Saturday, November 1, 2008

The unsung heroes of public events

{Not from my event, but I thought the picture was funny. From Southern Living. They thought it was funny too.}

If you think the life of an event planner is all champagne and parties and oh-so-glamorous, I wish you were with me at 7 this morning. I was trekking around chilly downtown Hartford, supervising the installation of port-o-lets for the CT Veterans Day Parade tomorrow. It's the only public (or local) event my company produces, and every year at this time we remember why it's the only one. But that's another story. Today I want to tell you about my new friends Angel and Luis, who got up even earlier than I did (and please remember I am not a morning person) to drive down from Massachusetts and deliver 20 'olets to various locations along the parade route. These guys have it down to a science. First they are driving huge tank trucks, pulling even larger trailers, which are not easy to maneuver on some of our famously stupid and narrow one-way streets. Then the 'olets themselves are unwieldy - large, bottom-heavy, and filled with whatever mysterious blue liquid they use to hide the basest of human activity. But they slide them off the trailer, shift them around a bit, assess the flatness of the area, shift some more, wipe everything down (while wearing big rubber gloves of course), and go get the next one. A thankless job if ever there was one (um, except maybe coming back to pick them up).
No one really likes port-o-lets, our modern-day outhouses. Blech. Big blue reminders of our common human condition. But when you are at a fair, or festival, or parade or other outdoor event, aren't you glad they are there? Whoever dreamed up the fancy looks-like-a-real-bathroom trailer kind was a genius. I wish I had the budget for those for this event.
So if you find yourself in downtown Hartford Sunday for the parade (and if you are local, you should come, it is a kick-ass parade and the weather will be gorgeous), enjoy the bands (more bands than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, thank you), salute our fine veterans and active-duty military, and give a silent thanks for Angel, Luis, and other people with thankless jobs.

Connecticut Veterans Day Parade PSA 1 from CT Veterans Day Parade on Vimeo.
Created by Jeffrey B. Teitler, EnvisionFilms


penny said...

You are too funny. And I am so glad that is not my job either!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Wish I could come! I might steal your you tube video for the weekend. That was awesome too.

papasan said...

But you thought that the "Big Blue Box" was the best thing since canned beer when one suddenly appeared for your 'end of summer party'.

tracey said...

Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog - you are so sweet! You have made my day, although again, I am feeling like a fraud - my brother pretending to be someone else and now a sympathy comment. No worries, I accept it with a great deal of gratitude. THANKS

only a movie said...

My sister got married last year and because I am not a professional photographer, I didn't realize that the port-o-lets were the background of some of the ceremony shots. Luckily I could photoshop them out.

Hey - I left you a gift at my blog.

Mumsie said...

Having had a lot of "real outhouse" experience growing up from girl scout camp to family camping I guess there is a lot to be said for the "little blue boxes" that remind me of U.K. telephone booths. At least they don't have "windows" down to the floor.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Got such a kick out of that "Livestock Only" photo! Funny.

Kinda disappointed to learn you're not living an oh-so-glamorous life, though. What a let-down. ;-)

please sir said...

Great look into the life of your job - yeah I always thought it would be all glam!

Fifi Flowers said...

I'm sure your event will be FAB!
FUNNY... how many jobs are TRULY glamorous?
I've work on various non-profit events... and working behind the scenes... it is amazing all the work that goes into the event. Attendees who have NEVER worked on an event have no idea.

Anonymous said...

What? No follow up about our mad drving skillz? ;)

Glad it was such a great day. Glad that you have a reprieve.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

hey nice job!
are you organizing a giant "holy crap we did it day parade" for our man obama!?
(i liked your comment btw...i'll write you in oh'12 sister!)

knitseashore said...

Having done the rides and attended some of the bike races, I can say that I am thankful for the blue boxes, although I do wish they were roomier. Hard to move around with bike gear, especially when you bang your helmet on the door. And there's no hook to hang your purse or bike bag. Maybe in the 2.0 deluxe version they will add one?

sas said...

There is a VERY funny Australian movie about the people behind the portaloos. It's called 'Kenny' and it is spectacular.

If you like Muriel's Wedding, you'll adore Kenny :)