Christmas came early this year.
One fine Monday morning as I was sending positive vibes for a positive week, I got off the subway and started heading to work. While walking down 14th street I noticed a man sitting on our stoop in a Santa Claus costume. Now, it was the dog days of summer and he's about 3 months early for the holiday season, so it was an interesting sight nonetheless.
There was Santa with a five o'clock shadow, a Heineken, and half eaten taco from the taco truck sprawled out on the top of our landmarked brownstone stoop at 8:45 in the morning. To be fair, this is a no judgement zone. It looked as if he had a fantastic night and thought that our stoop was a good place to take a little rest. Aside from his regular Santa hat on his head, he had a back-up sequined hat just to the left of him (clearly his club hat), and was super comfortable treating the top step as his couch. As I surveyed the scene, I took a deep breath and realized I would have to use some critical thinking skills to get St. Nick off the stoop as we opened in one hour.
I entered through the delivery entrance in the basement (unseen by Santa), got a cup of coffee and called for back up. The two porters that open the building had my back and together we headed for the stoop.
This particular morning was serendipitous. Recently I have conducted interviews and one of the questions that I ask applicants is: 'How do you deal with drunk people?'. Typically the answer is "find the intoxicated person's friend and see if you can get the friend to babysit and get boozy butt home safe" (maybe not in those particular words). In this case this is not the option as there were no reindeer or elves on 14th street at 9am. He proceeded to offer us some of his Heineken and after I politely declined I had a curt but honest convo with him: "Sir, I love the costume and probably would love the story even more, however we have to ask you to move so we can clean the steps." He was fairly coherent and after very little acknowledgement he took a sip of his beer and looked us dead in the eye without comment. Again, I asked politely and reminded him what day and time it was. The trick here with Santa and most intoxicated people is not to embarrass them. The idea is to find something that is relatable and remind them of reality. I nicely explained that it was a Monday morning and that we needed to get the stoop he was sitting on ready for the day.
I would like to say: "He quickly popped up because in some way, shape, or form I reminded him of something that got him to pack up and move on". Instead it went like this: his stupor subsided briefly when one of the porters pulled out the hose, turned it on and started to water the street. This quickly warned him that the stoop was next, and if he wanted his Santa suit to stay dry, he better keep it moving. Sometimes my diplomatic Director of Operations skills work, sometimes a hose works better...
Only in New York folks, only in New York.
<3 Love, Camille
PS This entry was purely for my entertainment...Especially 20 years from now when I need a good chuckle.
PPS As usual all photo credits go to yours truly :)