Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Grand Canyon

The missus and me enjoyed our "hooky day" yesterday. Margaret - God bless her - bundled up against the elements and accompanied the 3/4 idiot to whom she is married into lower Manhattan for the Yankees parade up the Canyon of Heroes. Given my wife's ability to not only land on her feet but right smack dab on the bull's eye, she ended up finding us a spot right on the rail/barricade on the east side of the intersection of Liberty and Broadway. Only Margaret, in a sea of humanity too numerous to be counted and too wide to broach, can find her way - with little to no visible effort being expended - to the center of everything.

It was not as cold as predicted yesterday as we joined the throngs of people lining Broadway and by the time 11:00 clock arrived there were so many people pressed along the avenue that had you arrived frozen on dry ice you would have thawed evenly and completely. When we arrived home last evening there was a report on the Channel 2 News that the crowd along the parade route numbered 2 million +. Candidly, I made a good-faith effort to count the crowd but being of limited arithmetical intellect and being foiled by the number of people wearing similar if not identical outfits, after counting Margaret and me about a dozen times and losing track shortly thereafter, I simply quit the effort. My scientific methodology leads me to believe that the number was somewhere around "a lot".

It was not an easy day to be a member of the NYPD yesterday, trying to walk the line between permitting the assembled multitude to have a great day and not permitting any particular member of that multitude from attempting to do so at the expense of those around him/her. We only saw the actions of the cops working our side of Broadway at Liberty and they were excellent all day. They maintained their patience, their cool and their demeanor regardless of what was happening around them - and they did it through the parade itself, which sadly it appears a number of the officers did not get to actually see as they spent it facing towards the crowd, which required them to stand with their backs to the floats and the vehicles that drove up Broadway.

Margaret and I had the good fortune of meeting three young women (older than college-age but younger than us) with whom we shared the "sardine" experience yesterday. The five of us arrived at the spot where we would ultimately spend the day within only a few minutes of one another - much to the chagrin of a rather large-sized, incredibly obnoxious woman who was already there. My spot in Hell is already reserved so I feel no crisis of conscience in calling out this particular shrew and her fellow attention whore; both of whom you likely saw either on your evening news last night or in your morning paper today.

The two women were in the company of a severely handicapped, disabled girl (presumably the daughter of one) who was wheelchair-bound. The youngster was adorned in full Yankee regalia. She seemed to be delightful. However, while it was not Arctic conditions on the street yesterday in Manhattan, it was not warm or a reasonable facsimile thereof. And it was a tough place to negotiate with a wheelchair. Nevertheless, at every opportunity yesterday this poor girl in the wheelchair got moved by her "caregivers" (giving that term the broadest possible definition) from in front of one camera to another. And with every move at least one of the women (and more often than not both of them) crammed their faces into the frame. There was not a person with a "PRESS" pass and a camera who passed by who did not stop (and on more than one occasion get stopped by one of the two women) to take a photo. Nothing says love quite like the ceaseless exploitation of one for the inane gratification of another. It was a display that ranged all the way from distasteful to pathetic.

All in all, those two miscreants had an effect on the totality of yesterday's experience similar to that of two specks of dust on a Ferrari. The enthusiasm on the faces in the crowd - especially the little kids who were all over - was matched by that of the players, who seemed as happy to be there as we were. It was quite a day. An experience that I doubt highly Margaret and I shall ever undertake again - under any circumstances - but one worth having nevertheless.

Nine years between World Series championships did not seem to me to be nearly as close to forever as some writers had suggested it was - until yesterday. It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. I think it also breeds nonchalance. It breeds the sense of "no big deal", "been there/done that." Yesterday, from the players on the floats to the confetti-tossing office dwellers to the folks lining the Canyon that feeling was nowhere to be felt.

And its absence was the greatest feeling of all.

-AK

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