Thursday 31 October 2013

Rain On My Halloween Parade

Every year Frack's school celebrates Halloween with a parade.  They usually march the kids in  their little costumes around the block and the parents just line up all along the sidewalk.  It's a good deal because there's no real competition for space and if you show up a little late you can just position yourself ahead of the parade.  When Frick was going there I went to every Halloween parade and they were always very well done.

I was really looking forward to it last year because it was Frack's first Halloween parade.  Unfortunately last year it was raining so they had the parade inside.  The school newsletter said that the parade would be starting at "approximately one o'clock" so I was there at 12:55, camera ready.  "Approximately one o'clock" turned out to be 1:20.

It was hot and stuffy and crowded in there.  I was stuck behind two tall people so there was no way Frack could see me.  It was a miracle that I was able to see him when he went by.  The only reason he believed I was there was because I managed to get video footage of him walking down the hall in his costume.

Once all the kids went by everyone was herded into the gym, but by then I was so hot and tired and cranky that I decided to just go home.  The whole experience sucked pretty hard for both kids, most of whom were unable to see their parents in the crowded hallway, and the parents who were frantically craning their necks and calling out to their kids to let them know they were there.

Well this year they managed to make it suck even harder.

It's been raining all night and all morning and so I had no hope of this year's parade being outdoors.  But I forced myself to go because I knew that Frack was counting on me being there.  I had to at least get a picture of him in the parade to prove I was there.  Since it took so long to get started last year I took no pains to be early but I was exactly on time....only to discover that this year they had started early.

I totally missed Frack's class.

They had gone upstairs to parade through the rest of the school.  I heard murmurs from the other parents that the kids would be coming back down and we'd probably get to see them again with the older grades.  Once again the hallway was hot and stuffy and crowded.  Once again parents vied for better spots to take pictures.

After Frack's class the other Kindergarten class marched briskly past us.  Then there was a five minute wait before the first graders sped by.  (Seriously, why are they going so fast?  It's like watching a fire drill.)  Then we waited around for about ten minutes while nothing happened.

Where were the rest of the kids?  We were genuinely confused because last year it may have been crowded and stuffy but there had at least been a steady stream of kids going by.

Suddenly, at the far end of the hall some Kindergarteners came through the door to the upper floors of the school.  Those doors were far away from most of the parents but only about 10 feet from the gym door.  For a small second I caught a fleeting glimpse of Frack's backside before he marched himself into the gym.  I was not quick enough to get a picture.

Then we saw first graders, second graders and progressively older kids flowing into the gym through this ten foot interval which provided the least possible viewing space for the hundred some odd parents lining the hallway.  The worst part about all of this was that they could just as easily have used the doors at the other end of the hall which would have had all these kids marching past their parents waiting for them along the hallway.

Oh, but what's this now?  All of the parents seem to be heading into the gym.  I took this to mean that all the kids were in the gym and now the parents would be allowed to enter.

This did not seem like a good idea to me.  My instincts were telling me that any experience to be had inside the confines of that gym were bound to be un-enjoyable at best.  Usually these gymnasium affairs consist of a crowd of parents standing at the back of the gym and competing with people of varying heights for the ability to look at their kids.

But I was determined to go in there anyway.

"I'll just go in there, get my picture of Frack, maybe wave at him and then quietly leave," I told

I followed the herd of parents heading into the gym only to be blocked from entering by yet another parade of costumed children we could barely see.  So now we were bottlenecked at the end of the hall as our kids were whizzing by us into the gym.  One woman couldn't take it anymore.

"This is stupid.  This is stupid!  This is SO STUPID!"

OMG, someone was about to be totally amazing and she was standing right behind me!  She was getting progressively louder.

"Isn't there something we can DO?!?  There must be something we can DO about this!"

And then...

"This has to stop!  Right NOW.  We must stop this now!"

People were starting to look at her funny.  Some of the kids marching by stopped to look at her.  The people next to her looked distinctly uncomfortable.

"Isn't anyone going to do anything about this?!?  This CAN'T be allowed to go on!"

You go, Disgruntled Mom!  You are literally the most entertaining thing about this parade.

Any minute now she's going to start in with a hearty rendition of  "Do You Hear The People Sing?"

I looked around me.  Most of the parents looked either really angry or really uncomfortable.  People were muttering complaints to each other.  Some were still desperately trying to get pictures of their kids.  Disgruntled Mom was becoming more irate, wailing about the "utter failure of this parade!"  These people clearly cared way more about this parade than I did.  I just wanted a stupid picture of my kid.

I finally decided to give up and resolved to get lots of pictures of Frack in his costume at home.  Whatever was in that gym could not possibly be worth this wait.  And since all hope of getting a picture of Frack in the parade was lost I decided to let Disgruntled Mom take my spot and I got myself the hell outta there.

Frack is home from school now.  He is apparently way too excited about Trick or Treat to give two shits about whether or not I was at that parade.  I think maybe I'll just stick to the outdoor ones from now on.

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