The celebration for the 4th of July has begun. I have enjoyed the pre-4th of July fireworks that began at least five days ago. There is something in the air, can’t you sense the angst? People are putting their “I Got Dibs Chairs” out really early this year. It’s amazing how this has got people so riled up! Just imagine when adult beverages are added to the mix?
When is it too soon? One town tallied that someone put their fold up chairs out NINE days in advance. Imagine, these interlopers were even referenced in the larger city paper. All eyes are on these specific chairs. They are even tied off with rope! (See above photo) I bet they don’t even show up.
The hostility is ramping up! Someone put a joke in the local Craigslist to come pick up Free Chairs! They were just lined up on the curb! I heard about this from an elder in a group I am involved with. Folks are “tisk tisking” their way into a little tizzy. Last year I saw that some people moved a couch out to the side of the road. The climate of our communities is hot and sticky with no chance of rain. The tempers are flaring. Then there are those who just don’t have a single rip to give. That’s me. I will say it’s fun to watch the humans in action. Not only do we have to watch Christmas keep creeping up in front of Thanks Giving but now we have the parade chairs showing up long before a parade!
I recall one, long hot summer on St. Peters Street in New Orleans when a lesson on respecting space was taught. One my neighbors was a big, quiet, very tan, bald man, dressed in all white sat watching,(yes, I called him Mr. Clean) as our very pregnant neighbor lady came outside to stand and wait for her husband to come home from work. She had a fold up chair that she put out in a parking spot in front of their home. She stood next to it, and sometimes when her ankles were swollen, she would sit in it and rest while waiting.
Many good spouses in the Vieux Carre would do this. It was near a holiday weekend. Many would beat heel to fishing camps to get away from the crowd that invaded the Quarter. Don’t get all upset-- we were happy to have everyone. New Orleans is a tourist town. (That is probably looking to change. If all the Soros funded groups that are creeping into “work” the town like Grifters have their way). That being said, it was just a little more cramped than usual.
Mr. Clean sat quietly, not moving even one of his bulging muscles. A group of men tried to park. The woman explained her situation. The driver kept nudging forward; he didn’t care. The nano-second that the car’s bumper touched the folding chair, Mr. Clean, got up and in one “Paul Bunyan” half-step, made his way to the car, and in the very same motion, reached in and pulled the unlucky driver half-way out. Mr. Clean, in true French Quarter superhero fashion, proceeded to clean his clock. The driver’s buddies held on and pulled him back into the car, as they promised to leave. He nodded at them and went back to his post silently. There was no police report.
It seems people’s fear of not getting the best spot for “beads,” viewing the parade, and parking are pushing established social limits. There are many people who take the stance of “First Come, First Served.” I noticed that blankets are also being put down sooner and sooner for the fireworks as well.
I don’t feel bad about it because I like watching people. People amuse me with their personal agendas and antics, especially in crowds. Now, I do think if someone is saving a space for a person to park after a longs day’s work, then that should be considered bad form to try to take it. I consider parking spaces as a sacred space. My neighbors and I have a great understanding. Remember, you teach people how to treat you.
My mother has paid for a private garage ( from a nearby neighbor) in the Quarter for going on 25 years. These subtle rules and etiquette are different everywhere.
This is my Public Service Announcement. Stay out of trouble this holiday and mind your P’s and Q’s or as my mother said to her patients every Friday, “Make all the right choices this weekend to keep you out of the emergency room and jail.”
Breathing Deep With You, and Still Learning - J. D. Jackson
**There are multiple fun and unproven theories about the origin of the phrase “mind your p's and q's.” Many believe that bartenders used to shout it out during fights to tell people to watch their pints and quarts, and as a reminder to pay their tabs.