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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kissing the Parrot Snake

Okay, so maybe that title might be a little ambiguous for the uninitiated.  Let me tell you a story and initiate you into the Cult of the Parrot Snake.  

Sounds ominous doesn't it?  Y'all are gonna hate me because I've puffed it all up now and it's really nothing more than a cute story I remembered out of the blue the other day.

Once upon a time (all cute stories start that way, didn't you get the memo?), I lived in Las Vegas.  I had just graduated high school and one of my favorite things to do was to wander down to the Strip, find a comfy place to sit, watch the tourists and write letters to my friends in Iowa.  I was 18, and legally not allowed to gamble, so my options back in those days (1989-1990) were a little limited.  

I didn't drive back then either, so I would usually walk the 2 miles to the Strip and then hitch a ride home with my mom when she got off work at the Mirage around midnight.  NO way would I walk home in the dark, are you kiddin' me?

Something ALWAYS happened.  It was fun.  This one particular night somewhere around 10:30 or so (when things really started hopping), I saw two guys approaching.  They were about 3-4 city blocks away so I couldn't see much, but I could tell they were creating quite a commotion.  As they drew nearer I saw they had this HUGE parrot balloon.  It was one of those mylar things and was at least three feet high.  Attached to the bottom of the parrot was a "tail" about 15 feet long of multicolored latex balloons.  It looked like they'd swiped a balloon arch from some wedding and tied it to the parrot.  

So, yeah, they were making a spectacle of themselves walking down the Strip with this bizarre bird balloon (oooo alliteration!).  As they got closer, I could hear them asking random tourists to "Kiss the Parrot Snake" in really bad German accents.  Think bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations.  Really bad.

NO ONE would kiss it.  In fact, most people seemed to be offended. Bystanders were amused until THEY were presented with the bird.

They saw me watching and made a beeline in my direction.  At first I wished I could disappear.  I am NOT one to call attention to myself.  But when presented with this giant bird and asked to kiss its beak, I did.  Without hesitation.  Not sure what got into me, but I'm glad I Kissed the Parrot Snake (yeah, it needs to be capitalized.  It's symbolic, ceremonial). The guys cheered.  Onlookers cheered.  They took a seat and we chatted for a bit.

They had just gotten out of boot camp (Marines!) and had come to Vegas for vacation.

Lemme tell you.  If you want to party, find yourself a military man (or two!) on leave.  I think their everyday lives are structured  up the ying yang, so they tend to go a bit haywire when left to their own devices.  This is very entertaining for YOU.

I just happen to have a *thing* for guys in uniform (they were in shorts/polos, but I used my imagination), so we hung out for the rest of the night.  

I told them that if they gambled, they could get free drinks.  They thought this was a great idea, so we went into the casino.  Or tried.  Security wouldn't let us bring the Parrot Snake in, so we left him with the valet.  They gave me money to gamble with and I won $10 for them just before I had to leave.  Which was way too soon.  I had so much fun in the hour or so we were together.  I laughed until I cried.  

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and Kiss the Parrot Snake.  This is good advice for writing, no?  Let go and see what happens.  So, are you ready to Kiss the Parrot Snake?


Slushpile Slut said...

What a great story! If a parrot snake presents itself to me, I'll be sure and kiss it :)

Aubrie said...

Great story and great advice! I'm going to find my parrot snake right now...

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Oh man! So relevant to my post today! Too many signs! Too many signs that I should just kiss the parrot snake!

Matthew Rush said...

How zany! What a fun story.

JustineDell said...

This is a great story! An so true about the marine/army men on leave ;-)

And it's true! I'll kiss the Parrot Snake any day!


Jen said...

I'll kiss the Parrot Snake any day!!! Vicki I'm always loving your posts!

Wendy Ramer said...

OMG, I've had a similarly serendipitous experience though it didn't involve kissing anything or anybody. While living in Seville, I was strolling along the riverwalk one day, feeling kind of low (don't remember why), when a group of guys (mixed American & Irish) stopped me as I passed by and asked me to join them. For some reason, I heard myself say Okay to these strangers.

They thought I was Spanish (ultimate compliment!) and were shocked to hear me speak English. They were tourists who spoke no Spanish and all four gave me 100% of their attention as I sat with them and spoke about living in Spain.

They were so enthralled with me after the hour or so we spent together that they wanted to take me to dinner, my choice. Of course, I chose my favorite restaurant, ususally prohibitively expensive for me, and they were thrilled to spend their money on me. I had an awesome dinner with a funny group of guys and then we all went our separate ways. No harm, no foul.

It felt so spontaneous, a fly-by-the-seat attitude I didn't normally possess. It was worth it.

Kristi said...

I love this and like you, I'm pretty sure I'd kiss the Parrot Snake!!! What a great memory, thanks for sharing!

Mason Canyon said...

Great story and wise words. Guess we all need to let go and 'kiss the Parrot Snake' cause you never know how much fun you can have until you try.

Thoughts in Progress

Theresa Milstein said...

If you got rid of "the" next to "STRIP", this would've been an entirely different post!

I love this post. I've been trying to live my life like I'm kissing a parrot-snake, but didn't know it!

Megalicious said...

Good for you for kissing the parrot snake! Sounds like a very fun night! :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

Reminder to self- if ever presented with a parrot snake, do not hesitate. I love a man in uniform too! The french firemen are some of the best...mmmhmmmm.

Ed Pilolla said...

what a counter-intuitive story. take a chance. kiss the parrot snake. i love it. you were rewarded with a fun night and great story. the universe is generous with its seemingly simple yet rich gifts to us.

Talli Roland said...

Well done for kissing the Parrot Snake! :)

I hear you on men in uniform. When I lived in Canada, I was in a port city and loads of sailors used to come through. Yum!

Olivia Herrell said...

Oooo, what a great story, thanks!! I love, love, love it!

BTW, there's an award for you over at my blog! :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Such great advice! Sometime you do just need to kiss the parrot snake! I'm a fan of the man in uniform myself. *sigh* I don't blame you for hanging with them. What a great story to keep in the memory bank.

Anonymous said...

This is such an awesome story -- thanks for sharing it with us. You have such, such courage. I don't think I could've done it, mainly because I'm deadly afraid of snakes.

Carolyn V. said...

Awesome story! I had no idea you lived in Vegas. How cool. I'm ready to jump in! Hope it gets me somewhere. =)