rockinlibrarian: (roar)
It's funny that I will do anything in my power to avoid Swarming Masses of Humanity in indoor settings, but when Humanity Swarms En Masse OUTDOORS, it is one of my Basic Settings of Happiness. Today, for example, my town becomes the setting of the Second Largest July 4th Parade in the State (second only to the one in the city where, you know, they signed the dang Declaration of Independence and all), which basically turns the entire town into one large block party. Walking down the hill to the parade, you pass house after house where people are just sitting out in the yard, surrounded by banners and beer and barbecue smoke at ten in the morning, nowhere NEAR where you can even see the parade, but who cares? The party has STARTED.

On the way down the hill we said hello to one local, who Sammy then informed, "We're going to see the fire trucks in the parade!"

The neighbor chuckled, nodded toward the kids, and said to me, "They are beautiful."

"YES!" said Sam. "And they're RED!"

(Link to Photo of Masses of Humanity from a couple years ago. Haven't uploaded today's pictures yet)

For all it being a big parade, I do feel it could be a BETTER one-- not too many groups put much effort into making interesting floats or anything, and there weren't NEARLY enough marching bands (because there is no such thing as too many marching bands). But this was the first year the kids were INTO it long enough to stay for most of it. Maddie waved to everyone the entire time-- going to be in the parade herself for sure someday-- while Sammy sat close beside me, nursing a butter rum toffee he'd been tossed (not sure whether he liked it, or cared if he DIDN'T like it) and grabbing my hand to keep me from clapping along to the music. We were sitting on the edge of an empty flower bed-- ie, a pile of black mulch-- and Maddie made herself FILTHY in minutes. Emergency bath when we got home, and now it is naptime.

Jason, meanwhile, works parttime every holiday of course, which means he got stuck attempting to drive back INTO town and became quite Fed Up with the Ridiculous Behavior of the Town, because what is WITH the Swarming Masses of Humanity and parade floats and blocked off roads keeping him from getting home?! It's true that some people do have to go about their ordinary lives when other people are having a holiday, but personally I'm all for Holidays getting top priority. When the Masses of Humanity get to Swarming in shared joy, it's envigorating. It makes you feel like the world is ALIVE for once.

Felt the same thing last Friday at our first Summer Reading Club field trip of the year. The weather, to begin with, was Absolutely Glorious-- rather hot, but not stifling, and not too humid, and there literally wasn't a cloud in the sky. We took approximately 80 kids (which WAS about 20 kids dropping out, as I had feared, but this turned out not to be a problem and certainly wasn't blamed on bad organization on my part) in to Pittsburgh.

First we rode the Duquesne Incline, which, I decided in the course of the tour, is an ABSOLUTE MUST for everyone visiting Pittsburgh for the first time. It helped, of course, that the weather was Glorious, making the Glorious View all the more so. But the Duquesne is the Historical Landmark one of the two working inclines, so it's got that, you know, HISTORICAL touch, and there's a gallery of interesting local history relating to the incline at the top, AND, AND, the coolest part is you can tour inside and see how the whole mechanism works. I thought it was completely awesome. That's just me, but I feel I can speak for the average person in this case, because IT WAS JUST THAT COOL.

Then we lunched in Bessemer Court at Station Square, where the kids danced through the spray of the fountain shows and screeched in delight and I KNEW that this is what life is all about: a beautiful day, outdoor music, lunch, and the Swarming Masses of Humanity gathered simply to enjoy it. The kids surrounded a young businessman who'd been sitting alone under a tree, and he burst out laughing. I found that very touching.

After that, for the record, we went on a Gateway Clipper ride, but that seemed anticlimatic after the fountain. And dang, the fountain was FREE.

So, get out and be a part of the world today. It's not that bad.
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