What's that? You're not Irish? Doesn't matter. On St Patrick's Day – and for about a month beforehand, it seems – everyone is a little bit Irish. At least, that's how it goes in Hermosa Beach.
Starved of a decent consumer event for over a month, the people who love to decorate their doors and windows with seasonal items are thrilled to take their Valentine's Day bobbins and festoon their homes with shamrocks. Java Man, our local coffee shop, has been displaying the colours of the season for a couple of weeks already.
I was looking forward to it too, and I wasn't disappointed. It was brilliant. Pier Avenue (our high street) was lined with happy people enjoying the parade. And there was a lot of it to enjoy. Marching bands, bagpiping policemen, 'man of the year' (not sure on who's criteria) riding high in the back of a convertible, a troupe of inexplicably line dancing children, the South Bay Parents of Multiples – I could go on – everyone was there. I'm sorry to say Saltburn's 'Big Switch On' pales by comparison.
And everyone was wearing green. Except me and Lady P. Lady P's two green items of clothing were both in the wash. But my wardrobe choice was deliberate. I didn't wear green because, well, I'm not Irish and thought it was a bit much to wear green on St Patrick's Day. Sort of like wearing red hearts on Valentine's Day. Silly me. Actually that counts as churlish, buzzkill, Scrooge-esque behaviour it turns out. Everyone wears green and if you don't wear green, people can apparently pinch you. Which is the meaning behind the many green t-shirts I saw bearing the legend 'You pinch, I punch!'
Indeed. Who knew? Well, I guess it takes a true Irish person to know these traditions and as I said, I'm not Irish. Although next year, like the rest of Hermosa Beach, I'm going to pretend I am. It's a lot more fun that way.