Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Fourth

My favorite part was when Bob Bennett came through on the parade. We were sitting in front of the Smoot home (primo spots) and the tall senator walked past with his wife and a couple younger looking people. He was waving at everyone and wearing a cowboy hat. Because he wasn't in an old-fashioned convertible with a sign on it, no one knew who he was. I heard several people remark, "Who's that guy? If he was important, he'd be in a car." I'm pretty sure that's Senator Bennett, I thought to myself. But even I wasn't positive. About 3 marching bands, 2 beauty pageant floats and a firetruck later, a tow truck drove by, pulling an old-fashioned convertible with a sign on it that read, "Senator Bob Bennett." I almost died.

The night of the fourth sucked. I had to work traffic security for the Stadium of Fire. I got there at 3:30 and it was sweltering outside. Luckily I didn't have to wear my uniform shirt and I brought my CamelBak. From four to six we filled up the parking lot, row by row. People were pretty rude about it, because they all wanted to park near the exit. They had all sorts of excuses too. "Oh my family's parking down there, and we want to walk back together," or "We just want to park in the shade." I asked the latter if she was keeping a dog in the car, and she sheepishly said no, and I informed her that the sun would be going down long before they returned from the concert. It's not polite to make a parent look dumb in front of their kids, but it's probably worse for a parent to teach their kids that they're entitled to special treatment, or that they can lie to get it.

Once the lot filled up, we had to close the gate. This didn't change the traffic situation on University Avenue, however, and cars were still lining up to enter the lot. We had to form a barricade of cones out in front and only let in people with a special lot pass or a handicap pass. You wouldn't believe how many people abuse those handicapped passes. We'd have SUV's roll through packed with teenagers decked out for the concert, not a wheelchair in sight. It was really irritating, but we had to let them in. When handicap spots ran out, we had to let them park in the special pass area, which meant a lot of people who paid for these special passes got hosed. What was I supposed to tell them? It was a nightmare. So many people were mad at us, and I lost my temper a few times too. Eventually even the special lot filled up, and we had to start turning away people with handicap passes, some who legitimately needed them. It seemed like all the cripples of Utah were lining up, and we had to turn them away. Boy did they take it personally. They made us feel like villains, as if we were intentionally discriminated against the disabled. One particularly bellicose lady screamed a lot of unintelligible nonsense at my coworker, and the man accompanying her called us "amateurs." I don't know whether that's an insult, because I don't think I'm shooting for professional traffic guy, but I was amazed at how rude people were.

Finally we got wise and left the gate area so we wouldn't have to deal with any more hostile patrons. During the performance we had to take down the barricades and load them up on a truck. While the truck was leaving the parking lot the fireworks started, and I hopped off the back of the truck and melted into the crowd to watch. I was dead tired and my feet hurt, and I wanted to watch the awesome fireworks. After that was over, I got to sit in the parking lot for an hour and a half, waiting for the cars to get out. It was pure chaos, and watching it with my i-Pod was pretty satisfying.

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