We went to the Santa Claus parade this morning. Usual sort of stuff; lots of happy kids, cold weather, lots of candy canes being handed out, and holiday cheer aplenty. Of course, as we all know, the first rule of the Santa Claus parade is don't talk about the Santa Claus parade. Oh wait, that's the first rule of fight club. Considering how things went though it's oddly appropriate.
So we got our things together and headed downtown to watch, like we do every year. Not having to pay for parking always thrills me so that was nice. Thrilled a lot of people judging by how full the parking lot was. After finding a spot, we bundled up the kids in their sweaters, winter jackets and snow pants. All that going on top of a couple foundation layers applied at home. It all came in handy when we reached the street. I'm not a meteorologist but I'm pretty sure the thermometer was somewhere around friggin' cold. Lord knows I love to stand in the cold and watch things pass by me really slowly. My ideal parade would be one where everything stays in one spot and then I can run alongside so the parade could be at any pace I feel appropriate.
Anyways, we staked out a spot and waited for our friends and their kids to get there. The gave me plenty of quality time with our oldest to try and coax her out of the stroller which was covered with a blanket "tent of security". She does not like loud noises which made the horns and sirens awesome. Apparently, she still remembers how Canada Day went down so she kept asking to make the noises stop. "Uh sweetie, that's a police siren. He's trying to clear the parade route and I'm pretty sure he won't like if I tell him to knock it off." After a while she agreed to come out from under her canopy of safety. The agreed to terms being that she have on earmuffs and a toque to black out the noise, I hold her the entire time, and we go into a building to get away from the loud noises. That last one was the clincher for her and a lie on my part. It worked though so I'm ok with it.
By now our friends had gotten there and we were all getting situated. That's when some lady next to us asked us to move our stroller so she could sit down. I use the term ask loosely as her phrasing was more along the lines of "well, I'd like to be able to sit next to my kids." Not an unreasonable expectation but we'd gotten there early to ensure room for all of us and quite frankly her request came across as very over seasoned with a little spice I like to call bitch. When the dad of our friend couple pointed out to her that we'd gotten there first so had every right to the space she got confrontational. I remember the words "are you being rude at a Christmas parade?" leaving her mouth. Things started to get a bit heated and our mom friend tried to get in between them. In doing so her arm came in contact with the crazy lady (or as she put it "she grabbed me first"). Of course her perfectly logical response was to turn and throw a punch into our friend's chest. Let me repeat that; our friend got punched in the chest at a Santa Claus parade. (Funny how ordinary words can be grouped together sometimes and not simply defy logic.)
After the punch was thrown my wife went to relay the incident to a passing police officer who didn't seem too interested in it. The crazy lady saw this and went to tell her side. Her side involving crying and leaning into the officer who had no choice but to console her. "Just go back and try to enjoy yourself" is what I believe he said to her. Can't say I blame him in either instance. If my job was to keep a parade route clear I wouldn't want to have to referee a battle between onlookers. His advice seemed to help as she sat down and everyone pretty much left well enough alone. Of course we all had to take turns standing to obstruct her view of the parade but that goes without saying. The parade itself didn't go too bad. We had to leave before the end because the little one's mittens did a piss poor job of keeping the cold out but the just meant we got to avoid the insane line up strollers waiting to use the parking garage elevator that always follows the parade. A win win in my books.
So it was a weird parade this year but a definite learning experience. First, if you don't mind missing the end of the parade you can avoid spending twenty minutes waiting for the elevator. Second, if you invite someone to a holiday parade they wind up getting punched, you're going to feel a little guilty. Third, and most important, if you go to a Santa parade and in telling people about it afterwards you use the phrase "and then I punched her", then maybe parades aren't for you. Some sort of anger therapy or conflict resolution strategies might be a better use of your time. Either way, it'll be interesting to see if next year's parade live up to this one.
9 years ago