Monday, July 5, 2010

Lessons in Crowds

Brought to you by sparklers and the joy of writing your name with one.

Sunday night and I had two fairly enticing options: go to Pacific Symphony's Firework event at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater or grab a bottle of wine, some very bbq-ish food, sit on the hood of my car and watch fireworks old school.

I did a little of both.  I'm sorta like that.

I like days that don't have much in the way of structure to them.  Come when you want and go when you want and have dinner when you want and eat macaroni and cheese with bacon when you want.  Those sort of days.  Today was one of them.  I finished with a perfectly greasy meal and, it being still light out, figured heading over to the ampitheater might be worth while.

It was. 

So, there was this perfectly lovely event and as it ended there were sudden mad dashes for the exit.  Rather than join the crowd, I sat back and...watched.

There are interesting things to see when you watch the crowd.

The Hand Gesturer.
He's standing in the midst of the crowd and melting down.  Though I do think he's talking to himself as a coping mechanism and I can completely appreciate that.  It's the hand gestures that make me wonder if he's going to pull a machete anytime soon and take out half of Orange County.  Keep thinking of happy, soft places, sir. You're almost out of the crowd.

Look at Me Guy.
He speaks loud enough for half of the crowd to hear him, "I'm SO glad we got the good seats and not the ones 30 rows back.  Aren't YOU?"  He sees me roll my eyes at him and quiets down a bit.  I'm not fond of The Loud having been one in my past life.

The Comedian.
Okay, my favorite.  Mid to late fifties, walking down the stairs and getting in the crowds, always looking for the laugh sort of guy.  He says, "I lost my wife, but that's okay.  If you find her you can have her."  His wife is right behind him rolling HER eyes. 

Sequined Hat Woman.
She's around 84 and is wearing a sequined top hat that has been sat on at least 37 times.  If you saw the way she wore it though you'd smile like I did.  She walks by me and I mention my admiration.  Her response, "It's old but I'm never going to stop wearing it."  When you're 84, the style rules no longer apply to you. 

(Please, please shoot me in the back of the head if I turn into a sequined top hat wearing old woman.  Please.)

No, this wasn't the same crowd as the Sting concert and there weren't waitresses coming by for my drink order and the line for the disabled shuttle was longer than the VIP drink line.  Still, I think the stories this crowd could tell would be richer any day.  At the end of the event, the conductor of the symphony honored the members of the armed forces by playing each of the marches.  As they played you saw young and old stand and reach across aisles to salute and nod at each other.  Nods full of layers.  Nods full of life.  Nods full of sacrifice and struggle and decisions. 

You get to wear a freakin' sequined top hat when you've sacrificed for your country.  And you get to talk to yourself in crowded lines that make you nervous when you've given years in service for our freedom.  And you get to make silly cracks at your wife's expense when you have to leave your country and work overseas.  And you get to talk overly loud.....well, don't get to do that, sir.  You're still too loud. 

A big, sequined, sparkler written thank you.
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