Nicholas Coolridge
and Michael Turner
Shannon Kelley

Certain things are better when they’re only brought out for special occasions, like that ultra-hot pair of undies, or the vampy “I Am Not a Waitress” shade of nail polish, or daytime drinking, or grown men in spandex : Yes, it’s the rarity that makes such things special: If you wore that nail polish every day, people might begin to assume that you are, indeed, a waitress. And if you wore the same underpants every day : actually, never mind. That’d just be gross.

As for daytime drinking and grown men wearing spandex, each is great as a novelty (and they do go well together), but the more common they become, the more likely the authorities are to get involved. And no one wants that. But is a life entirely without spandex one worth living? I think not.

Happily, my city-mates agree, if our annual Summer Solstice celebration is any indication. The week’s increasingly sweltering heat did little to dissuade the masses, whose empty chairs lined the parade route in anticipation on Friday night. This year’s theme, Solar Flair, was nothing if not totally ironic, given the insane number the sun’s been doing on our normally oh-so temperate town as of late-and the big day was no exception. Saturday brought temps near the 4,000-degree mark, and me tucking my hair into my once-a-year-only Blow-Pop-blue wig before making my way to the park, in time to catch the arrival of the costumed paraders, who seem to do nothing but grow more fabulous with each passing year.

I wandered-from the drum circle to the food court to the vendor stalls to the bandstand to the beer garden, stopping to chat with a couple as the toxins (too much time in the beer garden perhaps?) seeped out of their tootsies, to hula hoop to watch two guys from S.B. Chaos do backflips for a buck a pop, and to do an unofficial survey of which food booth was most popular (methinks the grilled corn stand was the winner). One Italian ice, one sizable (and expensive) helping of chips and guac, and one ride in Darin Selby’s amazing antigravity chariot later, I was ready to call it a day. My shoulders were charred, my charming blue wig was getting itchy, and I was beginning to develop chafing-by-proxy just looking at all of that spandex. And so, I bid S.B.’s finest tradition farewell for another year, went home, planted myself directly in front of the fan, and yanked off my wig. But you can bet I’ll be wearing it again, come the longest day of 2009.


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