Cathy had the brave idea to sketch at the San Francisco Centre mall. I say “brave” because for some of us, entering an upscale glitzy mall during the holidays requires much girding of the loins. It was fun sketching on BART on the way there, but when I entered the mall I felt like I’d walked into a science fiction movie.
Noise! Shiny stuff! Expensive stuff! Way too much stuff! Escalators winding around and around, floor after floor, up to a huge domed ceiling where Santa and my sketch group were supposed to be. But it turned out there are two domes and I was on the wrong side of the mall.
Finally I made it to the correct dome where movies were projected on the dome ceiling, music was playing and Santa was sitting on a throne in front of a backdrop that said “The Picture Perfect Holiday Made Possible by Microsoft.” When they took your picture with Santa they cropped out the Microsoft bit.
After I sketched Santa I went up to get my free photo with him. Isn’t he the most perfect looking Santa? I asked him to sign my sketch and he did, “Santa James.” He maintained that cherubic smile all evening through dozens of crabby children and silly adults getting their picture taken with him. One group of 4 teen girls all talked on their cellphones while their picture was taken.