Saturday, December 1, 2012

Local Flavor

The Christmas parade was tonight! Between the downtown streets closed for the sewer repair project and the streets closed for the downtown parade route, it was pure bliss navigating the area, and it took me 20 minutes to find an open street and a parking place. Then I walked the direct route to where I wanted to stand and missed a chunk of the parade on the circuitous route around the courthouse. 

I was supposed to meet a friend there, but by the time I got parked and situated, she had to leave to deliver her daughter to the riverfront for a singing gig by the high school choir -- ridiculously scheduled  to overlap the parade time, and setting her smack into crazy traffic from the closed streets, and also fulfilling my dread of being at the parade all alone. It’s one thing to be home alone. It’s entirely another to be in a crowd alone. And lonely. Nobody to talk to. Thank God for texting. Seriously. At least I can create the illusion I have people.

The minimum light requirements for participants make the parade pretty cool, but some of the “float” entries seem questionable. Like four cement mixers, all in a row.  Yup, we mix us some concrete here in these parts. They had festive lights on them and were clean, so I guess that counts for something. My hands-down favorite “float” was the go-cart disguised as a sleigh, with a little girl driving it -- from her perch atop a porcelain toilet. This was for one of the plumbing companies. The plumbing company vehicle followed. The theme was “Christmas Around the World” and everyone all over the world pees and poops (even on Christmas), so I guess that fits.

If I hadn’t gotten there late and had actually seen the group and the (legitimate) float I wanted to see -- the Red River Sirens Roller Derby team’s “Siren Assault,” maybe that would’ve been my favorite. This year, instead of being way back in the lineup, they were closer to the front.  Maybe the third year of participation earns a better spot. Or maybe it was earned with the prize winning float last year. However it happened, I missed it, and didn’t know I’d missed it until Santa and Mrs Claus, always the last float, rolled in.

In spite of my late arrival, I got to see the Tennessee State University marching band, which was quite an impressive group, and the best band I’ve ever seen in the parade. Of course, the last two years I was in the parade with the derby team and didn’t get to see much beyond the float behind us and the tail lights in front of us.

I also got to see the four Corvette convertibles transporting Miss, Junior Miss, Little Miss, and Mini Miss Black Clarksville, which made me wonder why we don’t have pageants for Miss White Clarksville, Miss Hispanic Clarksville or Miss Korean Clarksville. But sometimes I think too much.

After the parade ended, I slipped into the martini bar I was strategically positioned in front of.  Waiting out traffic with a drink seemed like a better idea than sitting in the car in the traffic, even if I was all alone. I managed to silence the voice in my head that insists on singing “Delta Dawn” and “Copacabana” on such occasions.

Even though it was a martini bar, I had beer because the martini menu was too large for my limited and fragile menu-processing capacity. I would still be there trying to decide, had I not ordered Guinness and been done with it. From the bar, there was an excellent view of the intersection with the traffic lights recently replaced by stop signs, and a couple near-failures of the new system.

I also got to chat with a guy named Chris from Nashville. He said he was a publicist, in town for an event Sunday morning. We talked about the drunk guy who had just left, Mr. Scotch and Soda, who Chris pegged as "military, just returned from war and now his wife just left him -- seen that look a million times now," and a little marketing/publicity stuff. He told me about the condo he wants to buy in Nashville, and his boyfriend, and his pay cut a few years ago that is more than my entire salary. He told me how he gets hit on by more guys in Clarksville -- who claim to be straight -- than any place he has ever been. Then he left to go meet his friends.

It was another one of those nights out in my world that remind why I stay home so much.

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