If a parade goes down the middle of the street and there's nobody there to watch it, are the clowns still scary?
Saturday I needed to do an errand that involved popping downtown to Bridge Street in our sleepy little downtown area.
I usually take the highway to High Street, and cruise through my favourite neighbourhood in town. This one houses the oldest mansions, the three-fireplace-houses-with-upstairs-screened-in-porches. I have a fantasy that one day I will be able to see (or live) inside one house in particular. Until I do, I will just drive by and daydream.
Anyway, Bridge street was closed off at High Street. There were volunteers that let no passers through, that looked determined and a little too enthusiastic to have a reason to turn on vehicles that didn’t want to heed the big blue barriers that blocked the road. There was no traffic either way, so I decided to park at the barrier and walk downtown, it being such a nice day and all.
I stopped at the barrier and looked left, looked right. I saw no reason for barriers. There were no crowds, nothing. I asked a volunteer, "What's up?"
She looked at me as if I should know already, and said in a tone that chastised me just a bit for not knowing "It's the Shriner's Parade."
I looked left again. Oh, there were some police officers on bikes, and a fire truck, and if I listened carefully, I could hear the parade band tuning up.
I looked right again. But where were all the people? Had I stepped into some weird anti-parade dimension?
I walked on, struck again that I could only see about 30 people sitting up and down the street, most of them local vendors coming out to see what's going on, or people like me, who just happened to stumble on a ghost-town parade.
It was eerie, embarrassing for the Shriners, shameful for our town and frighteningly hilarious to me.
My one errand on Bridge Street netted me a 'closed' sign, so I turned back, and finally saw the parade approaching.
The Shriners in their various forms - on too-tiny-motorcycles, too-tiny-ground-planes, sitting and waving in fancy cars and honking weird sounding horns. There were many of them, some younger than one might expect, and all of them wearing their nifty hats.
They smiled and waved for the few people that watched them go by to the accompaniment of the community band, who actually sounded pretty good.
I laughed at the absurdity of it, and believe the Shriners mistook that for enthusiasm. I received wave after wave from the merry men, which made me laugh harder.
When the clowns came toward me my fun ended.
Clowns are evil and must be stopped. I was afraid for my very soul and couldn't get back to the car fast enough.
The feeling that I had somehow been robbed of something hit me.
I had been gone less than ten minutes and the parade was over.
As I made it to my car (only checking over my shoulder once to make sure evil clowns weren't stalking me) I heard a mother say into her cell phone in a dismayed tone "It's over. The parade is already over."
And it’s just a shame that nobody saw it.