Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Parade squatting

The family put me in charge of finding a good spot for watching the Lehi Miniature Parade.
Everyone else either has a legitimate job or babies or children to chauffeur to gymnastics and such.
So I agreed to take on the task although I highly dislike seat-saving and have — in the past — made some rude comments to people who do that.
I pride myself on getting to places in enough time that I don't have to ask anyone to save me a seat and I wholeheartedly agree with the new LDS Church manners policy that says the only good way to save a seat is to be in it.
So I approached the task with some trepidation.
I know how seriously people in Utah take their parade-watching.
I've seen the fistfights that break out at the Freedom Festival Parade between folks who've slept on the street overnight to secure places and those who arrive late with kids in tow looking for a shady spot.
I figured I would need to get to Lehi early if I wanted to find enough space for half a dozen adults and as many children.
The parade started at 6 p.m. so I planned to head over at 5.
By 4 p.m. I was so nervous I just grabbed a book and booked it.
I drove up and down the streets noticing that most of the available green space was already claimed with chairs and ropes and blankets laid down from Wines Park to Main Street.
I headed to a familiar spot near the Legacy Center. Marc and I had often parked ourselves thereabouts when we were covering the parade for our newspapers.
I found a place for the car and spied a thin space between two sets of lawn chairs across the street.
I marched over and put down my chair. I then put a heavy blanket on the curb figuring the kids could sit there and we adults would fit ourselves in behind them.
I eyed the chairs on either side of me and the lawn behind. I gently pushed the chairs aside a bit to make room for my daughters, husband and grandchildren.
We'd probably be all right if we were lucky and the people who owned the chairs weren't hostile.
I sat. I started reading. I played a game on my phone studiously ignoring people who came by, near or around me. I broke into a sweat every time a truck stopped on the road in front of me, sure that I was going to be yelled at. I checked my watch and waited for reinforcements.
Time passed. People were congregating.
I went over and put out another  blanket on the curb by the intersection in case we got evicted.
"Ma, am!" said a lady on my right. "Ma, am!" she said again.
"This is it," I thought, slowly looking up and at her. She was standing by the chairs I'd pushed over a little, looking somewhat indignant.
"Uh, yes?" I asked, all innocent of course.
"Are you saving all of this space?" she demanded, waving her arm at the expanse.
"Uh, no." I said, "Just this, just where I'm sitting."
"Good," she said, plunking herself down and inviting her party to do the same. "I hate it when people who aren't even here try to save the whole street!"
Whew, a fellow marauder.

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