Elephant Ears and Camel Toes

June 2, 2007 at 10:00 pm (The Easy Chair)

And a spectacular array of mullets!

Seniority has its privileges, and its drawbacks. I’ve been where I work long enough that I have a pretty sweet schedule, but I’m not management, so I don’t have to be available for certain events.

It’s Rose Festival Week in Portland. There are two big parades, a carnival that engulfs Waterfront Park, and a bunch of specialty stuff scattered throughout. I will bitch and moan about various activities as the week rolls on.

Today’s subject? The Pepsi Waterfront Village.

This ritual hasn’t changed much since I started going, back in the late ’70s. They fence the place off, and crowds tromp the sod into a dust bowl. About three days into the gig, it rains, leaving essence of horseshit in the air until the next hot spell. Herds of families migrate downtown for two or three annual events. The Christmas Tree lighting is one. A fireworks display will bring ’em in droves as well.

Today I met a friend and her daughter at the Fun Center. It was mid-80s, tempwise. We were in direct sunlight most of the afternoon, so my devilish complexion hasn’t faded. My friend tanned nicely. Perhaps I could have phrased it more delicately. I told her she “was browning up good, like a Jennie-O turkey,” and earned a slap. Her daughter thought it was funny.

Unless you go alone, always bring cell phones. (How did we get by without these damned things?) We were meeting there, and it only took five minutes to find them. I was lucky enough to miss most of the riding; all that was left was to walk the booths.

Anything different? Not really. Was it fun? Yeah. I was there during nice weather, went with an appreciative kid whose mom dropped about $50.

An added plus? It’s a girl-watcher’s paradise. So strap on those mirrored wraparounds, my perverted brothers…

Tonight was the Starlight Parade. I had the night off, but Grinder McV had to work on his usual day off. It’s a manager’s curse; they have to work these nights. The parade goes right by the front of the store.

Do I miss hearing big-band versions of All Right Now by the James Gang? Or Louie Louie? (Confession: I like the brass and drum version of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, but that usually plays at football games.)

No.

Do I get tired of hearing, “Hey! Y’all take food stamps?”

That’s a constant.

Do I miss hearing, “Hey, you got a bathroom?” for the gazillionth time?

No. In fact, when people ask, “Where do you go?” I look them square in the eye and say, “I piss in the street, like any bum worth his salt!” (Think I’m kidding? We drove by an inebriated fellow peeing on a parking meter. Ya gotta go, ya gotta go.) If people were better trained in bathroom behavior, we might let them into the back. As it is, I’ve cleaned too many messes made by ungrateful people with poor aim and no dignity.

Whatever you do, don’t use the parking garage to relieve yourself, or to drink that bottle of wine on the sly. You could end up like this urban legend.

So I didn’t have to work the parade, but I will be paying my dues. Friday morning, as I waited for a hot and heavy call, I answered and it was the big boss, Master P. He volunteered me to work Sunday.

Do I flinch, bitch and pine for time off? Hell no. I’d rather work the Sunday after the small parade than the Friday before the BIG parade. I can use the money, and it’s often mellow on Sundays.

The one thing I don’t like about working this Sunday? The second-to-last episode of The Sopranos airs while I’m at work. (I’ve already received assurances that I won’t have to work next Sunday.) If some SOB comes in and spoils it for me, you’d better dispatch a cleaning crew. There will be bodies in the ice-maker.

There’s an episode starting at 1 AM. I have the reminder set, all I need is prompt bus service, a warm body to show up to work on time, and things will be right with the world.

Upcoming subjects? Parades, Navy ships and sailors, and the time I got excluded from the Fun Center…

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1 Comment

  1. kittykat said,

    Just caught this over at http://www.theportlander.com. I love to see people write about how ridiculous the rose festival can be. Keep it up I hope to see more of this on ThePortlander. šŸ™‚

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