My Santa Stayed Clear of My Chimney
The History of an Invisible Red Coat
"Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy" ---- Edwin Osgood Grover
Please, don't let the title misguide you into some wrong expectations about this article. You are not about to read anything like some poignant story about a lonely boy's life in a broken family, twice seriously sick on lungs from malnutrition---so unimportant that even Santa wouldn't bother as much as disturbing the dust in his chimney.
No, that would be too sad, and I was quite resolute to write something cheerful even before I turned my laptop on this morning. So, let's see how my jolly spirit can make the story veer away from sadness not intended by the title, and catch that boy in his early teens when he happily and wisely decided to stop looking up that chimney in vain. With a divine and unshakable resolve to be his own Santa from that day on, he reached this age of 73 never taking the "red coat" off.
While everyone else, from those young to old waited for that one season of the year to enjoy gifts of love, attention, and all that the fat dude in red coat symbolized, the young man in our story---well, disguise is obviously not working---I celebrated life every single day.
With no wild parties, with just my romantic heart turning everything into an intimate Shangri La, like with a Mida's touch of something that may have been an inherent part of my nature. That "something", the mystery of which I am still trying to decode into this age.
As I was observing folks around me with some real, but mostly petty issues, I just couldn't have heart to expect from them to yank themselves out of their self-inflicted soap-opera and play anything like a Santa to me.
But that was O.K., because it didn't take me long to feel a red coat of my own, a perfect fit on my slender young body, with a heart to match.
A Bohemian Santa with a Red Coat Worn Inside-Out
"Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see a shadow" ---- Helen Keller
Yeah, my heart was too busy romanticizing my life as to be bothered by grudges and feeling victimized---no matter how all of them would have been justified. But my loving them could not erase the impressions of all that silliness in their self-inflicted emotional tormenting.
Talking about silly, I was not an really exempt from having my own share, even though. like Frank Sinatra would sing it - "I did it my way". Boy, did I ever do my share, while living a life of a young bohemian, amateur philosopher, adventurer, drifter, thief of a farmer's chicken in desperate times of need, nightly climber on that one kilometer high mountain at the edge of my city, and midnight visitor to the city cemetery---sitting on a bench and contemplating about life.
Sometimes on a cold winter day I would skip school, and with a good book I would end up in an old inn of the historical part of the town. It felt so cozy sitting in a quiet corner, sipping on hot cooked wine with a cinnamon stick dipped in, and reading.
Well, if I left anything out, trust me, that was for my eyes only. But, what can I say--- silly or not, it somehow blended just fine into the joy of a carefree unfolding into my own Santa, sprinkling my young life with the golden dust of sheer joy.
There Is No Clear Line
Between Weird and Divine
"He, who has not Christmas in his heart, will never find it under a tree."---Roy L. Smith
Smell of old books was like an opiate to me---and still is. It was so good to be young---and still is.
In those years nothing seemed impossible. I bought a tiny illustrated book on yoga, and not long after I could bend backwards and touch my heels with the back of my head. Out of a crazy challenge, I would bite into the top board of the kitchen table, and supporting its legs only with my finger tips lift the table by my teeth.
I would eat a whole lemon like an apple, and after taking a hot shower pick up handfuls of snow from the outside ledge of the bathroom window and rub my whole body with it.
In those years of craze that felt almost divine, it was a feeling like I could walk through the walls if I chose to, or do anything else just for the hell of it. Well, it's not yoga these days anymore but qigong and Small Universe meditation, along with so many other things that I picked up over the decades.
However, much of that spirit has survived the ravages of time which, among other things, could never erase from my nostrils that aroma of the old books and their treasures that kept impregnating my forever young and forever learning mind.
If you would ask about that, now ancient Soap Opera theatre of my young age, it's still around---simply because people are around performing so artfully every bit of their human repertoire.
Namely, in this meantime of half century having passed, I moved several thousand miles due west, only to find a replica of that same old theatre. With already a well familiar garden variety of actors wearing costumes of confused clowns, soldiers, questionable winners and qualified losers...all somehow attached by strings to hands of their invisible manipulators.
So many costumes, with hardly any red coats to be seen around.
Monologs, Not Dialogs
A conversation is a dialog, not a monolog. That's why there are so few conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet."
As I am leaving that theatre to devote my mind to some more pleasant thoughts that my red coat inspires, it's hard to shake off all that noise of the monologs of that stage. For, they certainly are only monologs, not dialogs, even though the participants are facing each other.
Yup, they are just talking to themselves, self-absorbed in their drama, while the other person is patiently waiting for their turn to do the same---talk to themselves, because no one is really listening to anybody. If they were, they might start understanding each other. Who knows, maybe even learning something by accident. They don't.
The one pretending to listen is only aware of their own reactions to those words---interesting, or boring, or funny, disturbing, stupid, whatever. They are not thinking what those words mean to the person saying them.
If they did, they might even be imagined as wearing something like red coats.
Loving Them All Just the Same
"Not only that self-love and love of others go hand in hand but ultimately they are indistinguishable." ---- M. Scott Peck
Indeed, in that ancient Soap Opera theatre all participants' life inventory is a sum total of various "lacks", not possessions. They seem to be so fixated on what's wrong, what's missing, what-if, with all negative assortment of emotions imaginable, and they seem to be inventing some new ones all the time, according to the growing volume of psychotherapy textbooks.
And yet, do I love them just the same? One big YES, they are a part of the rosy panorama of my Shangri-La, which wouldn't be complete without them. From time to time, you may even catch me jump on that stage and join them clowning around like a court jester, pretending to give the play some brighter tone.
Well, all until I start feeling silly enough to put back on my red coat and without saying anything like a pompous "good-bye" sneak out through back door.
Having seen enough of that human farce since my young age, I understand, and maybe some of you will as well---why I realized long time ago that there is not another red coat on that stage.
For, just like I thought, and sure enough - my Santa never showed up, and don't bother asking if I am missing anything.