As I type this dispatch from the cool confines of D Magazine headquarters, high atop St. Paul Place in downtown Dallas, droplets of sweat are still rolling down the small of my back. Yes, I went to the Mavericks parade. No, I didn’t stay long enough to see the Larry O’Brien Trophy pass by.
The plan was to come to work early, then head down to Victory Plaza (or thereabouts). Dropping off my daughter at her Arboretum summer camp, though, meant that I didn’t get to work till about 9:30. I texted Zac, who was already ensconced under the overpass at Houston and McKinney: “Is discretion the better part of valor, given my tardiness?” His reply: “Hm maybe. But also when will this happen again?” He was right! Into the fray I went.
Sweet Holy Mother of God, did I ever make the wrong call. I won’t bore you with a play-by-play account of each bad decision I made once I got down there, trying to navigate by texts from both Zac and Spider Monkey, our staff photographer, who claimed to be standing atop the 99.5 van with Gordon Keith. I wound up in a sea of perspiring humanity in front of Hooters, literally unable to walk because it was so crowded. Smoke from a Swisher Sweet filled my nostrils. A white guy with his shorts riding so low that they were essentially cinched at his knees dropped an N-bomb as he upbraided his associate, a black fellow wearing a gold grill, for not doing his part to empty the large plastic cup they were sharing. Judging from his slurred speech and general demeanor, I assumed the cup contained sterno that had been strained through cheesecloth (but that’s just a guess).
Long minutes passed. Still I was unable to move. Two lanes of people were moving through the crowd, one in each direction, but I became stuck behind — really, stuck against — a demure, obese white woman who was reluctant to press ahead, as forward progress would require pushing people aside with her estimable haunches. Ten minutes passed. We moved perhaps 6 feet. A loudspeaker from a K104 booth blared music directly into my left ear. Somehow, despite the crush of people, a Hispanic woman wearing short shorts and with her muffin-top midriff exposed, found space to do the booty-shake dance. You know: hands on knees, coyly looking over shoulder, derriere working up and down like it’s powered by compressed air.
More time passed. I sweated. I stood. And, then, as a loud cheer rose from about a block away, indicating that the head of the parade was approaching, I made a break for it. “Excuse me,” I said, leaving the single-file southbound lane still impeded by the obese woman. “Excuse me. Sorry. Excuse me. Sorry, sorry.” I pissed off one stranger after another until I got into open space. Head down, I aimed back to the office.
As I walked up Ross, people were still streaming toward the parade. I saw an entire family — mom, dad, couple of kids — ambling toward the parade at a pace that suggested they thought the thing might not start for another couple hours or so.
“Is it over yet?” the mom asked as we passed each other.
“No, I don’t think so,” I replied. “But it’s kinda crowded.”
“We thought it would be!” she called back, now 10 feet away from me.
And that was the last I ever saw of them.