Friday, January 7, 2011

Rose Parade Floats

I can’t believe that just a week ago I was writing about going to see the Rose Parade floats. Now we’ve been and gone, the holidays are over and life has returned to normal

We almost didn’t go. It was very cold for Southern California and the middle of the night is the coldest time of day. Some of the people who were supposed to come along, dropped out and I have to admit curling up under my comforter did sound appealing. But at the same time going out across the valley in the middle of the night was an adventure.

We didn’t get to the area where the floats were parked until after 2 a.m. This year there weren’t any people dressed up in party wear. I think they’d already been there and gone home. Most of the people looked like us and were bundled up in sweat pants and sneakers, or in my case, Crocs.

Even the parade workers were pretty subdued. Some were asleep in folding chairs next to their floats and others were huddled around propane heaters trying to stay warm.

This year the floats seemed much bigger and more elaborate than the previous year. Could that be a sign of the times - that things are really getting better?

Somebody said it must have smelled wonderful with all those flowers. I did a lot of sniffing, but I never got the slightest whiff of anything floral.

By the time we got to the very front of the parade, the grassy parkway was totally covered with people in sleeping bags, camping out until the parade began. We started the long walk back past all the floats just as the bomb squad guys arrived. The two men were dressed in seriously creepy black outfits with bomb squad written on the back of their shirts. Their dogs matched their clothes, though they didn’t seem creepy. Even bomb sniffing dogs wag their tails.

Somehow I ended up keeping pace with them. Every now and then, the two guys glanced over at me with a curious stare. They couldn’t have seriously thought I was a threat. I looked like the Michelin Man bundled up in my down coat, and I was wearing black and white striped gloves. What kind of trouble maker would wear black and white striped gloves? Finally, the dogs took a break and I kept on going. By now it was around 4 a.m. and TV crews were arriving and there was a lot of action in the trailers set up by the Wrigley mansion which is the Rose Parade headquarters. A bunch of highway patrol officers showed up and took pictures of each other standing in front of the floats.

I was a little weary by the time we got back to the end of the parade. Ahead the normally busy Orange Grove Ave was empty (it was closed off), though brightly lit by the huge lights held up by cranes. We passed groups of people carrying thermos and folding chairs. It took me a moment to realize it was so late, they weren’t coming to look at the floats the way we did. They were coming to watch the parade.

We went to IHOP on the way home. There was something going on with cops in the parking lot. Inside two cops were talking to the cashier. I’m not sure if they were talking about a pancake orders or taking a report of trouble. When my waffle came, I looked out the window. Something seemed strange about the sky. Then I got what it was. Dawn.

I couldn’t believe I had managed to stay up all night without falling on my face. Goldy was asleep in the middle of my bed when I got home. She gave me a dirty look when I tried to get her to move. I think she figured it was going to be hers for the night.

When was the last time you stayed out all night?


Linda O. Johnston said...

I don't think I ever stayed out all night, Betty--certainly not for something as fun as seeing the Rose Parade floats! It was a kick watching the ones I'd seen being worked on in their final full regalia in the parade on TV. I'll bet seeing them in the middle of the night felt especially exciting.

Planner said...

What a great start to your year!

I stayed up all night on my third date with my husband. After he brought me home, we started talking in the car, and some magical connection happened. Neither of us wanted to leave, so we stayed up all night in the car, just talking. I knew at that point that it could be a special relationship.

Betty, how long did it take you to recover from your night out?

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, you're right about it being exciting seeing the floats in the middle of the night.

Planner, I slept for a few hours and then had a regular day. I was tired that night, though. I seem to go with the flow pretty easily. When I came back from a trip to London, I was expecting jet lag and for my days and nights to be all confused, but I just dropped my bags, went out to lunch. I went to sleep at my normal time and awoke the next morning like always. I kept waiting to hit a wall, but never did.