Okay, so I went to the Freedom Festival Parade in Provo on the morning of July 4th. I'm not super excited about it; it seems like they are just about the same every year, with the same bands, cars, personalities, and even floats showing up nearly every year. But my parents were in town, and my sister Cheryl and her family whom I rarely see are in town, so I'm happy to be there to see them. Great!
What follows below is actual facts, and I am intentionally not exaggerating anything stated. In fact, everything here is being downplayed because I don't want to relive this experience.
So we get there about an hour before the parade begins, standing under a tree to shade us from the heat of the sun. As the time for the parade approaches, my mom, brother, and I walk out from under the tree and take up a spot on the street. Brent and I have cameras, and we can't get good pictures from under the tree; it's just too far away with too many people in the way.
Not long after we take up our spots an older lady comes up and tells me I have to move. I think to myself, "what?" and just look at her. She tells me that there are little kids behind me under the tree (the same one we had just moved out from under because we didn't have a good view) and asks me if I care that I'm blocking their view. I said, "I care, but I am taking pictures and I need to be closer." She continues to yell at me at which point I tell her that I had just as much of a right to be there as she did. She then accuses me of being intentionally mean, and asks me why "this tall guy" (referring to Brent) needs to be there, and she walks away before I have a chance to even say anything, not that I had come up with suitable reply just yet. Brent is more accommodating than I am and he walks away back under the tree. I was frustrated because the lady didn't ask me nicely if I would move, she just told me I had to move and that I couldn't stand there.
So I think this is over. Not by a long shot. A few minutes later an older guy comes up and says he wants to sit behind his grandson. I'm fine with that, so I start to move a bit to my right to make room for his chair. At this point he makes a move pretending to put his chair down but actually uses it to start pushing me out of the way, at least 5 feet to his right, right into my mom, nearly knocking us both over, out into the space in the street reserved for emergency vehicles, law enforcement, etc. I yelled at him, "Don't push me!" but he continued to do it anyway. He was a larger man, considerably overweight, and obviously stronger than me, so he wins out. He then sits down in his chair.
My mom and I walk around him to his left and take up the spot we had before we were pushed aside. At this point the guy's two daughters start yelling at me and my mom because they feel they have the right to prevent anyone from standing anywhere in front of them because their wife/mother-in-law had had gotten there early that morning to reserve their spot under the tree. My mom, who is one of the most kind and soft-spoken people ever, realizes they are being completely unreasonable ends up getting in a yelling match with this family. Other people nearby start yelling at this family too because they had seen what was done to me and my mom. But the family just continued to argue with my mom, and completely ignored everybody else around them.
If we had been standing out in the very front where kids were sitting on the ground, yes, our location would have been inappropriate. The trouble was that from where the chairs were located there was at least 35 feet of space (nearly all of which is legitimate for crowds to stand in) to the parade route. They honestly thought that because they had setup chairs on the lawn (behind the crowd sitting on the street, behind the grassy island at the curb, behind the sidewalk) that they had the right to tell everyone that they couldn't stand in any of that space in front of them. We're talking about a huge area here... enough for a few hundred people to stand in if need be.
To top it off one of them told us that they had the right to sit in chairs on the lawn and have a clear view because she had been at work delivering babies until 1 AM. As if anybody doing their job earns them a right to tell other people where they can and can't watch the parade. And how did she know that I hadn't been up until 2 AM saving injured pets from runaway garbage trucks? Or maybe unreasonable parade spectators.
The whole thing made me mad. Which would be about the 4th time in my life I have ever gotten angry. It takes a lot to make me angry, but this family certainly pushed me over the edge.
I hate Utah crowds.