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Inadvertent Juneteenth Festival
usually, on Saturday afternoons, after I have completed whatever chores I have neglected over the week, I like to go for a walk and read by the water. given that it is now hot as balls I've taken to going to the park to sit in the shade on some bench that is usually claimed (ahem, I mean donated) by some local corporate monster. so as I got closer I noticed that there was a festival going on in the park.
after sitting down and reading for a while I noticed two particular aberrations: (i) there was a lot of bass to the music that was being played and distinctly less twang, (ii) there were a lot of black people, like more than the normal distribution, moreover, the white people present (and there were few) seemed to all be taking pictures, like, a lot.
I decided to put down my book and explore this puzzling festival that did not conform the my expected normal distribution of races. after a few paces I noticed a lot of shirts that referenced Juneteenth. of course! we ended racism the other day when we declared Juneteenth a national federal holiday! thank god we took care of that whole mess!
so I walked around for a while and then got thirsty. this was a problem as I had neglected to bring my wallet. so now I was looking for free water. I noticed that there was a tent with hamburgers and hotdogs and people walking along it buffet style. I wondered if I could surreptitiously get to the coolers at the end of the tables to snag a gatorade or water. then I played the worst case scenario out in my mind: local WHITE guy steals from peaceful Juneteenth festival. I was trying to keep my newly found job. so I grunted in exasperation and moved on, looking back to see that the tent was sponsored by the sheriff's department. well that would have been just GREAT!
so kept on walking and there were many tents with food and drinks so I got close to another one to see if maybe I could somehow absorb water through osmosis. at this point I noticed this lady waving a paper plate at me.
"you hungry sugah?"
"uh, yes, ma'am, I guess, I was just looking for some water."
she put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to the side and seemed to be contemplating if she was staring at a complete idiot,
"well Darlin' you at a food tent, what is wrong with you, lawd, come here and get some water. here you want a gatorade? you want a burger?"
"I don't have any money."
the second I said it she looked at me in a way that made me feel so bad, but I didn't want to incur debt.
"oh son, this is a celebration, you just got to ask!"
so I loaded my plate with vegetarian options (not that i was about to ask for a veggie burger, like some assclown!) and got some water.
"now you enjoy that hun, and I tell you what, you go down to James - HEY JAMES!!! JAMES!!! HE COMIN' DOWN TO YOU!"
at this she gestured to a very large man who was dancing and piling up little paper cones with shaved ice then dousing that shaved ice with what seemed to be antifreeze.
"you go and get yourself some of JAMES'S shaved ice," she smiled at me conspiratorially, "because it's a celebration and it's the best!"
so about 5 minutes later I was standing with a blue cup of shaved ice in front of what I can only describe as the pinnacle of human ingenuity. a big-ass fan that blew mist at you. now it was hotter than fuck so I was sitting in front of it grunting like an overfed pig, blue-tongued and blue-lipped from the shaved ice, sharing the blowing mist with a young gentleman who was getting some respite from throwing a frizbie with his playmates.
as I stood there with the youngster, enjoying my shaved ice, I heard the following from the main stage, "and now let's give a big round of applause for our sponsor (local large health insurance company)"
up to the stage walked the whitest dude they could possibly have found. I'm not going to bore you with the speech but let's just say it got uncomfortable quick. he basically was trying to make a witty analogy between the freedom from slavery celebrated by Juneteenth with the freedom the participants would attain if they just got vaccinated. ugh.
then a very disturbed presenter introduced the next speaker, "and now, the mayor of (city)!!"
oh dear god I hope this dude is black. I can't take another speech like that I was praying to myself.
up to the stage walked a man with rolled up shirt sleeves who took the mic with ease and spent about 2 minutes staring at the sponsor trying to ascertain just exactly how many jobs this motherfucker was bringing to the community and if he should just kick his ass right there. the mayor's speech was great. short and to the point.
then the presenter introduced Jamal: "Jamal is going to get up here and get you vibin' right and he gonna let y'all know his experience gettin' vaccinated!"
Jamal who was already bringing his vibe onto the stage stopped short, brought his mic to his lips, "I am? Ain't nobody tole me I's gonna be talkin' bout that!"
Jamal stopped for a moment, betrayed by the presenter, trying to get his vibe back, then he went on, "yo, it's like this, like X said (the corporate sponsor), you want your freedom back? you want tah git outta that house arrest?"
the corporate sponsor, who seemed to have realised that his speech had been ill-received was immediately puffing up his chest now with this street cred.
"y'all wanna get out and wobble like we doin' now? (at this point a song that suggested that everybody wobble came blaring on the loudspeakers) then you gotsta get dat stick in yo ahrm!"
after his public service announcement Jamal and a very buxom lady implored everyone to wobble, coaxing potential wobblers out onto the green grass with the prospect of a $100 gift card (whereto was not mentioned, or I may have missed it but I'm guessing it probably wasn't vegetarian). the very buxom lady kept on saying that she could "see you" and they both kept on calling out people based on clothing. I started to get worried that my very prominent position in front of the misting fan (I hadn't moved yet) would put me in danger of acknowledgement so I didn't my best to not wobble in any manner whatsoever.
luckily the wobble competition was completed without incident and the presenter came back on, "let's hear it for (X) for bringing (Y)" the crowd politely cheered, "let's here it for your (A) for providing (B)" everyone gave a little bit more of a cheer (A had brought a very delicious B) "and now let's give it up for the local sheriff's department, hooking us up!!" let's just say the response was not very enthusiastic. the presenter, having realised his misstep, quickly moved on to listing the various black fraternities and sororities.
by that time I was starting to get heat stroke so I decided to leave the festivities. I give that festival 10/10. very nice, only downside was that I couldn't purchase one of those bitchin' Juneteenth shirts!