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Friday, November 25, 2011

holoblomo day 25: yesterday

note: “holoblomo” stands for Horribly Local Blogging Month, my response to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that happens every November. The NaNoWriMo challenge asks writers to compose 50,000 words in a month; I chose 10,000 as my goal. Enjoy.

So here we are.
Yesterday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was just about as good as it gets. The day was crisp and clear, with not a single percent chance of precipitation, and when the bright, dazzling sun finally rose over Central Park West, you could actually smell optimism and joy amid the autumn chill. That and coffee. 

The only wrinkle in the day was the fact that the Museum of Natural History -- home of warmth and toilets next to the parade staging area for many a year -- was closed to us... or at least, none of us could find a way in, so we had to rely on the few Port-a-Potties that were set up. And even this was not as bad as it could have been; however, I am very glad that I utilized these facilities before I noticed how much they rocked back and forth when someone was inside (the comment if this potty’s a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’ was bandied about quite a bit).
I always enjoy seeing my fellow Sesame Street puppeteers on this day, and I especially love seeing the legendary cast members such as Bob, Roscoe, Loretta, Emilio, Sonia, Alison, Alan, and Nitya... you might know them better as Bob, Gordon, Susan, Luis, Maria, Gina, Alan, and Leela (Gabi and Chris were out of town). It really does seem like the family getting together for Thanksgiving every year, only there’s no food and the kiddie table is actually the inside of the float where all of the puppeteers are, wreaking havoc and merry mayhem, shouting out the window to the spectators via our Muppets, even though no one could possibly hear any of us over the marching bands and general parade din. 
It’s truly an awesome sight to peek out the float’s windows as the parade ambles along to see the sea of humanity flooding the streets and sidewalks of New York City. There seem to be more and more people who come out for the parade each year, and while it stands to reason that decent weather attracts larger crowds, this Thanksgiving was a bit colder than last year... and yet this was the first time that I ever saw the crowd stretch from 6th Avenue all the way to 5th Avenue on 38th (or was it 39th?) Street... and that is quite a long block. 
And this year, for the first time ever, we could actually see our true performances for Sesame’s musical number as it aired in real time. Muppet Performers rely on TV monitors so we know where our puppets are looking, seeing as the puppets themselves have no ocular nerves. In the past, before high-definition, there would be regular TVs set up in the float dialed to NBC, and it would always take a second or so for the video signal to bounce from the camera to the broadcast tower back to the float, creating a slight, somewhat annoying, lag. In the last few years, though, there has been what’s seemed to be a full seven-second delay, making our monitors totally useless. But this year, we got a direct hookup to the broadcast feed, meaning every flap of our puppet’s mouths could be seen instantly, just as it was happening, just like when we’re in the studio... and it was fantastic. Plus, it’s always fun to puppeteer Grover, even with half a coat on (because he’s so skinny).
It was even wonderful once we were done with the parade. After the floats and balloons serenely pass Macy’s, they make a right turn up 8th Avenue, and then it’s a scene of total chaos. Each balloon is instantly deflated, their handlers immediately dismissed, and the floats parked along side streets and emptied as quickly as possible. Add to this police barricades and cops re-routing foot traffic everywhere you look, and sometimes it becomes an endless quest just to find an open subway entrance so you can get home. But by some universal grace, our float parked mere steps away from an entrance that was not only open, but was also for the particular subway line that I needed to get back to my neighborhood... and then, a train came just one minute later. I was home long before the parade even ended, and I got to see Santa Claus arrive in Herald Square from the comfort of my bedroom, curled up with a warm beverage and my husband. 
Of course, it wasn’t until I was on the subway that I realized that the right side of my coat was still dangling off me...
Ah, what a fun morning. 
But now the holiday crunch has officially begun. Start your engines, kids, and hang on for the duration.
And that’s 11,547 words.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.

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