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Definitely not the tea room

Why is my mother distributing condoms in front of my workplace?

Condoms? Condoms, anyone?

Well, we were on our way to the tea room. No, wait, we were going to stop at the quilt exhibit first. Okay, let me start at the beginning.

I’d been in the Indianapolis State Museum many times, but only to pee before running long distances around downtown. They hosted the mini-marathon training series I ran in, but they also host exhibits about history and arts and crafts. How versatile of them! My mother and I wanted to see the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting and Quilting Blocks and Binding Blocks exhibits. We don’t quilt or knit, but we like to pretend we could. The museum is also home to the L.S. Ayres Tea Room, a recreation of a restaurant ladies lunched at in the L.S. Ayres department store before it was torn down. I live on the north side. My mother lives on the south side. The museum is downtown. So is my workplace.

“I’ll park in my company parking garage. You can come swooping down the street and I’ll dive in the back seat. Then we’ll head over to the museum, okay?” I proposed to her over the phone.

“Okay, sounds good to me,” she said.

Everything was going fine until I ran into a roadblock, complete with police car and flashing light, one block away from the garage. Ooooookay. There were tents set up in the park across the street, so there was obviously some sort of festival going on. When I saw a man in a black kilt walk by, I wondered if it could be the Irish Fest, but I distinctly remembered running their 5K in September, not June. I detoured to the west and started circling in on my building, taking 10 minutes to travel about three tenths of a mile.

I was now one block to the south of the building when – curses! Foiled again! Another road block was completely blocking me off from the building. In fact, access to the parking garage was completely blocked. Security hadn’t been this tight downtown when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were campaigning. What could possibly be going on?

I drove my car right up to the road block, flashed my ID badge and begged the cop to please, please, please let me park my car in the garage. But no, I was obviously a horrible threat to the security of whatever was going on and would not be allowed to drive up the street to park in the garage that I pay something-odd dollars a month to use. That would be WRONG.

I turned around and found a parking spot on the street a couple blocks away. I wasn’t worried about the parking, I was concerned because my mother does not have a cell phone. She’s off the grid, y’all. If an unassuming young lass like myself with a fancy ID badge could not get to our rendezvous point, there was no way a nice, silver-haired lady in a Saturn was going to get past the cops. I started walking to the parking garage, hoping she’d parked elsewhere and had walked to the corner too. About 30 people on motorcycles followed me. What on earth was going on?!

Me and 30 new friends

Then I saw the flag corps twirling rainbow colored flags and I figured it out.


It was the pride parade! Completely screwing up my rendezvous plans! But at least they had lots of candy.

I got to the parking garage and of course my mother wasn’t there. “Okay, if I were my mother and I ran into the gay pride parade on the way to rendezvous with my daughter at the tea room, what would I do? What would I do?!” I walked behind the building. She wasn’t there. I walked a block south. She wasn’t there. I thought she might be circling the block south of the road block and considered waiting at the corner. However, that location is also home of the homeless mission and several shady characters constantly lingering on the corner, so I headed towards the more brightly dressed social outcasts instead. Which is when I saw my mother! She was strolling towards the parking garage after parking at the Marsh. I wanted to run right up to her, but I was tragically delayed 45 seconds by a “Do Not Walk” sign. Finally, I crossed the intersection, ran down the street and finally met up with my mother only 30 minutes after I was supposed to.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“It’s the pride parade!” I told her. “They didn’t mention this in the company newsletter.”

“Oh, fun!”

So, we attended the pride parade. And it was fun and gay and all that. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a parade before, pride or not. I was in a small parade in Crawfordsville, Indiana when I was a girl scout there in 2nd grade, but all that amounted to was driving past the Dairy Queen in the back of a pick up truck. This parade had floats and beads and candy and scantily dressed men who I think wanted to sell me real estate and whom I hope applied lots of sunscreen. (I am available to help with that.)


If life throws you a parade, you’ve just got to go with it. Grab some beads and don’t cry about the roadblocks.

If you attend a pride parade, I highly recommend that you bring a toddler with you. A niece or cousin will do, but you might just rent a child in a pinch. While I had to dive into the street five times before I finally caught a string of beads, parade goers would walk straight up to the 6-year-old standing beside me and hand him Tootsie Rolls and stickers and shiny jewelry. He did not have to work for it at all, whereas I had to pick up Dubble Bubble off of the street after the parade had passed by.

Near the end of the parade my mother spotted someone marching with pretty red beads which she decided she MUST have. She headed off into the crowd to score her bounty and the parade denizen handed her not only shiny, red beads but shiny, red condoms too, which spilled onto the street. My mother has a compulsive need to tidy things up, so she picked up over a half-dozen brightly colored condoms as their distributor continued walking down the street. Then she turned around, looked directly at me and started offering condoms to me on the street right in front of my workplace. Because she believes in safe sex.

And then we went to the tea room, wearing beads, with condoms in my pocket.

PastaQueen before she dived for beads

(See, this is why I carry my camera everywhere! You never know when you’ll run into a pride parade!)

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Kathy • June 25, 2008 at 7:40 am

I love the pride parade! I go to the in D.C. whenever I get the chance. It’s the only parade I’ve ever been to, but unless the 4th of July parade also has loads of scantily dressed men dancing in the streets I can’t imagine how it could compare.


Shel • June 25, 2008 at 7:55 am

Ooooh we have a FAB parade here in Manchester (UK) in the village! Hope you had a good time!

Remember if you can’t be good, be safe, lol ;-)


Xenia • June 25, 2008 at 8:03 am

Glad you and your mom had such a good time! And congrats on scoring so much booty (so to speak).

Thanks for the reminder to carry my camera around with me more often. :)


Oliveira • June 25, 2008 at 8:05 am

I’m trying to decide whether it is your or your mom who is the coolest :) Great pictures! And you are so right about the camera — I bought a small one to carry with me all the time and what do I do? I forget about it all the time because it’s SMALL. :P


Marla • June 25, 2008 at 8:08 am

Your Mom rocks!


Melissa • June 25, 2008 at 8:33 am

That photo of your Mom is HI-LARIOUS!

It should be a t-shirt, or at least a public service poster! We were at Indy Pride that day too, but not until much later. :)


Bella • June 25, 2008 at 8:40 am

I’m so glad you were able to capture the fun with your camera! I think I may start carrying mine around with me more often.

If you ever want to see a huge, ridiculously wild pride parade, come to SF! There’s nothing like it in the world. I even marched in the parade one year with a Stop AIDS group my friend was part of. That was a great experience, but I prefer to watch the parade — you get to see more fun stuff.


PastaQueen • June 25, 2008 at 8:51 am

I know!


Katharine • June 25, 2008 at 8:52 am

What a fun story! You do have a way with words.


G.G. • June 25, 2008 at 8:54 am

You may be having issues right now, but rest assured, you’re still looking fabulous!


Emily • June 25, 2008 at 9:53 am


I can’t believe you’ve never been to a parade!


Michelle • June 25, 2008 at 9:54 am

You and your mom look great! I love that picture of you, your hair is so cute. Whoa, I’m just frothing with compliments.

The SF Pride Parade is this weekend. Perhaps some day you can come check it out. It’s wild and fun!


Jen • June 25, 2008 at 9:56 am

I go to Pride every year in Baltimore. It is the best party of the year. Over here though you would never find a parking spot if you just happened upon it.


suzanne • June 25, 2008 at 10:23 am

Sweet!! Way to go mom ;)


Jessie • June 25, 2008 at 10:25 am

This was the funniest entry I have ever read! I busted up laughing in the middle of the office, only to recieve inquisitive looks from my co-workers! The pic of your mother is HILARIOUS!!


Wendy • June 25, 2008 at 10:46 am

I want your mum, and you can have mine!

Brilliant story PQ, loving your work, as always!


Erin • June 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

Love it! I sent this to Lori to make sure she reads what shenanigans her sister is getting into!


Lori • June 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

Big sis sure does make the family proud!


Red • June 25, 2008 at 11:20 am

Glad that worked out!

I used to live within a loop that began the LA Marathon, and it made me hate any event that happens in the streets.

But thanks for bringing this up, you saved me from getting stuck in the SF Pride parade next weekend! I’ll take BART instead, awesome.


victoria • June 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

Oh, that takes me back to the days when I needed condoms. Oh, my crazy, happy, single days! I’d almost forgotten what a (wrapped) condom looked like until I was cleaning out my bathroom the other day and found a lone, bedraggled condom, expiration date 2005.


Helen • June 25, 2008 at 11:45 am



Susan • June 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

Funniest. Post. Ever.

(Also, I know you’re concerned about your mi-gain, and I just wanted to mention that you actually look fantastic in that photo!)


Julie • June 25, 2008 at 11:58 am

LOL too funny!!


deanna • June 25, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Cute shirt! Cool mom! I have the same need as your mom to tidy things up!


laney • June 25, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Great, great, great post. nominate for best of!


Moni • June 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm

You have a gift of telling a good story. Absolutely hillarious. Thanks for making me smile. I also agree….you look fabulous!


Andrew is getting fit • June 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I can’t believe your shiny id didn’t work. ;)


Karen • June 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Love your top and your hair looks great too!


K • June 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm

You do look pretty (and happy) in that picture. And your mother sounds like a star.


Helen • June 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I almost cried when you mentioned Ayres Tea Room…what memories of that place from when I was a little girl!! It was THE super-special place to go for a ladies lunch. I loved their meringue/ice cream dessert and there were always surprise gifts for kids. I’m so happy they have recreated it…I haven’t been to Indy in over 10 years and I HAVE to get back to show my sweetie my hometown. Ayres Tea Room will be on the list…unless it sucks? ;-)


Laura • June 25, 2008 at 5:06 pm

You look so nice and trim, do not sweat the extra 10 lbs! It will be off again before you know it.


Amy • June 25, 2008 at 5:53 pm

You should have worn your rainbow stuff and maybe they would have let you into the garage! I was on vacation and missed pride this year. Indy’s is nuthin’ like Chicago or DC… Glad to see you enjoyed yourselves. Did you ever get to the museum?


nolafwug • June 25, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Love parades? Come check out Mardi Gras in New Orleans someday! We have multiple parades night and day, day after day. Nothing can compare to it. Kill two birds with one stone and run the Mardi Gras Marathon while you’re at it. :)

This post brought me back to my first several Mardi Gras parades and the excitement of it all. Now I’m a veteran and have an attic full of beads and I try desperately not to make eye contact so no one throws me anything that I have to store or guitily throw away! Sadly, the thrill is gone. And you get pretty sick of dealing with traffic when there are parades practically every day for a month! Thank goodness it’s June. I think I may actually prefer hurricane season to Mardi Gras.


Nina • June 25, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Play safe!!! Way to go Mom!!!


barbara • June 25, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Your story reminds me that one of the most fun things I have ever done was ride on the back of a motorcycle in the NYC Gay Pride parade – a friend of mine is a member of the Sirens, a/k/a the Dykes on Bikes, and they lead the parade every year, and one year she was single and invited me along as her passenger – I missed seeing the parade, of course, because we were at the front, but what a trip! It was great.


Lisa • June 25, 2008 at 8:25 pm

I can’t stop laughing! What a great story. I have been to Carnival in Province Town on Cape Cod,MA, each year they have a new theme. The best was “games people play”, there was a wheel of fortune type wheel spinning with a beautiful man in a leather bikini! Can’t beat a gay pride parade for a great time!


fran • June 25, 2008 at 9:20 pm

last year at the end of the school year, i made condom necklaces and handed them out to my classmates.

this is off topic but…

pastaqueen, what do you wear while you run? because shorts just dont work for me.. the whole thigh rubbing together constantly makes them ride up and get all bunchy. ok. tmi probably. hah.



Lesley • June 26, 2008 at 5:54 am

Hi PQ…you look lovely in the pic.

Can we have more scantily clad young chaps please?? I can pretend that they’re not gay can’t I?

Go Mom!!

Lesley x


Boilergrad1993 • June 26, 2008 at 6:03 am

PQ, My Mom also has a collection of condoms that she keeps in a drawer. Apparently, she gets them from the bathroom of bars she goes to. She has flavored, glow-in-the-dark, ribbed, etc. She gives them to her nephews when they come to visit (what ever happened to just giving them candy?). Unfortunately, these days I have no use for them :(


Pam • June 26, 2008 at 8:04 am

Provincetown, MA also does a small 4th of July parade, because, you know, nothing says 4th of July like a float full of gays. Lots of beads, candy and very family-friendly.


Rah • June 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

Hilarious that your mom got all housekeepy with the condoms. Go PQ Mom! Safe, NEAT sex


psychsarah • June 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

Wow-what a day, what a post! I’m envious that you got to hang at the Pride Parade. My husband and I and a bunch of friends used to go every year in Toronto, but we’ve missed it the last few years. It is soooooo much fun!! BTW I can’t believe you’ve never been to a parade before either-as a kid my parents would bundle us up and take us to the Santa Claus Parade, we went to Canada Day parades and Oktoberfest parades, and the little town I grew up in had a Bread and Honey Festival, which of course, entailed a parade! I think my parents saw it as cheap entertainment or something… I don’t know-it was always a fun day out!


Kathryn • June 26, 2008 at 12:16 pm

That was the funniest entry to date! Absolutely hysterical!

And you look great by the way!


jen from ohio • June 26, 2008 at 1:04 pm

seriously, your momma is the shiz!

our pride is this weekend…you coming to columbus or what? : )


Sonya • June 26, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Mom is da bomb! You look great! And, that has got to be one of the funniest posts ever!


Paige • June 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm

How cute is your mom? And everyone’s got to have a little pride, right? Gay or otherwise.


nolafwug • June 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Hey fran,

I got some long Champion shorts at Target for about twelve bucks. They fall to about my knee but they’re long enough that gravity keeps them from getting too bunched up whilst running. Good luck finding something that works for you!


PastaQueen • June 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm

I’d never been to it before, but I thought it was good. I got the pineapple boat, which was really cute! They cut up a pineapple and served chicken salad in it, with two slices of pumpkin bread and assorted fruit. The waitress wore a cute outfit and it was all very retro. I have no idea how it compares to the original room though, so if you have expectations regarding that, you may be disappointed.


PastaQueen • June 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Yes, we did get to the museum and I had the pineapple boat at the tea room. It was very cute! They cut up the pineapple like a boat and served chicken salad in it.


PastaQueen • June 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm

From feet to head – running shoes, sweat-wicking socks, sweat pants/yoga pants (I’ve got extra skin on my thighs I don’t like to show off), sweat-wicking sports bra, t-shirt, scunchy, barettes, earphones.

I really wouldn’t feel comfortable enough physically or self-consciously to wear shorts.


Lori • June 30, 2008 at 1:59 am

I love your hair in that picture! And I must say, you look much slimmer than what the scale says. Maybe it’s your height. If I didn’t know better and had to guess, I’d say you were in the 140’s. Seriously!


Ayksha (4 Short) • July 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm

your mom totally ROCKS


Ayksha (4 Short) • July 1, 2008 at 12:58 pm

my first and only pride parade was with my brother in portland oregon – i will NEVER forget it…that one queen in pink what is that shiny kind of pleather? and the 12 inch platform stilettos???? WOW!!!!!


body-detox-diet • July 2, 2008 at 8:41 pm

that parade is a bit interesting hehehe


april • July 17, 2008 at 11:41 am

This is priceless and your mom does rock! She and my mom would get along perfectly. This is exactly something that would happen to us. Thanks for the laugh today!


kathyhaake • August 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I think your writing is as fun as hearing about your weight loss. I loved hearing about the stumbling upon this parade and how you responded to it.


Jenn • July 1, 2009 at 9:45 am

I stumbled across your blog today searching for a review of the Bodybugg. I’m originally from Indiana (Greenfield) and grew up going to the Tea Room with my grandma. I am delighted to hear it’s still open. I thought it closed down years ago!! Your mom sounds like a riot.

Can’t leave a first comment without saying congratulations on your transformation. Since this doesn’t appear to be a blog about tearooms. I wonder if there are enough tearooms in the US to devote an entire blog to them? You are very inspirational!!!!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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