Sunday, December 19, 2010

who's got a big red cherry nose?

Last night, my son and I stopped for dinner at National Mechanics an hour or so before heading to a concert. National Mechanics is a restaurant and bar in the Old City section of Philadelphia, and one of my son's favorite haunts.

We came inside out of the cold December evening and were greeted by a dark-haired young lady who grabbed a couple of laminated menus and directed us to a table toward the rear of the dining area adjacent to the bar, lively with Happy Hour patrons. As we each perused our menus, a waitress, whom my son knew, politely introduced herself and took our drink orders. She returned with the two glasses and accepted our dinner requests.

My son and I talked as we waited for our meals. I regularly interrupted his train of thought to have him identify various songs playing on the slightly-too-loud piped-in music.

At a point in our conversation, I was distracted by something in my peripheral vision. The dark-haired hostess was having words with a man near the bar. The man, whose back was to me, was wearing an ill-fitting Santa Claus suit. Although they were less than two feet from where I sat, I could not hear their exchange over the ambient music. From the stern expression on the hostess' face, it was apparent she was not pleased. Her jaw worked and her brow knitted as she made her point. The Santa man listened silently and rocked slightly from side to side. Finally, he dropped his shoulders and staggered toward the the door. The hostess, with arms defiantly folded across her chest, watched to confim his exit. As she made her way back to her post by the front door, I tapped her shoulder when she passed within reach.

"Did you just throw Santa out of here?", I asked.

"Santa was in here earlier.," she replied, "He's had enough."

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