Having grown up just across the river from Washington, D.C., as the only child of a military bandsman yet, I am so jaded about national ceremony and public displays it is probably a Class 1 misdemeanor. I think there are people who actually get in their cars and drive to see the national fireworks. I have trouble motivating myself to walk up the hill, where there is a fairly good view from the nearest overpass.
Fate has decreed that men in my life always want to See The Fucking Fireworks. Sometimes I have flatly stated I will stay home, at least if they have a gang to go with; other times I try to be a good sport. I do like pretty sparkly things, but the presence of squealing kids and large numbers of strange people does nothing for me, especially since in July, D.C. is usually stifling even at nine at night, like trying to breathe through an old Ked.
This year the Cute Engineer had his usual invitation to go up to his employer’s high-rise offices near the riverfront and goggle from the sixteenth floor. I have been grouchy enough lately that I felt I had to.
I’ll admit the interlaced hearts were kind of nice.
Actually it all was very pretty, the other company groups were distributed civilly among various offices, and we hightailed out of the building before the underground parking level could turn into a killing bottle. The roads back toward my house were, of course, jampacked with people carrying lawn chairs and pushing strollers and crossing against the light and generally threatening to precipitate a pedestrian accident.
Halfway up the hill from Rosslyn, at the edge of the restaurant district, a young man on the street corner was haranguing someone out in traffic.
“Come right ahead!” he was yelling. “I’d love to take your fuckin husband or your fuckin boyfriend or whoever he is and [garbled, indistinct, but definitely unfriendly suggestion].” One young woman, then a second, emerged from the general hubbub, hauling him back away from the curb by arms and shoulders. Undeterred, he leaned against their pull, continuing to yell as an African-American sounding female accent blatted out of a car ahead and to our left: “Fuckin’ bitch, you bzzzyadammmwadawada…”
I had one hand on my cell phone and the other on my pepper spray. The Cute Engineer drives a convertible and we had to pass between them.
There is a reason I hate holidays.
Alcohol and explosives, the things that made America great.