December 16, 2010

Another thing I'm thankful for....

I am really thankful that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is televised.  Because it is terrible to experience in person.

Warning: If you are the kind of person who needs to put a positive spin on everything, you should stop reading now, because I'm about to put a negative spin on everything related to this parade.

Let's compare the experience of seeing the parade in person with with watching it on TV.
When you watch the parade on TV, you turn it on just before it starts and cozy up in your warm home to enjoy the show.

When you attend the parade in person, you arrive at least 1.5 hours before the start, and realize that you are still 7 people from the front and doomed to wait it out in the cold for a view that is less than desirable.

Watching the parade on TV, you see the millions of people gathered and think, "Wow, that's cool that so many people crowd the streets to partake of Thanksgiving festivities together."

In person, it's not so cool.  "Who are all these people?  Where do they all come from?  Why are total strangers touching me?"

If one of your contacts dries up and falls out of your eye 20 minutes before the parade starts, it's no problem at home.  Just excuse yourself to the bathroom and pop in a new one.

If this happens to you while waiting for the parade in person - you have no options.  Just cover up the blurry eye with your ear muff and pretend to be a pirate.  Don't forget to complain about how it just had to happen to your dominant eye and how are you supposed to take pictures now?

When you watch the parade on TV, you get to hear all the bands perform, watch the color guards twirl their flags, and dance along as the musical celebrities do their thing.

In person, every group walks (practically runs) by you in their hurry to get to the performance area, where all the TV cameras are recording it for the folks at home.  No musical numbers, no cheerleaders performing stunts, no dancing on the floats.  Just waving and power walking.
It is kind of awe-inspiring when you see how big the balloons really are in person.  Notice the bottom half of Snoopy compared to the top half of Joe and Ellie.  Also notice the really excited woman standing just left of Joe.
Now that you are freezing cold, half blind, and frustrated as anything that you can't get the artistic photos you want, you finally realize the only real reason to see the parade in person.  To take commemorative photos of the people you love with the floats in the background.  You know, a little something for posterity's sake.
This is Joe, catching the world's biggest football.  Ellie's defense just didn't cut it.
This is the one we show Ellie years from now to say, "Look, you were there!"
And we pretend it was exciting.
This is my favorite photo of the whole day.
Classic Mickey, Classic Joe-having-a-good-time-face, Classic memory - we were there.

When you tire of the parade at home, simply turn off the TV and go about your day.

When you tire of the parade in real life (which happens faster because you're cold, crowded, frustrated, and exhausted) try to escape early only to find yourself completely surrounded by people.  No way to move forward or backward, totally boxed in.  Notice the faces of people uncomfortably close to you who are very upset you are squishing them and ruining their parade experience.  Mention something about needing to throw up, in a desperate effort to encourage people to let you through.  Proceed to have a claustrophobic melt down and stand paralyzed, crying softly.  Then follow your husband numbly as he muscles his way through the crowd while you cry and feel very self conscious about the crying and the make-shift pirate patch across your eye.  Feel so embarrassed and shaken by the experience that even while sitting on the train, the only thing you can think to do is swear your husband to secrecy about your breakdown.

Then go home and write about it for the whole internet to read.

That is why we will never again attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person.  
Eleanor was not as traumatized as some but she is looking forward to snuggling up in front of the boob tube next year.


  1. Sorry you had a bad experience! We went last year and it was one of my favorite things I have done in New York City. We got there about 6:00 am and were at the very fronts of the crowds. I think that's the only way to do it. We could see everything, and the wait didn't even seem that long. You also have to stake out your territory, spread your legs out taking a wide stance so you aren't super squished the whole time.

  2. I love reading about your NYC adventures! Even the not-so-successful ones. I miss you! Glad you're having a great time there though.

  3. This post was hilarious. I've SO had those days. Especially the contacts part! Well, at least can said you did it, right?

  4. Is it wrong that I found this so darn funny?