I’ve lived in the city of Pasadena ever since I moved here, back in 1994. Every year since then, I’ve seen every last one of the Rose Parades in person. It’s one thing to see the whole thing on television, but even today, HDTV doesn’t do justice to the pure beauty of the craftsmanship of the floats. It’s become tradition- no matter what, I’ll go see the parade, even if I had partied with friends to the wee hours of the morning the night before. I’ll be there with my family. But this year held a new challenge- with the parade being held on January 2nd instead of the 1st, my family didn’t have anyone willing to camp out for our spots on Colorado Boulevard (for example, my sister and her friends did it one year, and another year other families we share the spot with did the duty another year). My mother would have to do it alone. I couldn’t bring myself to leave an almost AARP-qualifying family member (I can totally make this joke here, because even after telling her the URL to my blog, my mom can’t be bothered to check it out. Mom, if you figured it out now, I totally had to do it. You know I had to.) out on the street overnight. I volunteered myself to spare her the pain. So after waking up on January 1st to work at seven motherfuckingohgodthisisgoingtokillme in the morning, I proceeded to go home, nap, and drive out to the boulevard in the early evening to bundle up and sit out with my mother. There’s something to be said about the whole experience, though. The yearly tradition for those out on the street for the parade is to chuck marshmallows and tortillas covered in shaving cream at those cars brave enough to drive on the street. I sat there, in the california cold, just waiting, watching the festivities countinue ahead of me. Thankfully, I had my iPad, so I had a deluge of entertainment waiting for me. Those sitting in the reserved spot next to me threw tortilla after tortilla at cars, who retaliated with silly string (and in some cases) water balloons, which, more than once, almost hit me. I simply avoided the projectiles, and watched the videos I had loaded up in anticipation of the evening. A hidden air mattress underneath me provided comfort for me once I got ready for bed. I hid my iPad under my shirt and jacket, and slept on my stomach so no one could take it from me (my fat ass being the best source of protection for it.). I was surrounded by chairs for the next morning, a few anemities scattered across a little plot I had called my own for the rest of my family and assorted friends to join me at the next morning. I finally fell asleep around 2:30-3 am in the morning, the sounds of blaring horns and loud talking neighbors blaring in my ears even then. I woke up the next morning at seven in the morning, by my mother, who awoke me with her laughter and holding her iPhone to my face, taking pictures of me drooling in my sleep. I begrudgingly woke up for the parade (wiping the drool off), only to fall asleep multiple times throughout it, nodding off random times even as marching parades blasted music past me. At my point in the parade line is roughly about 2/3rds complete, so everyone marching already has a look of fatigue upon their faces (the spot where the television cameras are is right at the beginning, so everyone still looks cheerful there). My mother proceeds to troll them every year, screaming out “YOU STILL HAVE ELEVEN MILES TO GO!” (not really), and then proceeding to talk to someone on a horse riding on the pararde on how wonderful the movie *War Horse is (honestly, I could go into a whole book on how my mother’s madness shaped my own. It would have to be an epic that would be longer than the Lord of the Rings to explain). It’s an experience, time and time again, to see the handiwork of the hundreds of volunteers who make the floats. I reiterate-HDTV doesn’t do these floats justice at all– to see them up close and personal is some sort of magic for me still, 18 years later. Will I sleep outside again? For the experience?
Nnnnnnnnnope. I’m good, thank you.