Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Best Friend's Name Is Barry

The day of parade and birthday celebration and baseball yesterday was at least as fun as expected if not more so. Many tales will be forthcoming. The great story of the night, though, is about a guy named Barry.

Alita found the perfect mermaid tail on the internet. It has a proper, inflexible fin and you put your feet into the rubber sort of flipper places then shimmy yourself into the spandex skirt(?) of the tail. Then you don't walk anywhere until you take it off. It's sparkly and pink and glorious so that one drawback is one we're all willing to work around. It meant that for the parade yesterday the birthday girl was wheeled around in a modified and decorated off-road wagon.

It just so happens that Alita's school was selling a group of tickets to opening night of Brooklyn Cyclones baseball last night. The Mermaid Parade stages participants basically right alongside the Cyclones ballpark. So we planned to parade, hit the beach and head to the ballgame. The cart is no larger or more unwieldy than those SUV strollers you see all over so we figured it'd be unorthodox but workable. OK, I had misgivings but assumed that I was over-reacting since my worry mechanism was in overdrive the last few weeks.

Well, I was at the end of our group as we entered the park and I had the cart (the child was moving under her own power at that point). They wouldn't let me in. I  just decided I'd go home and forgo the game but the others wanted me to try and had a lot of suggestions. I was sent off with thoughts of getting a food vendor to take $10 to watch the cart.

I planned to take those suggestions under advisement and just go home. I hate asking people for stuff like that. It's embarrassing and sometimes people are mean and, even when it's something innocuous, I don't take the rejection well. Makes my stomach wonky just thinking about it. On the other hand I also felt as though I had to make an effort so I would at least be able to say I'd tried.

As I trudged hot, sweaty and glittered down the ramp I eyed a big shipping container behind the stadium. I thought about stashing the wagon there and taking our chances. We hadn't left anything in it we couldn't live without. The area was brightly lit and in a "If you see something, say something" world I didn't want anyone to get in trouble. I dreaded the idea of the food vendors, though. While I contemplated I noticed that there were 4 buses staged along the curb. Two were school buses and two were luxury coach-type things. The one in front was blue and I could see a guy standing by it in uniform.

My logic here was that he had a fancy bus so he could put it in the luggage compartment and it wouldn't be in his way even if something weird happened. So I rehearsed my story in my head and approached him.

(Aside: I have to tell you that I often lie in situations like this even when I don't have to. Not big things but a little embellishment here or there. I tell everyone that it's because I think whatever the lie is sells my story harder but the truth is probably that the lie distances me from the act and the rejection so I feel better about asking.)

I told this guy, who I later learned was Barry the bus driver, that I'd been in the parade with my daughter and we had her wagon and now they wouldn't let me into the park with the wagon. I asked him if I could pay him $10 to hold it in his luggage bay during the game and I'd come out whenever he needed me to to retrieve it.

Well, Barry is a stand up guy. He checked the cart for valuables (and perhaps explosives), refused my money and told me that his people were going to stay for the fireworks so I should come out right after that to make sure I got my wagon. I introduced myself and thanked him about 50 times while he started the bus so he could open the luggage door and we could slide the principessa's conveyance under the bus.

We didn't stay in the stadium for the fireworks, we went out and thanked Barry 50 or 60 more times and got our wagon. We caught the light display from the sidewalk actually as we walked to the subway. They were beautiful but not nearly as beautiful as the gift of relief Barry gave me when he helped me out.


  1. Barry is all right! I love it when people do random favors.

  2. Me too. He was fantastic!