Friday, October 5, 2018

That Time With The Horses

Last year I wrote on the annual film festival in October, and how westerns are oftentimes problematic. While that has been in the forefront of my thoughts in critiquing the event recently, thanks to "Facebook Memories" I remember another issue I have with it; some of the guests. It shouldn't be a surprise, really. Anyone who romanticizes imperialist fantasy probably isn't going to be a dream to be around, but besides that I remember some specific people with horses that I don't really think were a part of the event. It was six years ago today. At that point, the owners of the hotel had hosted a cocktail hour during the Festival that was open to the public. Event staff, attendees, hotel guests, locals, EVERYONE took advantage of the open bar. It was a free-for-all of noise and joviality in the lobby that, while it was a cocktail hour starting at 7 pm, it usually dragged on until I was nearly done with my shift at 11. It was tradition then for people to get liquored up at the party, then head to Jake's Saloon up the street for more beer, then to the Double L for shots, then back to Jake's Saloon, and some of the folks who had that plan in mind were some cowboy folks on horseback. They stopped at the party and tied their horses off at the pool area of the hotel. Some local kids, knowing the staff of the hotel (a.k.a. me, alone as usual) were busy attending to the folks at the cocktail hour, decided to sneak into the pool area to swim. A couple of kids did cannonballs into the deep end, which spooked the horses tied to the fence, which caused the half dozen half-ton animals tied to the flimsy aluminum bars to rip them out of the pavement. The kids scattered and the owners of the horses went outside. Noticing the commotion, the damage, and the cowboys untying their horses from the debris, I went around asking, "Hey, are these your horses? They damaged our property and we need your information." They ignored me and rode away. I spent an hour that night shoveling the horse shit from the parking lot and making a statement to a sheriff's deputy. After all that, I stashed the broken fence pieces out of the parking lot and strung up some caution tape where the fence used to be, then cleaned up the lobby after the party. I was a little stressed out, so after work I decided to head to the bar for a night cap. And those fucking horses were tied up next to the bar. So I went to the other bar because, frankly, I didn't want to deal with it anymore. After the incident (which, come to think of it, I don't think we ever figured out exactly who it was that damaged the pool area fence), the owners of the hotel tried to do away with the party completely. However, after long-time attendees raised a stink about it, the owners changed up the party from open to the public to exclusively for hotel guests and event staff, and now only serve beer and wine. It's still annoying to clean up after, but it's a lot nicer than shoveling shit and talking to cops. Westerns portray cowboys as brave conquerors of the western landscape, but maybe more accurately the cowboys of yesteryear were more like those cowboys from the party; drunk assholes that won't answer for the damage they've done. Seriously though, fuck those guys. Happy Friday.