This past Monday was the 16th Annual Memorial Day Parade in little Canoga Park. Wandering up and down the main drag of the old town (Sherman Way at Topanga Canyon, basically), watching the parade pull together, the crowds fill in and the families and friends all together, having fun or yelling at each other or just chillin’–it was amazing.
Canoga Park is extraordinarily diverse. I think I probably saw individuals representing every corner of the planet here, and for the most part everyone was smiling at each other and opening doors for one another or shuffling aside to make space for each other.
Dads in Sikh garb stood next to dads in Harley t-shirts all video-ing their kids in the drill teams or the color guards. The girls on the drill teams eyed one another’s costumes jealously. The veterans and rednecks and homies alike all gawped at the lowered cars as they bumped their way up and down along the street. Everyone had dogs.
For the briefest few hours, this misanthrope found she really, really liked other people, as messy and misled and fucked-up and difficult as they all are. You know? We’re all just doing our best here on this planet. Our best isn’t great, but hey, it sure could be worse. We’re trying.
It’s an amazing look at diversity in contemporary America, and the contrast between young and old, idealistic nostalgia and urban grit, rednecks and homies (who really do come together over the car–and bike!–thing, which is cool), innocence and wartime. Lots of children right next to giant machines of death. It makes you wonder–stop and look around–look at everyone laughing and smiling on this sunny breezy day–can we just prioritize this? Can we stop killing each other now? I know it’s not that simple. But days like this make me wish it were.