Last year I wrote about a tradition here in Orange County. Every year, on the second Saturday of July, people gather in Laguna Niguel to moon the trains. I won't go into the entire history of this annual event, because you can click on the above link and read my first post on the subject for that information. It's really a funny story.
Saturday marked the 30 year anniversary of Mooning Amtrak, as the event is called. I was up at the crack (get it?) of dawn to participate. There were some aspects of the event which were very different this year. For one thing, the city of Laguna Niguel decided they would like to rid the city of this 30 year tradition. City officials were quoted as saying they spent nearly $20,000 on advanced PR to discourage people from attending the event. The PR consisted basically of scare tactics.
The PR campaign was a "success" in that only about 300 mooners showed up on Saturday vs. the 8,000 that were estimated to attend last year.
Nonetheless, I showed up. With only a few hours of sleep I rose, donned a hat and my darkest sunglasses, and headed out the door. You might say I was wearing a disguise. (In reality, I had no makeup on and may not have brushed my hair.)
Yes, I know that's a crappy picture of me, thank you for reminding me. What do you look like at 6 a.m?
Briefcase needed to work Saturday morning so he dropped me off at Mooning Amtrak on his way to a meeting in Dana Point. The first person I met became my friend for the day. His name is Rick and Rick has been mooning the trains for many years now.
Rick gave me some purple mardi gras style bead necklaces to wear and even offered to buy me a Mooning Amtrak souvenir thong before the day was over. (I was wearing a pink polka dot thong for the day and never did collect on his offer.) Rick also shared his water with me and offered me food he'd brought with him. He wins The Nicest Person Mooning award for the day.
By the way? Rick had his ass waxed just for this event. Talk about Mooning Dedication!
A few minutes later this woman showed up and shared with us how she was embracing the 30 year anniversary of the event.
Then I turned around and saw another woman had asked a total stranger to help her decorate her ass too. The total stranger DID!
In just a few minutes her butt was also celebrating the 30 year anniversary.
By the way? The woman in the above photo is an elementary school teacher. I mention that fact just so you realize that a lot of nice "normal" people participate in mooning the train.
Multi-million dollar homes overlook the event from a hill across the road.
At last the first train came by.
The funny thing is, the trains are packed with passengers on mooning day. I was told they have to sell the tickets based on a lottery system because so many people want to ride up and down the tracks all day, drinking cocktails and cheering on the mooners. It was a very hot day on Saturday and the air conditioning on the train must have felt great.
The trains actually slow down as they approach the mooners so the passengers can get a good look. The conductors also get on their loudspeakers and "talk" to the mooners. As an example, I had my ass exposed one time when the conductor said over his loud speaker, "We love you Mooners!" I was so startled, I nearly jumped (the rest of the way) out of my thong.
There were a bazillion film crews present and I also *might* have appeared on the news as a Mooner. Or should I say, parts of me might have been on TV?
The city of Laguna Niguel went way overboard with a police presence at this event.
I wanted to ride around with these guys, but they didn't let me. They did talk to me a lot and let me take their picture. The sheriff's PR spokesman spent a lot of time talking to me too. He knew I'm a writer. He was very nice, but clearly wanted me to understand the police perspective on the event. Public safety and blah, blah, blah.
I'm all for public safety.
The police didn't object to the mooning, they just wouldn't allow public alcohol consumption or frontal nudity.
The number of police was laughable except for the fact that the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the excessiveness. There were cops on foot patrol, bike patrol, motorcycles, segway-ish vehicles, patrol cars, undercover cars, on horseback, on helicopter …. and probably present in other ways I've forgotten to mention. They might have thought Michael Jackson's body was on one of the trains. It's the only explanation I can think of for such a showing.
The crowd was calm, cooperative and needed very little, if any, supervision. A lot of the police officers had a hard time wiping the smiles off their faces as they watched the mooners. One policeman confided in me "it sure would be a lot more fun" to moon drunk rather than sober. I think so too.
I did have one less than happy encounter while I was there. A PR person for the city of Laguna Niguel recognized me (despite my "disguise") from my Twitter avatar. For those of you who aren't on Twitter, my avatar picture currently looks like this:
This particular person recognized who I am even with my hat and sunglasses on just from my teeny tiny Twitter avatar picture. I didn't get the impression this particular person cares much for me or the fact that I was on Twitter discussing Mooning Amtrak in the days preceding the event. (She had read my tweets.) There was a distinct feeling of disapproval in the air as we talked.
I'm sure she'll be happy to know the LA Times contacted me for an interview later in the day. During that interview I freely expressed my opinion about the city's waste of taxpayer's dollars through their excessive use of police resources at this event.
(I imagine people from the city of Laguna Niguel will also read this post. Do you think they will love me even more now?)
However, as far as I know, the constitution still protects my power of free speech. I had a blast at the Mooning Amtrak event. I hope to be there again next year. I hope my Orange County readers will join me.
City of Laguna Niguel? I know you don't want me encouraging people to come. I know you'd like the event to disappear despite it's thirty years of tradition. I know you'd like me to stop writing and tweeting about it and letting people know it's a lot of harmless fun. I'm sorry, but I can't do that.
Anyone who wants me to? Well, they can kiss my …
© Twenty Four At Heart