Saturday, December 24, 2005


Santa's Elves

It's early afternoon on Christmas Eve. Nochebuena. I have a new addition to my family: a one plus year old white female cat with BLUE EYES whom I've named, Bianca. Pictures forthcoming, of course.

This time of the year brings out all sorts of things in people. We've had a doozy: I think I'll save that for my New Year's message. In the interim, here's something I wrote during the 2004 holiday season--I always learn something new at the Dolphin Mall.

May all of us in multicultural, multiracial, multilingual Miami, Florida learn to peacefully coexist with each other. After all, Santa's Elves do. Don't they?

Have a Very Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Jwaye Nowel!



At the Dolphin Mall last Saturday, I headed out to the parking lot early mid-afternoon with an enormous bag full of goodies, both anticipated and otherwise, from Neiman’s Last Call. As I hadn’t had lunch yet, I was tired, hungry… and, as it turned out, disoriented.
Sure I had parked my Jetta beyond the Friday’s, but within eyeshot of the Dave and Buster’s sign, I began to wander about aimlessly. Realizing this was going nowhere, I flagged down the public service officer in his vehicle with the flashing yellow lights.
Clambering in with my big clumsy package, I apologized, stated I was embarrassed. Don’t be, the youngish man said, this happens all the time. So he began to take me up and down the parking rows where I thought we might find my car. And we began to talk.
Adolescents and taxicabs seemed to be on his mind. Underage kids are so nasty, he said. How so, I asked. Their parents drop them off here because they don’t know what else to do with them. So they learn this at home? Yes. How sad.
Many of them are bad apples, he added. So the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? No.
Could my car be stolen, I inquired. A Jetta? I doubt it, he said. The kids go for Accords and Civics – cars they can drag race. I asked him what they do with them once they’re finished with them. He didn’t know.
However, they don’t touch Beamers, Mercedes, or Jaguars, he stated. Nor SUV’s, I added, looking around at row upon row of them.
Look at those taxicabs lined up in front of the mall, he stated. To be sure, upwards of ten cabs were lined up both horizontally and perpendicular to the front entrance. A Miami-Dade cop’s giving the cabbies tickets like crazy, because they’re driving him crazy, he said. With exasperation in his voice, he added, and I warned them.
Are there lots of policemen around, I asked. Yes, many undercover and plain clothes ones, especially now during the holidays. I mentioned I know an elderly woman who was one of the first women detectives on the City of Miami police force. Sometimes she showed up at her son’s school in her “street clothes” – i.e., her prostitute cover. That’s impressive, he said. Yes, I repeated, she was a pioneer.
Staring at the cabs yet again, I commented, this isn’t a mall – it’s a hotel.
We’d inched our way up and down the rows to the left and to the right of the mall entrance. It didn’t help that there are two Dave and Buster’s signs. The one to the right’s deceptive, he said. Yes. However, I was still sure this was the one I had used as my marker. Sure enough, we found my car where I had stated it would be. I must have walked right by it, in my fatigue and hunger induced haze. I thanked him profusely.
Early on in our conversation, he’d mentioned something about Santa’s Enchanted Forest. As he was dropping me off, he commented on how glad he was this Tropical paradise is open during the holiday season. We don’t miss them, he said.
You mean the elves, I asked. Yes. Let Santa’s elves make mischief somewhere else.
Dropping my bundle in the trunk, I returned inside for several more hours. Whatever elves had stayed around to wreak havoc did so in discrete little groups of boys with their shaved heads, chain-linked jeans, motorcycle or rock group emblazoned T-shirts, and tough scowls. In turn, the girls, with their bare – and sometimes flat, sometimes bulgy – midriffs, their long, curly Cleopatra-type locks, their overly sweet perfume, their wobbly heels, and their teeny-tiny purses, also clustered, either giggling… or scowling worse than the boys. Playing grown-up’s a hard game to win.
On the way back to my Jetta, I caught a glimpse of both older and younger elves, sipping margaritas, mojitos, or Johnny Rockets milkshakes, listening to a loud South American band, strolling (or being led around in strollers), enjoying the first weekend of the 2004 holiday season. Merry-making, as it were.
Give the mischief-makers a chance. We’re all Santa’s Elves, after all.

Copyright, 2004 by Georgina Marrero 700 words All Rights Reserved

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