The One-Legged Parakeet Will Wake Me For the Parade

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Let me just begin by saying that I’m not a fan of Fiesta (what Barbara Renaud wryly and derisively refers to as “the biggest ten-day pachangalooza you’ll ever see”). For ten days people are roaming around in a disjointed daze, like runaway dogs lost in a neighborhood not their own. Traffic patterns are re-routed because of the dozens of parades, street fairs, carnivals, neighborhood-wide barbecues, and goddamn pet parades.

Today I had several things I planned to do before going into my evening job. For instance, I realized I have four over-due library books. No problem, I’ll cruise by the main branch and drop them off. Little did I know that one of the major Fiesta parades (the Battle of the Flowers — can that be right???) was not only gearing up (I kinda knew that), but it necessitated major street closures between me and the library. So, instead of fighting my way through a circuitous labyrinth of detour signs, I thought the price of an additional weekend’s worth of late fees was a sensible price for my mental well-being. Next stop. I needed to get my inspection sticker for my truck. The first place I went to down on S. Presa was just down to one guy. His co-workers were probably all downtown watching the parade. He said it’d be thirty minutes before he could look at my truck. The next place I tried was pretty much the same. The guy who did the inspections was out. He’d be back later. After the parade ended, I assumed. And the third place — the same. “Guy will be back in an hour or two.”

At this point, I gave up on most of my other errands. No one was where they were supposed to be. And all citizens were all driving like maniacs. Even along the very laid-back southside streets. South Presa is a quiet artery where no one ever honks a horn (except in friendly greeting — and then just a tap), and the traffic is mostly moving five miles under the speed limit. However, today I had scads of bumper hogs and a few near-misses.

So, I swung over to URBAN-15. Man, that was a fucking three-ring circus. Tomorrow is one of their biggest days of the year. They always march in the Flambeau Parade, the Fiesta evening parade. There were over a dozen of dancers and drummers putting the finishing touches on their costumes. Molly, the new building manager and general handy-woman, was charging around inviting everyone to head upstairs to the second floor of the dormitory to check out the cool air from the central A/C unit she’s just fixed. George was getting some deposits ready to take to the bank. Catherine was talking to the guy from the panoramic photography company which will be taking photos tomorrow of the entire URBAN-15 drum and dance company — the photo guy was setting up tier riser seating in the little parking-lot. And I found myself conscripted into preparing a part of the basement space for a film shoot that will be happening Sunday morning. And at some point during all this madness, Jim Mendiola and Faith Radle — director and producer of the reality TV show “Las Chicas Project” — dropped by. Their show has come to San Antonio this week. The Chicas, Yasmin and Crash (their names according to the press release) will be dancing in the Flambeau Parade with URBAN-15. Las Chicas had the day off, so I didn’t get to meet them. From what I can gather having watched a bit of the TV show is that the Chicas are somewhat like that show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, but the Chicas are spunky and smart and do things like sky diving … and, well, dancing in parades. Unlike Paris and Nicole, you’re not supposed to laugh AT the Chicas.

I didn’t really get any time to speak with Jim and Faith, but they seemed quite nice. They are completely on top of this production. Smiling and unfrazzled.

And then I had to get onto the highway and head up to work.

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Tonight I made it back to my neighborhood by ten. All of the King WIlliam area is barricaded off. Well, closed to “thru traffic.”

The King William Parade begins in the morning. I believe this year it’s happening a bit later, at ten a.m.

I hate parades. And as I was shifting crap around in the basement of URBAN-15 this afternoon, George had the televised feed from the fucking Battle of the Flowers parade, rear-projected on a large screen. That I could have handled. Just lavish images. But the audio was thundering from a bank of muscular PA speakers. Oh, mercy. I do hope Hell exists, because if it does, these morons who chatter with the color commentary of parade activity will doubtlessly be roasting in the fires of Hades … along with sports fans and military recruiters.

And even though I have my gripes with Fiesta in general, and parades in particular, I have a soft spot for the King William Parade. First off, there are no TV commentators (not that I know of). And then, there’s the fact that the parade passes right by my front yard. And, best of all, this is, as I’ve said before, something of a people’s parade. And though I’d hardly call it a gay pride event, it does have a higher queer quotient than probably any other event of this size in San Antonio.

Besides, it gives me an opportunity to blog snarky comments about the San Antonio chapter of the Sierra Club — a bunch of self-righteous tossers and poseurs and, dammit, litterbugs (guys, I think I still have some of the shit you left in my front yard from last year). Pull your heads out of your asses and join up with Earth First, you pussies!

But I digress.

I’ll be out there, in my front yard, sipping coffee, and cheering the neighborhood arts organizations and businesses like Jump Start, Gemini Ink, Miss South Town, La Tuna, as well as groups like the Underground FIlm Festival (which has changed it’s name for the second time — and really, Adam, what’s up with that?), the Alamo City Roller Girls, and on and on. If I’m feeling frisky I might lob some over-ripe fruit at the two or three corporate assholes that weasel in (like Time-Warner Cable or Ronald Fucking McDonald) — so, if you’re local, and programed into my cell-phone, don’t be surprised if you get a call requesting some fast cash motored over to the Bexar County courthouse.

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Wednesday Pete called me up and said he and Lisa were heading out of town and could I look after their birds.

Well, sure. I don’t want them starving or anything.

“Great,” he said. “I’ll head on over and drop them off.”

“What? Today?”

“Sure. They’re little birds. You won’t even hear them.”

Okay. Hummingbirds are quiet. These are parakeets. Or something like that. And they like to wake up early. But not me.

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Oh well. It’s my job to keep them alive until Pete and Lisa return.

Pete did have the presence of mind to tell me that one of the birds (for reasons he did not go into) was missing a foot. It still seems to flit around and perch and so on with no real problem. But I’m glad he told me. Because I could easily see some sort of I Love Lucy sit-com scenario where I suddenly notice the peg-legged bird and rush out to buy one that looks close enough to it and switch them. And then, what would I have done with the footless bird? Well, I guess I’ll never know.

“Petey?”

“Yeah. What’s up, hon?”

“This bird’s grown back it’s foot.”

“Naw. Erik probably just stuck some toothpicks on it. Look for the staple. I thought I told him all about it.”

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What I first mistook for some fireworks or miscellaneous Fiesta sounds tonight, I eventually came to realize was the sounds of a serious thunderstorm moving into town. And then it all just started coming down. First some eyeball-sized hail. And then sheets of rain. I stepped out on my porch and watched Hope and her kids across the street scurrying around to get the Fiesta decorations on their porch out of the rain.

After about an hour of rain, hail, thunder, and lightening (I shut down my computer and unplugged my modem), I’m now wondering just how sad and bedraggled the neighborhood’s Fiesta decorations are going to be looking in the morning?

Oh, well. I’d better set my alarm (even though I have birds) and see what’s what in the morning.

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