November 5, 2011
The corner where The Inn, the restaurant, and the store come together features mannequin-like carolers, their air-brushed faces frozen in concert, holding their songbooks. They are grouped together facing the street, standing in their winter clothes. Today I slipped in amongst them, standing stock still, with my feather wings and gossamer garb. A group of visitors was approaching the corner to cross the street, paying no attention to the silent choir. When they came close, I stepped out and said “hello!” They all started laughing loudly, reacting to the unexpected. How fun! Now I’m occasionally doing this for the traffic stopped at the light on the corner. Surprise!
Inside the store, one of my favorite things to do is to “hide” behind a free-standing display of merchandise. Standing still, I blend in from one side while people look at the music boxes, floral arrangements, and ornaments in a row from the other side. Then they see my face or I’ll wave at them, they realize I am “real” and have a good laugh!
As people enter the store, there is a large white tree draped with lights. There is a contest to see if anyone can guess how many lights are on the tree. As customers slowly gaze upwards, concentrating on estimating a number, sometimes they will see me looking back at them from my perch halfway up the stairs behind the tree! Sometimes someone will spot me first, then stand back and wait to see if the others see me or often they will point out the half-hidden angel above them. They all seem surprised and delighted! I love my job.
It IS a job. Costumes can be hot and cumbersome. I must constantly and unobtrusively hold the wings with one hand so they won’t fall awry and to guide them through the store without knocking down the fabulous displays. Knowing how and when to pose effectively for pictures can be trying, and often the requests for pictures come one right after another, very quickly. Sometimes I am bombarded. When it’s slower, I’ll offer to take pictures of the entire group with their camera, which is appreciated. (I’m a fairly good photographer.)
When I wave, it’s not the unfeeling, automatic, mechanical wave of the person holding the pizza signs out by the curb. I single out guests and look them in the eye until they wave back or at least smile (which is usually almost immediately). My goal is for them to come away with a little bit of that feeling of having been “touched by an angel.”
I rarely take my scheduled breaks – I love what I am doing and feel that I should be present when the crowds are there. I have great stamina, relatively comfortable shoes, and a strong constitution. And some functions are a bit tricky while wearing wings and flowing, sequined sleeves…
~Joy the Angel