My colleague Matt, the 3D to my 2D, was kind enough to pick me up at the airport on New Year’s Eve. After I claimed my lopsided baggage, I met him and his 6 year old daughter Eve out in front of the Gulfport airport.
“There she is!!!,” Eve cried out upon seeing me. It’s probably the most enthusiastic airport greeting I’ve ever received. A great way to arrive in a new place. They drove me back to my apartment, amid a barrage of knock knock jokes and belated Christmas caroling funneled through the delightful Eve.
After I messed up my access code about five times, we finally made it into my complex. I told Matt that I was right at the back of the complex. He commented that that was good because I’d have less road noise. I reminded him that it also put me closer to the “homeless people that live in the woods,” that he’d mentioned to me before I rented the place. I am, in fact, in the very last building in the complex–practically on top of the scrubby woods.
Not wanting to be left out, Eve decided to give me her own advice about living near the woods.
“Santa lives in the woods,” she said. “That’s where he makes the weather machine.”
I enjoyed this comment but didn’t really think much of it until the next morning. I left my apartment just a little after dawn to see a plump man with white hair and long white beard, who appeared to be wearing every single piece of clothing he owned. He was walking away from the dilapidated basketball court behind the dumpster, headed for the woods. In his wake was a herd of about 15 cats, some of them feasting on piles of old hotdogs and who-knows-what that he’d apparently left for them on the court asphalt.
As for the Weather Machine, well, who knows what the Santa in the Woods has to do with that except that it’s been extremely cold since my last sighting of him. Maybe the cats control the weather. If so, please come feed them again, Satsuma Santa, and make it warm again. I didn’t move here to be cold!