growing up in memphis, i was enamoured of prince mongo, an eccentric local who drives a pink graffitied station wagon and claims to be a 333 year-old royal from the planet zambodia (hence the "prince"). he once showed up to his own trial wearing a green cape and carrying a rubber chicken. search for him online. you won't be disappointed.
as a kid, i would often sit on our door stoop- usually in a pink swim suit, because that's all i wore between the ages of 2 and 6- waiting for mongo. he must have done nothing in the early 80s but canvas the midtown streets because he cruised harbert surprisingly often. i would invariably run to the sidewalk for a better view as he slowly drove past. it was like seeing santa. santa in a pink station wagon.
oddly, i don't know that i ever actually saw mongo. i obviously saw his car, but its magical aura was such that i remember nothing about the person behind the wheel. "mongo for mayor" posters pop up randomly across town. there's the pink visage of what used to be prince mongo's planet, a bar best known for underage drinking and regular police raids. and, of course, there are his yards- where rotted vintage lawn ornaments go to die. but i don't remember mongo himself.
which is funny because i think most of my early conceptions of adult cool were defined by him.
since an usually high percentage of the people who read this will be in my apartment in the coming months, i must confess my latest, most mongo thing: last night, october 17th, the christmas tree went up.
this was largely inspired by a train ride. not wanting to risk eye contact with a car of people who looked like they had bird flu, i rested my chin on a sleevie of the yellow coat and stared out the window. on the deck of an apartment that blurred past was a strand of christmas lights twinkling in the blustery night. that was all it took. after five full days of staving off the urge- so the eccentricity would be slightly lessened by its having occurred in "late" october as opposed to mid- i gave in.
i did this, in part, because the last two christmases have been curtailed by family dramedies and emotional kabooms, so i'm owed some tree time. but also because i am tired of the tree box falling on my head every time the closet door opens. it's bad enough that the door refuses to stay closed. that i should be subjected to falling trees every time it opens is simply intolerable. clearly, the tree wanted out. and the tree always gets its way.
my parents are, of course, appalled. we've long adhered to a strict tree policy of Only After Thanksgiving Lunch. when i confessed to the premature treeing, my mum whispered, but it's not yet thanksgiving. how generous of her to ignore the fact that it's not yet halloween.
but i've pretty much decided, after a childhood of waiting for mongo, that maybe i'm a little mongo. (maybe we're all a little mongo!) blogger lists my age as 250. i have no idea why; it just happened. but obviously, if i'm 250 years old, i am a royal princess of the planet zambodia- where christmas is a three-month-long affair, capes of all mismatched colours are welcome and rubber chickens are the state bird. because really, if there must be a bird, it best be rubber.