The man can't keep me down

Monday, November 28, 2005

Prior to telling you the parade story, I will treat you to the vision outside my office window. I have a corner cubicle, so although it is a cubicle, it feels as if I have an almost enclosed space. What makes it the BEST, is that I am on the 4th Floor and on an old mental institution campus grounds. Well, maybe that's a little creepy, but The old Elms on the grounds are gorgeous. Today was misty. The snow is melting, and it causes a fog to linger over the ground.



Ok, so we were staying at this studio apartment on E80th, between Park and Madison. Prime Location for museums, the park, et al. Thanksgiving morning arrives and I, sleepless from my night wedged in one small side space between two flailing bodies, moan as my husband gets up and announces that he's going for coffee!! He then further announces that I should get up and get us ready!!! Cause we're going to the Parade!!!!

My husband is totally a city person, He thrives on this energy. I myself feel ambivilent about most cities. I like the culture they offer, and the possibilities of cuisine that I can not get in the woods of New England, but am wary of the smelliness, and having my personal space bubble encroched upon, and waitstaff of whom I an unsure of their personal hygeine habits. That, and my new found fear of bedbugs - which I swear crossed my mind looking at those sketchy sheets even before I read the accursed NYTimes article.

I mumble at him something about "I'd rather live in the fifth circle of purgatory" and roll over to go back to sleep, since without his manly body taking up 2/3rds of the bed, I now have some space and the blood is returning to my legs.

He walks the brisk 3 blocks to one of the 8 billion Starbucks and then, knowing his wife, calls me to remind me to get up out of bed and get ready. Of course, his call comes at the p-re-cise moment I am finally falling to sleep. To add insult to injury, my ring tone is currently 'Ol Dirty Bastards "Baby I got your money", which jolts me to conciousness as if 'Ol Dirty was gyrating next to my ear, his gold grille a-grinnin. "Oh, oh yeah, baby I got your money, do-do-do-do-do, baby I got your money!"

The words that sprang from my lips were nothing close to "Happy Thanksgiving". I believe my daughter was treated to "Jesus Fucking Christ, what the fuck could you want?" - which is the traditional Thanksgiving greeting in my family. A little known fact.

Terrance: "Are you up? Are you getting Em ready? It isn't so cold as last night. I think it will be a great day to get out and see the parade."
Dawn: "I don't want to go. I am exhausted. I was almost back to sleep. Where the hell are you?"
Terrance: "Dawn, get up and get Emily ready, at least."
Dawn: ( showing how low her mothering standards have become) "Do I have to wash her or can I just put clean clothes on her?"
Terrance: "Just get her dressed, I 'll be back in a few minutes"
Dawn: "You better bring me the biggest cup of coffee they have"

So, I rustle my child out of bed and dress her. I wash her face. I am not sure if I made her brush her teeth or not. I don't think I did. I bundle her up and greet Terrance with grunt as I crawl back under the pillows. They leave. I lay in bed. I start to feel guilt. I mean, C'mon. I am in New York on Thanksgiving Day. I am across the park from the start of the parade. I am now watching pre-parade event on NBC. Terrance calls. He rubs it in. I hang up. I sip my coffee, and lie abed. I call him back. I inquire as to where exactly he is. He mocks me further. I hang up and ponder my sorry ass state further.

I watch the beginning of the parade. I call him again. He picks up the phone and laughs at me. He answers: "You can't stand it, can you? It's KILLING YOU, isn't it?"

Yes, it is. It is killing me. I leap up, shower and get dressed. The parade is well underway. This is the view from where Em and Terrance were stationed:
Clearly a fucking awesome spot.

I make it across the park and get to w81st. I call Terrance. "Where are you?", says he.
Me: "I am on the other side of the street....How do I get across? There are barricades every where!"

T: "Just run across the street!"

Me: "I can't there are police everywhere. Hey, there is the little Jai from Queer Eye. Man, he's SMALL! But he has really nice skin."

T: "Just run across, no one will stop you!"

I walk up and down the street nervously. I may be a bad ass in theory, but I am hesitant to jump out at the Macy's parade where there are many, many security people, all looking like Osama may be thinking about attacking Super Grover. I am a white woman - 5 foot four. I feel that I look very non-threatening, but these guys don't look festive or happy or anything.

I decide to make my break for it in front of the Budweiser Horses. I see a couple of police officers watching me, but keep my eyes averted and act as if I am a New Yorker - annoyed at such frivolity. I have to actually move a barrier to get across and begin my brisk walk to the corner of 81st. Woo-hoo. I am almost there.

Apparently not. The 2 cops at the corner point at all of us and say "You have to go around the other side." huh? All the way around the block? They ain't hearing a thing. I watch a few intrepid souls give it a go, trying to explain why they need to get by. No, No, and No.

I give up and turn back to walk around the block. Sigh. I call Terrance and explain that I have to walk around the block to get to him.

T: "Hurry up, you're missing the best stuff!!!"

I get to the corner and make my way to swing around. I large black police officer puts his body in front of me. "Where you headed to, ma'am?"

Me: "Over there, my family is waiting for me right over there. In front of that hotel."
I smile at the nice black man, making good eye contact. This has always worked in New England, and even in Detroit. But then again, I am always accompanied by my husband.

This time, it doesn't work. He is not impressed.

"Do you have ID? Are you a guest of that hotel? Only guests and invited guests can get over there"

Me: "but, but. My family is right there.(pointing) "

"You can't go over there Ma'am. Not unless you show me some ID that says you are a guest of that hotel."

Me: "Yeah, but they aren't guests of that hotel....How did they get there?"

"I don't know ma'am, they must have invitations - you need to move aside there are people waiting to get through."

This was the moment that I ALMOST said, it was at the very tip of my tongue "It's cause I'm white, isn't it?" But I didn't. I did not want to get booked on Thanksgiving. Riker's can't have a very Happy feast.

Instead I called Terrance, who walked over and said "What's the problem here?". At this point, this police officer looked everywhere but at me and my husband. My daughter leaps up on the barricade to hug me and says "Mommy, why won't the police let you in?"

So my husband comes over the barrier, and hugs me in front of the officer. I cut my eyes at him. and say loudly "He didn't believe that my family was over there, he wouldn't let me in"


I make it in, just in time to see the last balloon - Jo-Jo go before Santa makes his way to join the parade.

12 Baleful Regards:

the ockers said...

love the photos. and love the ny stories. kewl holiday alright.

Nancy said...

That's some amazing pictures. My daughter would have been thrilled to see Dora so close!

Don't forget about the Thanksgiving hamburger story (I'm waiting with bated breath -- not sinus breath, mind you.)

JenfromBoston said...

Racism, that keeps the *white wo/man* down?? What kind of racism is that?? honestly, some people just do not get it. (har. har. har-har-har.) So, did the Fuzz tell your daughter to suck it up, mommy can't see the show?

Did you make any "inflation" jokes when you met up w/ Terrance?

roo said...

Damn cops.

Erica said...

Those are really great photos! And hee hee about debating whether to bathe Emily or just put some clean clothes on. I would totally do that too, especially if I hadn't had a sip of coffee and had been elbowed and kicked all night. So, kudos to you to getting out of bed at all! I might have enjoyed the sleeping in while everyone was away. :D

Beth said...

That story is the best... I can just picture Emily giving her best wounded daughter impression -- "but mommy, why are the cops sooo mean to us?" and Terrance with the booming "what's the problem here" and suddenly the cop realizing your not just some white chick from Long Island...:) awesome.

oh, and may i take the time to say RIP ODB. when he died, my mother called me and said: "hey -- that guy you and your sister like -- i don't see the draw actually -- he died"

me: "what are you talking about"

mom: "you know - that rap guy Big Fat Bastard"

my sister and i laughed about that for weeks.

Beth said...

ooh -- i mean "you're" not "your". god! that's one of my pet peeves and i just did it myself.

Lisa said...

Ok. You are too funny. I too say "Jesus Fucking Christ" all of the time in front of my child. I will probably burn in hell for a long time for that.

Luckily, I have a very Catholic mother who reminds me everytime I see her that she's praying for my soul since I no longer go to church and have not had my child baptized. So I figure with her fretting for my soul an praying her little heart out, I should be good.

Loved your stories.

Have you been to Seattle? There's a Starbucks on EVERY freaking corner. NY can't touch them!

JenfromBoston said...

Beth, I just read that to Mike. That is f'n funny. "Big Fat Bastard". Hee. Wasn't he in Austin Powers?? I also love the "don't see thet draw actually".
Man, your mom is down.

Dawn said...

"Big Fat Bastard " was best known for his ballad:
"Get in my Belly Baby"

mothergoosemouse said...

I try really really really hard not to say JFC in front of the girls, but my in-laws make it really fucking hard sometimes.

Anyway...I love your story. I hope that scene embarrassed the living shit out of that cop. And I wouldn't have blamed you for lying in bed and watching the parade on TV, but given the fabulous vantage point from which T and E saw the parade, I might have been persuaded myself.

mothergoosemouse said...

And I love the picture, but you can totally tell that you work in what used to be an asylum. I think I would feel right at home.

 
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