Monday, December 21, 2009

Collective Observations From Christmas Carriage Season '09

Dear Residents of the Salt Lake Valley and various parts of Idaho,

Section 1, paragraph A

There is one weekend a year where downtown is transformed from a relatively peaceful small market to a hellacious traffic cluster f*ck of epic proportions. Okay, two weekends. But only during one of them are carriage rides in high demand. The first weekend, which is inconsequential to the carriage trade, is spring Conference weekend. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus is almost always at the Energy Solutions Arena the same weekend as conference. Please note this on your calendar, either as a warning or as practice, since traffic is always cocked up. If you use this as practice, then note that the absolute worst weekend to drive downtown is around the second weekend in December. This is when the highly intelligent powers that be schedule the Christmas program at the Conference Center (capacity 21,000 plus 900 in the adjoining theater) a Utah Jazz basketball game (capacity 20,000) Kurt Bestor Christmas show at Abravanel Hall (capacity 2811) and, of course the Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater (2260). We're not going to even count the number of people looking at the lights on Temple Square or attending a Christmas party at either the Joseph Smith Memorial building or any of the restaurants/hotels downtown. And God forbid they schedule anything at all at The Salt Palace Convention Center. So, if you plan on attending a function downtown on the Thursday, Friday or Saturday evenings on the weekend I have just mentioned, may I suggest you either take public transportation or, if you plan on driving, want to be on time and find a parking spot, leave your home at noon. If you are coming from southern Idaho, make it noon the day before.

It's no secret folks, if you have internet access you can look it up for yourself. Plan a little better for 2010, m'kay?

Section 1 paragraph B

Next item on the agenda; Orange cones. Orange cones serve as a warning. They mean, "Slow down" or "Caution" or "Don't freaking park here you moron." The ones we use are approximately two feet tall and are bright ORANGE so how a person can step out of their vehicle, (stopped in the middle of the street, blocking traffic, mind you) and trip over one shows me that they are either blind, stupid, or extremely obtuse. If I were them I'd go with obtuse because I like the way the word rolls off the tongue. And some people don't know what it means, so they might even come off looking smart, which they're not. Because they're obtuse.

Section 1 paragraph C

When a pedestrian steps out into traffic and holds up their hand in the universal sign indicating "Stop," they are not taunting you into a game of "Chicken" but in fact want you to "stop." If you are unaware what the word "stop" means, see above section 1 paragraph B, because obviously you are obtuse.

(41-6a-1002. Pedestrians' right-of-way -- Duty of pedestrian.

(1) (a) Except as provided under Subsection (2), when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way by slowing down or stopping if necessary.)

The fact that said pedestrian then allows a horse drawn conveyance out in front of you is superfluous to the operation. It is a universal truth that at Christmas time, we do in fact own the roads.

Section 1 paragraph D

When you make a reservation and Ro tells you over the phone that, "Your reservation begins at _:00 o'clock and ends at _:30", she's not kidding. Seriously. It's not that we like being mean (ok, well, I do) it's just that you're cutting into our income. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't appreciate someone cutting into your income. So don't be late. And if you end up being late because the highway was backed up for m i l e s, see section 1, paragraph A. The inability to manage the space/time/traffic continuum on your part does not constitute an "emergency" on mine.

Section 2 paragraph A

There are four verses to Jingle Bells. Four. And the "Batman Smells" is not one of them. And quit starting Christmas carols so high on the scale that when you get to the chorus you sound like chipmunks caught in a bear trap. It's unbecoming and annoys the shit out of the horse.

Section 2 paragraph B

Don't tip me in candy. I'm not a trained seal, I work for money, not treats. I don't hand your kids a cold beer, so don't give me a .99¢ box of chocolate covered orange sticks you got on sale at Walgreens.

Section 2, Paragraph C

Unless you have a reasonably intelligent question or your hair in on fire, don't talk to the driver, talk to each other. Any other time of the year we are both pleasant and informative. During Christmas, counter to the usual festive merriment of the season, we are tired, cold, hungry and surly. Plus we are swathed in so many layers of clothing we are roughly the size of a Sumo wrestler, so it makes turning around to talk an exercise in futility. We are limberly challenged. So if your impetus for taking a ride is not to see the lights but in fact to have a conversation with a carriage driver, I suggest you come back in June. In June, we like to talk.

Section 3 paragraph A

Not every single horse we have is a Clydesdale, so quit telling your family that the horse I'm working with is a Clydesdale. We only have two Clydesdales; Bart and Libby, the rest are not Clydesdales. And be thankful Jumping-Percheron's Stacey no longer works for us or she'd rip you a new one for calling Wesson a Clydesdale.

Section 3 paragraph B

As much as we would like to be able to, we do not allow the horses to eat while they are working. This is for several reasons: A horse like Charlie, if given a treat while on the street, will bug the shit out of everyone he possibly can begging for more. Really. He's a pig, with a giant ass. I know because I look at it all night long. Also, if given treats while working the horses come to expect it, and when your child walks up with sticky candy cane residue on their fingers, the horse might decide that a candy cane flavored finger would be a good treat too. And then you're stuck with a child who will eventually be given the nickname "Lefty" in school and one day they will climb a clock tower with a 30-06 and take their fingerless rage out on the world.

So bring out treats and give them to the driver. The nice carriage driver will take the treats back to the barn and feed the horsie his treats later. Horses, by the way, love medium rare filet mignon with twice baked potatoes and asparagus. Honestly.


BCB said...

LMFAO!! I know, I shouldn't laugh, because I know you're serious, but damn that was funny.

Merry Christmas, SD! I hope Santa knows that naughty can be just as good as nice (otherwise you're screwed) and that you got everything you wanted this year.

I'd wish you peace and joy but I'm pretty sure they aren't real high on your priority list. ;) Instead I'll wish you laughter and friendship and polite customers. And published books.

tronfas: expletive used by horses after realizing that was not, in fact, a candy cane

Anonymous said...

You're damn right I would. Maybe I should have Wes an "I'm not a Clydesdale" halter made and get it sent out to you ;)

Anonymous said...

Ok, now that I'm thinking about it I guess I have to rant a little bit. You knew that would do it damn it SD!!! You knew saying SOMETHING about all drafts being Clydes would light the fuse.

I remember one day when this lady walked by and very matter of factly looks at Wesson and says "Now THAT is a Clydesdale." I said "Or not. How about he's a Belgian and doesn't even look anything close to a Clyde. When is the last time you've seen his twin brother on a Bud commercial?" Nothing says I don't know shit like pointing out in your stupid know it all voice a Belgian or a Perch as a Clyde. Thank you drive thru.

Just the other week when I took Klein to work this guy goes "That's a Clydesdale, yeah?" Uh. No, closed minded simpleton, she sure isn't. And I'm damn glad she's not. But my real reply was "Uhhh NO, Clydesdales can't even be grey." I just don't get why it is so hard to grasp the concept that there is MORE THAN ONE BREED OF DRAFT HORSE. WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT?!?!

This one wasn't Clyde related but it was still funny. I was driving Tony and this girl comes up like "Oh yeah I drive a team at Thanksgiving point, blah blah blah." Then she asks "What breed is he?" Are you joking? Nothing gives away the fact that you don't drive shit at Thanksgiving point like asking what breed Tony is when you could go to a dictionary and look up "Belgian Horse" and see his picture. You don't get much more Belgian than Tony.

You don't have to lie to make friends.

Belle's personal assistant said...

It was really odd not to be a part of the Carriage Christmas season. It was the first time since 1995. But I did not miss the crowds or the idiots.

In response to the "Every horse is a Clydesdale" I have had some convinced that Mikey (big, gorgeous, blonde belgian) was a Morgan. My sister has morgans. Sergeant is less than 15 hh. Mikey was over 18.

My personal favorite though was when I was driving Karl. (Karl was and still is actually, but retired and living happily in South Jordan, a huge dopey Clydesdale without two brain cells to rub together) A couple (of idiots) comes up and asks what he is. I get the opportunity to respond that he IS in fact a clydesdale. "No, He can't be! Budweiser has the Patent on Clydesdales."
I told them that he was a Pepsi Clydesdale.

Christina said...


These are universal truths of carriage driving. All sooooooo true!

I wrote a blog about the "That's a Clydesdale thing", too.