Let me tell you about the T-shirt I saw on a guy in downtown Bangor recently.
Or let me try to tell you as best I can given that this is a family newspaper.
In large letters it said “DRUNK?”
Beneath that it indicated the gentleman was a human breathalyzer machine.
Beneath that was a large arrow pointing downward toward his lower anatomy.
Beneath that it said “blow here.”
He was accompanied by his female companion and what appeared to be his two sons, I’d guess to be about 6 and 7 years old.
At the same gathering of folks, another man stormed off a few feet away dropping the F-bomb over and over again, clearly agitated. When someone in his party asked why he was angry (not exactly in those words) he used considerably colorful language and shouted that he had to distance himself a bit to have his “f—-in” cigarette because he apparently was offending other spectators.
His little boy stood by his side as he muttered and swore and had his smoke.
This wasn’t, by the way, at the Lil’ Wayne concert or at the Mayhem Festival.
This was the scene at the intersection of Union and Main streets during the Fourth of July parade.
Was I offended? Surely, and disgusted and ashamed for them both and very sad for their children, but I’m guessing they won’t cancel next year’s parade as a result.
The Bangor City Council held a public forum this week to hear compliments and concerns about the Waterfront Concerts series, which has pumped $30 million into the area economy during the past three years, according to one study.
Most of the discussion focused on the noise but some attendees clearly were offended by the concertgoers themselves.
Councilor Ben Sprague was refreshingly honest in an Op-Ed piece published in this week’s BDN when he stated that the concert series is here to stay, complaints or not.
That’s the truth.
Given the success of the concert series, its significant economic impact, and the low number of police-related problems with the concertgoers themselves, the council owes it to its taxpayers to tread carefully and considerately as it continues to ponder solutions to the concerns brought forth.
There is little or nothing the council can do about foul language or unbecoming behavior of the concertgoers.
There is nothing you can do, either, about the behavior itself, that is.
But you can opt to stay away in the hours before, during and after a concert.
Choose a different grocery store that day. Take a different route. Steer clear. The season is short. Adapt a little.
A simple solution you’re in charge of. You don’t need the support of the council for that.
The noise level from the stage is another matter.
In Sprague’s Op-Ed piece, he cautioned against calling those complaining of the noise levels whiners.
But actually, most likely at least some of them are whiners. They live amongst us every day and go out of their way to be heard whether warranted or not.
That said, if the noise levels are as high and disruptive miles and miles from the stage as some of the speakers at this week’s forum indicated, then the city needs to assure those residents that it is actively seeking a solution.
If indeed the concerts were rocking the walls of my home on Kenduskeag Avenue I would be inviting a council member or two over for a visit on the night of a performance.
Simply being able to hear that a concert is underway in the city is not enough reason for the city to seek change. An active disruption to lifestyle and sleep three times a week is.
Bangor is a city after all — with the good, the bad and the ugly cities bring — and the ugly can pop up anywhere, even on the front of a T-shirt at a Fourth of July parade.