Friday, July 04, 2008

T - 53 days and counting: Happy Independence Day!

And wave them we did.

Our little town has a cute parade of floats made by different groups, [hopefully just some of] the town fire and rescue vehicles, boy scout troops, etc., etc. Kids can decorate their bikes or scooters and ride in the parade, so we got the Bean's and Peanut's rigs all decked out in red white and blue, and hit the road. There were streamers, bows, sparkly stars, tiaras, flags, you name it. I was very, very glad we had cloudy skies and temps in the low 70s. Doing this same parade in searing heat and sunshine feels more "forced march" than "happy stroll." But today's parade was delightful, and we barely broke a sweat. It felt a little odd when someone thrust bottles of Poland Spring in our hands, saying "ICE COLD WATER!" as if we were in the middle of some great athletic feat, in danger of collapsing from the strain at any moment. They must've had it leftover from the road race held earlier in the day, from which I'd naturally kept a very safe distance.

It also felt a little odd that I know by name so many of the people we passed. I was fairly anonymous here until my Bean hit the school system and I joined the local "Moms' club," and now it seems everyone I see is familiar to me from one activity or another. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, so many familiar faces around town means a lot of people to chat with, and I truly enjoy that. Friendly acquaintances are important to me. However it also means that I really, really have to keep my snark under control, which, let's face it, isn't always easy. Not that I habitually badmouth or berate people by any means -- I don't. But for instance: my insurance agent was being kind of ditsy about arranging the new car's coverage... not returning my calls when she said she would, asking the same questions over and over again, and generally bringing out my impatient, "how hard can it BE, lady?" side. My expectation of that kind of interaction is that I will say things once, and the professional on the other end of the line will use a pencil and paper or whatever technology suits them, and, you know, record the appropriate details. Or better yet, that because I am a long time customer, there might be an actual folder in their office with my name on it, to which they could refer for needed information. You think? Or am I setting the bar too high?

But I digress. Point is, this person I was admittedly getting kind of terse with on the telephone and went to meet in person turns out to be involved with one of the schools in town, and of course we know some of the same people, and of course these aren't people I necessarily want thinking that I am some sort of frayed and raving bitch. They're good people. I'm a good person too, impatience notwithstanding. So while this small town familiarity is warm and happy, it can also be dangerous for someone like me, who has yet to fully master the urge to spit barbed wire and nails when provoked. I don't expect this conflict to go away any time soon. If I were going to outgrow the nail spitting, I would have already. Sadly, hope for greater maturity in that regard dims with each passing year.

In any case, after the parade, ice cream and field games: sack races, egg toss, all that. The Bean wanted to do the egg toss with me until she figured out it meant throwing a real egg, at which point she wanted no part of it. Mr. Sandyshoes tossed an egg with a friend, and they did pretty well, but not well enough. At some point, you have to switch from underhand to overhand throws to make the distance, and then it's much harder to control. There was some real competition from kids in baseball uniforms. Next year though, look out.

Then, after a brief tour of the portable toilets from which the Bean recoiled in horror rather than make use of, it was time to head home. I was looking forward to some quiet anyhow, after all the shouting and sirens and egg toss bullhorn. On to a lovely, uneventful rest-of-the-day, and the popping sound of distant fireworks all through the evening.

Hoping your 4th was good fun as well!

Oh yeah, and hands up all who'll miss Jesse Helms. Anyone? Anyone?


  1. dennis from dennis12:07 PM, July 05, 2008

    Helms... good riddance.

  2. "how hard can it BE?" very hard, for some. i dont think you are setting the bar too high so much as setting it at your level, not theirs. you clearly are operating at a higher level - geologist, reading books, etc. - than most. Keep in mind that many people did not graduate from high school, let alone college and be a little compassionate (lol). in that light, your expectation that you will say things once (dont you have kids?) and the "professional" will respond appropriately could be a little excessive. after all, they are all idiots.

  3. I adore the DISTANT sounds of fireworks popping. I cannot bear the smell of the sulfur that consumes the air after fireworks, though. Ugh.

  4. You're right anon, I don't expect to have to say things only once to my kids. Ha - if only! I can hope, sure... but I don't expect it :).

    Business dealings are another thing, and yeah, my fuse for dealing with incompetence can be short. But you know... all I really want is my calls returned when promised, and that doesn't take any kind of diploma.

  5. My kiddos enjoyed riding their tricked-out bikes in our little parade at the cottage. It was fun.

    I know what you mean about business people not being as competent as we would expect. I don't expect great intelligence, just mere competence but apparently that is asking too much sometimes.