Friday, August 20, 2010


I've blown up a lot of balloons in my years of working banquets (thank goodness for those helium tanks, or I'd have never made it) and while not appropriate for every occasion, they do a nice job of filling out a room and adding color to New Year's Eve parties and birthdays. It's funny that, even though balloons are relatively cheap, at the end of the night there's almost always someone who wants to "save" them. More power to them, but I wonder how they ever drive with a car full of 'em (more on that later) and, well, what they get out of having balloons in their house. I guess I just don't have a balloon-type apartment.

One night after a huge party when we had dozens of balloons left over, the banquet staff decided it would be cool to let them all go at once from the loading dock of the hotel. About six of us gathered together all the balloons we could each fit down the hallway, wrapped around our wrists, and on the count of three let them all go into the sky. As we watched them sail over the nearby buildings, Alice said, "You know, it kills the birds, honey. They choke on 'em." I didn't know about the bird thing, but from that moment, I've have never, ever intentionally let go of another balloon outside. Which led me to my own experience of trying to drive with a car full of balloons.

I decided that it would be nice to give a bunch of balloons to the kids at Children's Hospital (which was pretty close to the hotel I was working at) that we had left over from a function. They were all brightly colored and I seem to remember a lot of purple ones, and lots of kids like purple, it would be a great surprise for them in the morning ....I had build the idea up pretty well by the time I started my drive in my little hatchback to the hospital ten blocks away. The balloons wouldn't fit in the car, so I held them outside the window.

I know.

Or, at least I know now. My God those things nearly beat me to death after the first two blocks. I just never imagined that kind of wind force. I wound up parking the car and - determined more now than ever - decided to walk the rest of the way to the hospital. It was about Midnight, but I was so focused on my mission, I didn't think what kind of a spectacle I might make walking through the streets of uptown Denver in a tuxedo with a huge bunch of balloons. In the block just before I reached my destination, I was met by a group of young women who wanted to know where I was dancing.


They thought I was a birthday stripper.

(Oh, and it turns out Children's can't let kids have balloons in the rooms, but they do give them out when they go home with parental permission, so it wasn't a total bust, but I didn't try it again.)

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