I'll start with a little story. Now this was some years back but I think I remember it close enough. It was my first year as a Brownie Girl Scout leader. The year had gone grand. But when April rolled around, my very good friend and co-leader started to talk about being in the Memorial Day parade in May...
Me, cutting to the chase: Look, I'll tell you right now, I don't do parades. I'll do pretty much anything else you need but not parades. I won't walk in a parade or ride in a float. I barely enjoy watching parades.
C0-leader, in blatant disbelief: But we walked in it last year....
Me, hard-core in my convictions: I wasn't here last year. If you want to take the girls, feel free. I won't be there.
I thought that was the end. I thought I made my position clear. And she didn't bring it up again, not until just before the parade.
Co, peppy to the last: I've got the permission slips for the parade. We're meeting in the parking lot at 9:30.
Me, ice princess : Have fun. I won't be there.
Co, slightly shocked: No?
Me, James Bond type cool: No. Won't. Be. There.
Co, laughing off what must be a bad joke: Sure you will.
Me, not joking: No way.
So the day of the parade comes and here's me in my little chair watching the city's finest march by melting in the heat and looking miserable. Lo and behold, here comes my troop of girls and leaders. I wave and smile as they pass by. Did they wave and smile back? No, not quite. Nobody likes to be stood up, but I think that when you say you're not going to be somewhere and then NOT show, all you are doing is keeping your word. But no, I was a betrayer, a spoil sport, loser.
However, I made my point. The word "parade" has never come up in a troop meeting again. There have been other organizations that I've belonged to over the years that have also put together a float or marched en masse behind some handmade sign. I'd have none of it. The reaction is always bad. Nobody likes a parade hater.
Well, I don't care! I don't like parades! I had to be in every stinking parade my entire childhood. Even out-of-town parades. It was the pits. We always got stuck behind some truck with fumes in our faces or behind horses leaving land mines or some lousy band playing the same damn song over and over and over again. I swore that once I was an adult and in control of my own destiny, I would never be in a parade again. So far, this has been a promise that I've been able to keep.
As a consequence of my loathing of parades, my kids have yet to be in one. This has caused several uncomfortable moments for them as well. Most recently yesterday as we were once again installed in our traditional parade watching spot, the boy's Boy Scout troop paraded by. As a group they glared at him and then me. We waved them on. They are certain to say something (and probably not in a nice way) at the next meeting. But again, we told them that we weren't coming. They shouldn't have been surprised.
I mentioned that I find even watching parades an iffy form of entertainment. I do like the marching bands and when the APL comes by with the dogs. My least favorite part is the endless line of tow trucks. Why do the tow trucks have to be in the parade? And why are there so many of them??? Isn't anyone broke down on Memorial Day morning? Maybe if our little hometown parade had floats like this, I would enjoy it more. Well, no, probably not.