

Peggy Payne said...

He did recoup handsomely. He's a super-sensitive guy, which is why this was so amazing and disconcerting.

Debra W said...


For some reason, I found this post utterly amusing. So much of it left me feeling kind of giddy. I just really enjoyed reading your observations. Then I got to the part about the goat meat and I chuckled even more. My reaction was the same as K.B.'s. Happy 25th anniversary! Have you and your husband talked about the goat meat gift? What does he expect you to do with 80 lbs of goat meat? Did he find out about a special goat meat diet?

I am just so curious about his choice! Wow...Goat meat. Who'd a thunk it?


Peggy Payne said...

He said it was an adventure, Debbie.

Well, indeed it was.

Debra W said...

Peggy, have you tried any of it yet? What are you going to do with it? I am still very intrigued by his choice.

And yes, I am sure that it was an adventure to receive 80lbs of goat meat! Do you even have enough room in your freezer to keep it? Do you even want to keep it?

Peggy Payne said...

It's to be delivered in January, Debbie. And no, there's not enough room in the freezer. I think he'll likely be spreading the joy, with a few gifts from our supply.

Anonymous said...

mabe he accidently ran acrost an opportunity thru a friend, got inspired & spontanious, & miscalculated yr interest in eating this great tasting, healthy meat-assuming he cooks, of course. Has he ever bought other exotic things? in bulk/economy size? mabe he's attracted to exotic things, like u?? aiki

Peggy Payne said...

Sounds entirely plausible, Aiki. You have an interesting perspective on the subject.