Monday, August 1, 2011

Middle Of The Road



I got a call last week from the barn asking me to drive carriage in the Days of '47 Parade.

And now, a short break for some exposition, with a side of rant:

For those of you new to the Confessions of a Slave Driver blog, it would behoove you to understand that I hate, hate, HATE driving in parades. Why? Because they don't pay squat. Most of the time the best you can hope for is a mild case of heat stroke and all the candy that ends up by your feet after being pelted with it by miniature hooligans, AKA children. In the mean time I've gotten up at the crack of ass, driven eighteen miles at dawn to play hurry up and wait while the vehicles are readied/decorated. Then you rush over to the parade staging area where you stand around and wait until it's your turn to join the mêlée. After plodding for what seems like 200 miles at four miles an hour, if you're lucky, and two mph if you're not, you arrive at a massive cluster of disarray and pandemonium reminiscent of the Gladiatorial games in Rome only to have your occupants, who usually have no idea what they are supposed to do next, jump ship with little more than a "Have a happy day."

Yes, thank you and may your day be absolutely fantastic! As it is, I'm roasting, have to pee real bad, and I'm so hungry that the plump haunch of my horse's rear end is starting to make me salivate. So the 'happy' part so far is not materializing… right now I am just having a day.

In fact I dislike parades so much that the opening of my first novel, The Carriage Trade, begins with a frantic dash to a parade where the stress level goes from bad to DEFCON 5.

End Rant. Exposition continues:

Anyway, the Days of '47 Parade celebrates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. I am not Mormon, so none of the festivities really applies to me. I have a personal prohibition about working on drinking and/or firework holidays such as New Year Eve, Independence Day, and, in our family at least, Easter. This prohibition also applies to Pioneer Day. Why do I avoid working on those days? Because I'm usually drinking, and blowing off fireworks. But not this time; this time I was bullied into participating by co-workers MBA and Ro. Both of them had agreed to drive. So after MBA pulled the friend card, I was force to capitulate.

MBA driving Tony



I requested to drive Rex because I've driven him in parades before and he's solid as a rock. Plus co-worker Bobbie asked to join me on the box as she had never driven carriage in a parade before. So while Ro, driving Tom in front of us, and MBA, driving Tony behind us, had to serpentine the entire route, thus effectively walking twice as far as Rex did, we went straight down the middle of the road. Which probably looked boring, but at least we didn't come off as intoxicated with the swerving back and forth the whole way. Both Ro and MBA claimed to be a little queasy upon completion.

Ro driving Tom (you just cant see him)



At least the parade was uneventful for us.
For the Royalty Float, which was enveloped in smoke spewing from the motor compartment, not so much. But we went out to lunch at the Red Iguana* after, so it turned out to be a good day after all.

Except maybe for this horse who either cannot read or else is just a scofflaw when it comes to legal parking.




*The Red Iguana is a fabulous Mexican restaurant. Actually, there are two, RI1 and RI2. Red Iguana 1 was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives so it's always packed. Red Iguana 2 is a "known only to the locals" annex around the corner from RI1. The food is outstanding.

4 comments:

Corinna said...

haha, I'm one of the new readers that just found you today- what an introductory post for me! The royal float consumed in smoke made me laugh audibly... eating your horse's haunch; I can just imagine.

looking forward to following so I can read more great posts!

best, corinna

p.s. super excited to see you're a published author, congrats! I'm going to go stalk around your blog for more info on your books! :)

Anonymous said...

That "friend card" is actually a REALLY BIG DEAL, so I'm very glad you drove and went out to lunch. We DID have a fun time! ---MBA

Slave Driver said...

Corinna, welcome. The only publish fiction I have is my short story, but I'm in the process of shopping for an agent so I hope that will change soon.

MBA, I think the next time we're asked about doing a speciality like a parade we should take the time we would have been in the parade and go to a bar instead. Maybe Flemmings; that place was awesome!

Slave Driver said...

PublishED, not publish...I. Need. More. Coffee!