Since our last post, John and I visited the “World Heritage Site Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, Mexico”,

El Colorado Crater, Mexico

El Colorado Crater, Mexico


John standing on the rim of El Elegante Crater, Pinacate Biosphere, Mexico


returned to Organ Pipe National Monument, where we camped in the “no generator” area,

Happy John

Happy John

Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

Organ Pipe

Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona


attended every Park talk and tour available,

John helping Allison with her presentation

John helping Allison with her presentation

and are now back in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) waiting for the PNB PARIBAS OPEN Tennis tournament to begin.

Come on Milos and Eugenie!

Instead of plunking down a cool $7,500 USD for the best seats in the house, John and I planned to volunteer our time in exchange for free passes. Although my leg is feeling great (I actually jog-walked in the desert yesterday), I will pass on volunteering this year and take advantage of John’s guest tickets. We  both attended the usher orientation.

Guide: And…

Usherette Trainee: How long is this tour? I have an afternoon appointment that I can’t miss. When do I get my uniform?

Guide: Shouldn’t take too long. Once I complete the orientation, you pick up your uniform.

Usherette Trainee: Thanks.

Guide: It’s very important to be able to point out where everything is for our patrons. For example, First Aid’s over there, bathrooms there and there.

Usherette Trainee: Those are closed. I tried them. And I really have to go.

Guide: Did you try the ones on the ground level of the main stadium? They should be open.

Usherette Trainee: I didn’t. But I will now. Won’t be a minute. Go right ahead. I’ll catch you up.

Guide: OK.

Usherette Trainee: Because I don’t want to be the one responsible for keeping everyone waiting. Nothing worse than standing around when you have things to do. I hate when that happens. I’ll get, uh, what’s your name?

Susan: Susan.

Usherette Trainee: Susan to catch me up. I’m off. (Whispering) Sorry. Excuse me. Whoops did not mean to step on your toes. Sorry. Excuse me.

Guide: Before each shift, you’ll meet your captain at your assigned court. At that point, they’ll hand out your duties.

Usherette Trainee: Oh oh better stay for this. This sounds important. I guess I can wait. I’ll need to head up front for this. Don’t want to miss a thing. Whoops. Sorry. Excuse me.

Guide: One of your jobs is to usher patrons to and from their seats during the 3rd, 5th and 7th change overs. Not on the 1st. Very important to remember no movement during the 1st.

Usherette Trainee: So, not the 1st?

Guide: No.

Usherette Trainee: But the 3rd, 5th and 7th?

Guide: Yes. If possible grab a seat by the chain, so you can sit during play.

Usherette Trainee: Excuse me.

Guide: Yes.

Usherette Trainee: Are umbrellas allowed?

Guide: As long as they don’t block anyone’s view.

Usherette Trainee: Can patrons put their feet up?

Guide: No, but if it’s not crowded, don’t worry. Remember common sense rules.

Usherette Trainee: Right. Right. So no cameras, food or drink on the shelf.

Guide: Exactly, because…

Usherette Trainee: Because if they fall in the lower section, someone’s going to be really annoyed. I know I would be. And the last thing we want is annoyed patrons.

Guide: Yes.

Usherette Trainee:  Are coolers allowed?

Guide: Yes.

Usherette Trainee: Coolers. To put drinks in.

Guide: Are you asking me if patrons can bring coolers? Because security has already checked everything at the entrance gate.

Usherette Trainee: No, for me. Because it’s going to get hot. Whoowhee really hot. Last year, when I was here, I almost passed out. So, a 16 by 16 cooler is fine?

Guide: Yes.

Usherette Trainee: A soft sided cooler?

Guide: Yes.

Usherette Trainee: With assorted drinks in them as long as they’re not alcohol?

Guide: Yes.

Usherette: Actually that’s not quite true. Drinks must be sealed or else they’re poured out at the entrance to the tournament. Ha! Ha! You almost got me.

Guide: Ha! Almost. Where was I? Remember, some guests haven’t been to tennis matches before, so they might have to be told to sit during play.

Usherette Trainee: What if they don’t listen?

Guide: Politely, quietly repeat yourself. Most will. Try not to make a fuss. No one likes to be pointed out to a crowd. Sometimes all you need to do is make a motion to sit and they will.

Usherette Trainee: What if they still don’t listen and ruin it for everyone else?

Guide: You call security.

Usherette Trainee: But…

John: (Whispers) Security.

Shelley: (Whispers) John!

Man next to John: (Whispers) Security.

IMG_4404Shelley and John

13 thoughts on “Security!

  1. That usherette trainee… she’s blonde, right?
    The dead or petrified (or whatever caused its demise) Saguaro is actually a great capture! And… are you perched on lava rock and that’s what caused your expression? Loving the virtual desert tour! Thanks.


    • She has a very deep south accent. I forgot that she called our guide, “Mr. Riiicharrrd.” Was very worried that the group was going to vote her off the island. As for the dead Saguaro, I figured I’d taken enough of the live ones. Apparently they take 10 years plus to show they’re dead. Yes, yes, learned that from the talks. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Teagan. Learned so much from our tour. Didn’t know that the park is one of the busiest places for the Mexicans to illegally cross over. Because it is so hot, and the Coyotes don’t really give a rat’s ass, after they get the money from their clients, many have perished in the area. Now there is a group that has been allowed to set up water caches so they don’t die from exposure. I guess I’m telling you that because their spirits must haunt the desert.


  2. Great photos, and hilarious usherette training exchange! Isn’t the answer always ‘security’? 😉

    Volunteering is definitely the bomb for seeing cool stuff without the huge price tag. Have you done a volunteer stint like a lighthouse or park where you get your campsite free in exchange for doing tours or taking tickets, etc? We may try that sometime. We ate headed home from Big Bend in far west TX now, for awhile. It was big fun but have a busy April at home…


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