July 4th Prep, Thursday, June 30, 2016

I love volunteering at the sites and telling people about their history and hopefully teaching them something new.  But a few years ago I fell into helping out with logistics during the July 4th celebration on the National Mall, and I loved it.  Ever since, I have done everything I can to be somehow involved in logistics for special events.  It’s hard work; long, hot, days; and often chaotic; but it also gives me some awesome opportunities to meet new NPS people; and to see some places I wouldn’t otherwise get to see.  They’re not all glamorous, but they’re things I wouldn’t get to see or do otherwise.

And then there’s this:

Yep, that’s a golf cart with my name on it.  (“Logs” is short for “Logistics,” not a new nickname for me.)  No matter what else I may accomplish in life, nothing makes me feel more special than having a golf cart with my name on it on the National Mall on July 4th.  It does mean that hard work I mentioned before, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it’s cool and fun to be able to drive a golf cart on the closed roads on July 4th.

I noticed something two years ago when I volunteered on the Mall on July 1.  People either think the porta potties, fences, etc., fall out of the sky at midnight on July 4th, or they believe the Mall is something like Hogwarts, and we have elves who live underground preparing everything, and they all rise up from underneath on the 4th.  That proved true again today.  But that wasn’t all I encountered today.  So, behold, the first installment of my July 4th interactions on the Mall.

*Sitting in my golf cart near Constitution, two women are approaching the break in the fencing*
Woman, to her friend:  Hmm, these fences were never here before.
Woman, to me:  Are these fences going to be permanent now?
Me:  They’re up for July 4th.
Woman:  Oh, you guys do something for that day?
Me:  o_O

*Sitting in my golf cart near 17th Street*
Man:  Hey, what is all this going on here today?
Me:  4th of July setup.
Man:  Already?
Me:  It’s only 4 days away.
Man:  How long could it possibly take?
Me:  Longer than 4 days.

*Replacing small, breakable locks on porta potties with stronger, much harder to break locks*
Woman:  Now, isn’t it funny that allllllllll these porta potties are locked?  (She pointed at every single porta potty in the area.)
Me:  Well, they’re for the 4th, and if we don’t lock them they will be absolutely disgusting on the 4th.
Woman:  Really?  Why?
Me:  Well, you wanted to use them, so does everyone else who walks by.
Woman:  Where can someone use the rest room around here anyway?
Me:  Closest one is at WWII, there is also one behind Sylvan Theater and one in front of the Washington Monument.
Woman:  OK thanks.  Oh, by the way, I just put the fact that these are all locked up on Vimeo.
Me:  o_O

Ranger:  What are you doing here?
Me:  Helping with logistics.
Ranger:  I thought we had people for that.
Me:  We do.  And I’m one of them.
Ranger:  But you’re a volunteer.
Me:  I volunteered for it.

That’s all I can remember for now, but I am sure there will be more tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

 

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