Rose Parade Floats Viewing, January 2nd:
I walked my son several blocks down a typically—for Pasadena—vast and nicely swept boulevard to another major boulevard (wider than the Rio Grande and as sungleamy in our December heatwave) mobbed by people like us eager to see parade floats. As we waited at the intersection, pedestrians were distracted by a car horn—and booming, deeply anguished voice:
Beep, beeeeeeeep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeep. WHAT IS GOING ON! TELL ME! WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE! WHAT IS GOING ON!
As is typical when it comes to anyone in my immediate sight-range who might be in distress or acting out, fainting, starting a brawl, tripping drastically on pavement, lost, unknowingly dropping items from a stroller, losing a wandering child or dog, unaware of a pending bee swarm, etc., the crowd around my son and I melted away and there was only me and the stranger in his big shiny car, honking and yelling as though his best friend had just been destroyed.
I stepped to the curb.
Float viewing, sir.
I raised my arm and pointed up the boulevard we were about to cross. In the distance, colorful float tops were visible.
Yes, sir. Right up there. Float viewing.
Immediately, the man calmed. The WALK sign blazed. My son and I moved off. People in the crowd commented on the man’s frustration. They laughed critically and uttered unkind remarks.
Sometimes, I told my son, bracing his arm as he jumped up the typically—for Pasadena—steep curb. Sometimes, people just need answers.
Mama, look over there, he replied. Shaved ice!