The Pain of Parade Watching Live

This is the big one. The biggest one. The one you’ve been training for all year: attending every local parade, from the Fourth of July Parade to the Kindergarten Halloween Costume Parade; performing leg strengthening exercises like squats and lunges; standing for long periods to build endurance; developing an elbows-out stance to maximize personal space. You’re finally ready for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

You know that half of parade-watching is in the preparation, and you’re ready: after consulting a map of the parade route, thermos of coffee and snacks in hand, you arrive hours early to scope out the prime spot. You find one right at the front where you can see the action up close and settle in. The anticipation gets to your companions, who suddenly have to use the restroom – you’re there to save their spot, but then some newcomers try to edge in on your territory! No matter, you all just squeeze in a little tighter when your friends return.

You’ve been standing for a couple of hours now, but between all those lunges and the excitement in the air, your legs are holding up pretty nicely – if only the person next to you would stop stepping on your foot every few minutes. The start time is getting closer and the crowds are really piling in; some latecomers are now elbowing their way to the front, trying to get the view you waited for! Bad form. You successfully block most of them, but you shake your head at the ones getting through up and down the line.

Finally, the parade is beginning! Music and festivity is everywhere, enormous balloons high in the air – it’s everything you waited for. But then someone manages to jostle you out of position and gets right in front of you; not only that, he then lifts his child onto his shoulders, creating a nine foot tall behemoth that blocks even the biggest parade balloon from sight. When you tap him on the shoulder to protest, he has a rude response – not at all festive, but you won’t let it get you down, and luckily the kind soul next to you does some shifting around, and you get your view back. You finish the parade and now all that’s left is to fight your way through the crowds leaving – tiring, but worth it!

If you’re attending a parade this year, don’t inflict pain on others: be a considerate parade-goer so everyone can have a great time!


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