This may be a job for Robin Hood

21 Jul

Well, the best laid plans of mice and moms – next time I  tell you I’m going to hand out fliers at an event, tell me to stay home and make a cobbler. 

I want to get the info out, know what I mean? I’ve written letters to the editor, and then there’s the blog. I talk to my friends, I talk to grocery checkers, I talk to anybody who can’t run away. Yesterday I attempted a crowd that was not in the mood to hear about anything “negative.” 

I went over to One Mile a little after 4pm, not really sure what to expect of this “Birthday Bash”. It was about 105 outside, so there were the usual people – the young adult, social crowd, who are turned off to sitting under air conditioners all day, and like to spend their free time under some old trees, next to moving water, listening to music, maybe smoking a little dope, playing a little hacky-sack, seeing, being seen, and meeting others like-minded. They aren’t there to hear about politics, and that’s exactly what’s going on, so I didn’t want to intrude on their non-reality. From what I’ve seen every time I’ve visited Caper Acres since the Monday – Thursday closure, these people aren’t letting locked gates stop them from enjoying the park. 

It being Saturday, there were also lots of out-of-towners. In fact, the only people I spoke to were from elsewhere. I realized something else I should have known – tourists are usually a little friendlier than residents.  I’d make eye-contact, and if they’d say hello, I’d say hello, and as soon as I got my foot in the door, I’d add, ” I’m here handing out information about the park closures,” or something like that. They’d invariably say something along the lines of, “Park closures? I’m not from around here, what’s THAT about?”  They were always sympathetic, and some were actually aware of the pension problems, but none of them wanted to spend their weekend vacation yakking with some stranger about politics, so I never pushed it. 

Funny thing – none of them had heard there was any kind of event, they were just noticing something was afoot, wondering what?  

There was a group of park volunteers, wearing the familiar green t-shirts, their vehicles parked kind of pell mell on the lawn around the concession stand. They were kind of crabby, standing together in a little knot at one of the stands instead of mingling out through the crowd. I wonder if any of them had any crowd control experience, any experience setting up events like watermelon eating contests, etc. One man was testily announcing that there might be too many volunteers present at that time, that the event would be running until almost 10pm and he hoped there would be enough people to finish out the evening. No, they didn’t seem to be very tightly knit or organized.  

At this point I looked around myself and realized, this had not been a good idea.  I realized, I wasn’t going to find anybody there who really cared about what’s going on Downtown enough to do anything about it. I’d seen all the artwork and milled around the stands. The park volunteers had a petition at their stand, but I didn’t have my glasses so couldn’t read it.  I got on my bicycle and headed home to help my husband throw a chicken on the grill. 

Originally I thought I might go back after the sun got low and things cooled off, but I changed my mind.  CARD planned to finish off the evening with an 8:30 showing of “Hugo,” a very depressing sounding Martin Scorsese picture that for one thing has absolutely nothing to do with Chico, Bidwell Park, or the number 108. Whenever I tell people about the CARD movies in the park, they always ask, “Who’s responsible for picking the movies? ‘Bees’? Really?”  

I have to agree. I could think of at least one movie that would have been more appropriate for an annual celebration of Bidwell Park  – “Robin Hood,” outdoor sequences of which were actually filmed in Bidwell Park, an event that has long been one of Chico’s magical moments.You’d think they’d be able to get a week’s worth of activities out of that every year – how about exhibits at locations like the CARD center, the city building, Chico Museum? This movie has not only special interest to Chico, but was nominated for best picture in 1938 and  voted one of the best films of all time in 2001. Errol Flynn and the rest of the cast continue to be popular draws to film festivals.   But CARD will not be showing Robin Hood at all this year – “Hugo” was the last offering of the summer in fact. They only planned two movies, neither of which has any special significance to Chico.

That is my complaint about this recent attempt at “community” – the Bidwell Park Birthday Bash. It was like a robot trying to act like a Human.  I think it was just a last minute attempt to put a smiley face on our town when we don’t really feel very smiley, we’re not happy, and we’re all kind of pissed off at each other. I wish I could say “nice try,” but I can’t mean it. 


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