Over the weekend I had this bright idea to go to the Chinese New Year parade. My husband agreed, and on Saturday hurried me out the door so we could be there by noon, because, according to him anyway, that was the start of the parade. It was a beautiful day, nothing weird happened on the subway, and my nose wasn’t assaulted by any foul mass transit odors. Since that almost never happens, I’d say all signs pointed to a good time.
So we got off at the Chinatown stop and exited to find throngs of people making their way to the main plaza. Once there we made a quick tour of the area to see if anything of interest was happening, checked out some of the booths, and then made our way to the street in which the parade passes. My husband is a super antsy individual, so after he wove in and out of the crowds for an eternity, I dug in my heels upon finding a spot of shade. It was 82 degrees, warm enough to make me wish I’d worn shorts instead of jeans, and I knew if I left it up to him we would have wandered all the way downtown. He doesn’t do well standing in one spot, but whatever, it was twenty past twelve by that point, so I figured the parade would start at any minute. Not so much. As time wore on, the sidewalks became more and more congested, motorcycle cops whizzed by, shouting at people to stay behind the white lines spray painted on the street, and nothing at all happened.
So we waited.
You know who else doesn’t do well standing in one spot? Me. Despite the fact that, as a bit of a germaphobe, I would typically eschew sitting on the street, we waited so long I finally decided to plop myself on the curb. One hour and a half million of those little snap firework thingies parents buy their children to keep them occupied later, the parade began. And that is when I realized a few things. First, parades are really, really slow. Second, they are freaking boring, and I am NOT a parade person, and what was I thinking when I suggested we go? In my head, I thought it would be a big Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon-fest, with Shaolin swords and ninjas, and, I dunno, nunchucks (side note to martial arts fans ready to lecture me in the comment section about the inaccuracy of that sentence. I know what came from where, or I do after spending an hour this morning looking up martial arts weaponry and the history of ninjas. But at least I got the sword part right. And also? I totally want one of those Wushu fans). Sadly there wasn’t a single throwing star to be found, which probably makes sense given the large number of people in attendance.
The most entertaining part of the parade was the two boys sitting next to us, whose parents bought a boatload of those popper rockets that explode confetti. Every couple of minutes, the dad would let one go, and each time those boys would shout with near-maniacal glee and run out to try and catch the confetti as it fluttered through the air. It was pretty awesome.
It also got me to thinking about what would have to be floating through the air in order to elicit such unreserved joy in me, aside from money, because that’s too obvious. Plus, in all honesty, if money was being thrown around, I probably would have run away from the crowd to avoid the mass hysteria bound to follow as people trample each other for a buck. Anyway. I couldn’t come up with a single thing.
Geez, I feel so jaded.