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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Work cramps holiday opportunity

    I was standing on a wet tile floor in slip-proof shoes and a man’s dress shirt, with the stench of Cobb salad and blue cheese quesadillas sinking into my skin. A blank stare on my face feigned composure, but what my eyes saw was infuriating.

    The schedule in the break room of my restaurant job said I had to work Sunday, the day of the All Souls Procession. I wouldn’t do it. There was no way. Not only had I planned to see and be seen on that day, but I kind of had a costume idea, too.

    As a Tucson adolescent, you have to take this holiday seriously. It’s like hipster Kwanzaa. It’s not really Christmas – because it’s from a different culture – but still important and fashionable to celebrate.

    All Souls Procession is the perfect opportunity to embrace an aspect of Mexican history. Even if you ignore it the rest of the year, you know the lessons of Dia de los Muertos, you know it’s about honoring deceased loved ones, you know the significance of that strange urn with the holographic faces, you sympathize with what it’s like to walk around in a paper maché demon head that’s five times your body size. You understand all of that. You love it.

    But what you especially love more than everything else is dressing up for other people to see. Man, the costumes. The Virgin de Guadalupe, a dead sailor, a pregnant skeleton lady, a quite charming flower spirit with a flowing dress. Last year, my friend was a bloody cowboy, and I’m still not sure if that worked out or not. Everyone else was dressed so respectfully, and here she was with fake blood smeared all over her tits and one of those fake, scabby sores on her neck.

    I, on the other hand, looked exquisite. Much better than I did in my embarrassing costume from the year before (a bloody punk rocker, pulled together at the last minute). This time I was dressed tastefully. I wore an embroidered black blouse with a ruffled black skirt, completing the ensemble with pricey black Steve Madden shoes and skeleton makeup.

    I was feeling pretty good, except for the fact that nobody was taking pictures of me. I refuse to bring cameras anywhere because I’m proud and I always figured the camera would be pointing my way, anyway, but for some reason it never works out. It’s the hipster seal of approval if you have artsy pictures on MySpace the next day, but I guess I wasn’t cool enough, or my costume didn’t have enough thrift store items to qualify this time.

    And that’s why I was going to try hard again this year. I’m so upset, because if they don’t let me off work in time, I won’t even have a running chance. I’ll be left out completely. I’ll be like Thomas Jefferson at the Appomattox Courthouse meeting that ended the Civil War sometime in, when was it, the 1930s? Do you know why nobody talks about Thomas Jefferson when they talk about the Appomattox meeting? Because he wasn’t there.

    He was probably dead, just like I’ll be if I don’t go to All Souls Procession.

    But there is a good side, I guess. I won’t have to sit through the excruciatingly long fire dancing performance toward the end, when you’ve already walked around the parking lot like five times and a man in a prom dress with a circus light on his head is blocking your view. And I won’t have to scream my lungs out into a cell phone to find any of my friends, who always manage to tell me they’re standing by the Angel of Darkness, whoever that is. And I won’t have to walk a lot, I guess.

    But it really will be upsetting missing all of the fun that comes when an entire community gets together to rejoice and watch air dancing and people on stilts. Those performances really are pretty cool. And it’ll be sad to miss out on a real Tucson tradition, a symbol of community, togetherness and culture.

    Maybe I’ll call in sick.

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