You know what really grinds my gears? It’s parades – especially when you’re a kid.
Back in good old 1970, I was living with my folks in Pasadena, Ca. I was ten at the time. Now Pasadena is the home of the very famous Tournament of Roses Parade. The Rose Parade begins at 8 a.m. PST on Jan. 1, traveling more than 5 miles down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. The parade route starts at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard, turns east onto Colorado Boulevard, and ends at Villa Street after turning north onto Sierra Madre Boulevard, ending at Hancock Park where they park the floats and leave them on display for a few days. This will be the 135th parade.
Anyway, as you can imagine, the crowds are huge at this event. You can buy seats in stands that give you a bird’s eye view of the parade, but most people just stake out a spot on the sidewalk. If you really want a good spot, you camp out on New Year’s Eve. For the 1970 parade, my folks decided it would be okay for my brother and I to go down to Colorado Blvd. and camp out. Big mistake on the part of all of us. My mom was the smart one. She stayed home and joined us there the next morning. My poor dad had the task of watching us all night.
At first, it was a lot of fun. There were other kids there so I had someone to play with besides my younger brother. We ran all over the place. You see, it was still a time when kids could go off and play without parental supervision without Child Protective Services arresting our folks for child neglect.
Okay, along about midnight, my brother and I were starting to fade out. We had brought those chez lounges so we had a place to lie down. The thing is, every time we dropped off some idiot adult, soused to the gills came along and was so roudy and noisy it woke us up. At one point my brother started crying. We were at the point where all we wanted to do was go home and go to bed. Since it was our idea (mainly my idea) to camp out, my dad said, “I’ve gone to a lot of trouble for you kids. You wanted to do this, and we’re doing it. You can go to bed after the parade is over which will be around 10:00 AM from where we are.”
In my own defense, while I was trying to get some sleep, I never complained because this was my idea and if it went badly, my folks would throw it in my face every time I wanted to do something they didn’t want me to do. You know, “Remember that time when we let you camp out at the Rose Parade and you guys barely made it to midnight before wanting to quit?” That sort of thing. My dad was having a good time. He had met these guys and they were hanging around drinking beer all evening.
I think it was about 3:00 AM-ish before I dropped off. Naturally, what with the parade getting ready to start, all the hustle and bustle woke me up before 8:00. Being only ten, and after having slept outside all night, I was plenty tired.
The parade finally got to where we were around 10:00, like my dad said. The thing I really hated about parades were the marching bands. It seemed to me they played so loud and it hurt my ears. I had to put my fingers in my ears until they passed. I always hoped none of them took offense. I also hated it when the horses pooped right in front of where we were sitting. Super nasty.
Finally, the parade was over. Now we have to walk the four blocks back to the house. The way I was feeling, it might as well have been four miles. Plus, I was expected to carry my share of the stuff. Somehow, it seemed a lot heavier on the way home than it did on the way to.
When we finally got home and put our gear away, I collapsed in my bed and slept until they woke me up for dinner. I learned a valuable lesson. Anyone who camps out on a sidewalk to see a goddam parade is an idiot. Never again. I might go to a party on New Year’s Eve, but camping out for a bloody parade is for the birds!
That’s what really grinds my gears! Happy New Year, comrades!
American Nazi Party