Monday, January 31, 2011

Tampa's biggest thing... the annual Gasparilla pirate invasion, which we just had this past Saturday. Many locals describe it as Tampa's Mardi Gras, although last night I heard someone say it's about 500,000 people and 15 murders short of being a Mardi Gras (I wish I'd written that). But it is easily our biggest festival event, and it goes something like this:
  1. People dressed as pirates "invade" and take over the city of Tampa.
  2. A parade is held, during which strands of plastic beads are thrown into the crowd.
  3. Everybody gets hammered (this step actually occurs before, during and after)
And in my now 25+ years of living in the Tampa Bay area, I have never...not once...attended. It just doesn't appeal to me  For one thing, I think I got so good at drinking that it no longer holds any challenges for me, so I'm bored with it and mostly don't even do it anymore. And my understanding from those who do attend Gasparilla is that it, like Pink Floyd's "The Wall", is basically impossible to enjoy sans high levels of toxic chemicals careening around your circulatory system. For another, after a number of years in the sports/entertainment/event industry, my tolerance for huge crowds of drunken revelers (which consists largely of two basic archetypes, both of whom smell like they have recently urinated in their pants, even if they actually haven't; the female who is angry about being ditched by her friends, sobbing and begging to borrow your cellphone so she can find them and the male who staggers more-or-less blindly from hotel to hotel in the hope of finding the one where his friends are registered), especially if I'm not one of them, has been worn down to onionskin thin. This condition has also dampened my enthusiasm for attending concerts and some sporting events as well, but flares up especially bad around things like Gasparilla. I understand that's not the case for a lot of people and out of respect for them, being as I'm attempting to be less critical of things other people enjoy that I don't particularly care for, I'm going to limit my snarky observation to just one; that being that I saw a lot more heavy mascara, silky blouses, cheap jewelry, thigh high leather boots, and flamboyant feathered hats on Saturday, a mile away from the parade route, than I saw all night long at drag queen bingo last Wednesday night. That's all.
"Hello sailor!"
(Not an actual Gasparilla pirate, but you get the idea.)

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