Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Thursday, October 10, 2013

7-14-13 RMB Let the Cars Pass

7-14-13 RMB Let the Cars Pass
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Today was the second day of the San Diego Pride Festival. Now, at nearly forty-nine, I have attended more than a handful of Festivals. Yet, I am still awed by the sense of togetherness; the friendliness.
As I walked toward the entrance of the festival, I joined a large group heading the same way. From up ahead, I heard a car honking followed by someone shouting. As I came closer, I saw that the festival goers had blocked cars from passing due to sheer mass as we crossed the street. Pedestrians had the right of way, so a car waited at a stop sign, letting us pass. The driver in the car behind it became frustrated at the length of time he waited and the seemingly unending amount of people passing by.
Mr. Frustrated was honking his horn. The gentleman in the front car was yelling back “What do you want me to do, run them over?”
A young male couple, well young to me - they were probably in their thirties, saw this at the same time I did. They were about to cross the street and one of them put out both arms to hold back the crowd. The other followed suit as his boyfriend shouted “Hold up! Let the cars pass!”
The crowd along the street quickly turned from ten to twenty or more, as we waited and more walkers approached. By then several had noticed the exchange, their attention having been drawn to the honking. As the gentlemen in the first car passed, we all applauded. He smiled and waved his thanks. Mr. Frustrated pulled up to the stop sign next. He stopped, not expecting the same courtesy. By now our group was twenty-five or more.
“Come on, you too!” The young man shouted, waving him through.
Mr. Frustrated sheepishly drove through. Again we cheered. We were having fun, our festival experience having already begun. We were together, total strangers, enjoying an act of kindness. We could afford ten minutes of our day to extend a courtesy. After all that is what the festival is about; getting along.
A third car that had been waiting, pulled up driven by a nice lady, who was smiling at the exchange she just witnessed. She stopped at the stop sign and smiled. Our young, good Samaritan waived her through. “You too, come on, lets go!” By now several people were laughing along with the young driver.
We cheered again, wishing all three drivers a good day with our enthusiasm.
Once the coast was clear, we proceeded to cross the street, all forty or so of us. People further back had no idea why we were cheering or applauding, but fun is contagious. They applauded too.
Some things were missing in those moments; the rude person that pushes through because they can’t wait to get to the other side; the grumpy person that complains; the demanding person that insists we have the right of way...that happens elsewhere, in our everyday world…not at the Pride Festival. I like the Pride Festival.
Let the cars pass,

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