Friday, May 25, 2012

Parade Etiquette 2012

I wrote this last year, however, the parade was rained out. Re-posting with new amendment for 2012.
*Opinion, not necessarily by someone who knows anything about anything.

Dear Madam Nirvana,
As a citizen of the great city ofMiddletown, please answer my question: What is parade etiquette?

- Sincerely, An Inquiring Mind

Answer: Funny you should ask Inquiring Mind- as summer approaches the Memorial Parade down Main Street is finally here! This event showcases some of Middletown'sfinest folks- from the award winning Middletown High Marching Band, to the local baseball teams, boy scouts, brownie troops, to the fine people serving as police and fire fighters, and as well as a plethora of fine civic organizations who all come out to show support and say thank you to the men and women who have served and lost their lives in the various branches of the armed forces. When I think of a person in uniform, I think of a person of upstanding character & chivalry- and when I think of chivalry- I think of someone holding the door for someone else- and I think of respect for others and kindness. I do not think of rude pushy people. But, turns out- I've found that everyone gets a little rude and pushy at the parade; or that's atleast what I have noticed these few years in Middletown.

Having been both a walker in the parade, a marching band member way back when, as well as an observer, I have to say that all sense of neighborly way goes out the window on Main Street on the Monday holiday. We have the widest Main Street in American yet during the parade observers extend past the parking stalls, out almost half way to the yellow line. Watching the parade it's hard to tell who is in the parade and who is watching because it's like people feel as if they need to go out and go right up to the parade and touch it or something. I marched in the parade when I was a MHS band student; I distinctly recall getting my elbows knocked not by my band mates, but my parade watchers bumping into us to get an up close view. Taking a clarinet to the teeth is not fun. This phenomenon of getting as close as possible to the parade and crowding towards the yellow line, so the mob of other citizens trying to see is forced then to follow behind you - I just don't get it.
Parents- sorry, but you are the most notorious for this offense. Modern cameras have digital zooms- even old film cameras have zooms- but still you guys need to get up close and personal and snap a picture right in your kids face during the parade! Yes, it only takes a second to dash out quick and jump back in your seat you think, but multiply that by everyone else doing the same thing... You are correct in thinking I do not have children yet and don't understand the need to capture every special moment of adorableness- , but remember you do get your kid back ( if you want them back) after the parade at the green.
So, let us all embrace the zoom feature on our cameras this holiday and restrain ourselves. It's for the children's benefit- no one likes a trampled on brownie troop or chipped teeth for kids with oral instruments. And when the firetrucks, patrol cars, and tractor pulled floats come down the street - ask yourself if straddling the yellow line to get that "front on" shot is really worth risking getting run over for; or, more importantly risking stepping on the child gathering strewn candy at your feet as you back up.

So let's establish some parade watching ground rules for etiquette.

First: Let's say you want a front row seat, what should you do? Get up early and set up your lawn chairs. Don't come late and try and bring yourself, six or seven others, and put chairs up in front of people who were smart enough to set their alarms and get down there and stake out a parking stall or space on the side walk before hand. Admit defeat to yourself and kindly set up your chairs in the second and third rows. Rows people!- that's another thing. Remember in elementary school lining up for class picture day by height? Tall kids in the back? If you see someone seated- especially someone without the option of standing- say who is elderly or in a wheel chair- refrain from standing in front of them. I would like to amend this by saying I think veterans should get front row seats and be allowed to show up when ever they choose; they are in fact the guests of ultimate honor!
Please get off your lazy bottom and  rise (if you are able) and clap with the veterans pass. And it goes without saying, remove hat and salute flag this day and everyday.

Second: Hand shaking during the parade is strictly prohibited. This is even worse than running out with a camera to get a close up. We all see people we know marching. That's why we go to the parade to begin with right? Please refrain from leaving your designated seat and running up to shake their hand or give a hug during the parade.This can only lead to one thing - conversation !- and then the parade stops, people bang into one another, kids get stepped on, and more people push toward that yellow line. A single file of people is not a parade, its just a line of people waiting, and no one wants to see that; if people did no one would complain about the DMV or grocery store so much.

Third: Clap and have fun- no, really I want you too. 1 parking stall per family- 2 maybe for larger families,but that's enough. No need to lay out a blanket- no one is taking a nap, and it is nota beach. Let's leave some space for our neighbors and there may actually be some space for everyone to see and not crowd in front of one another. Clapping, cheering, and even dancing around out of joy within your personal boundary area is quite appropriate and encouraged. Inquiring Mind, from someone who has been there, walking in a parade with a dead-pan crowd is lousy- almost as lousy as people mowing down parade participants.

See you at the parade. :) Madam Nirvana
also known as Molly Salafia

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