Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July

It's the 4th of July, so what am I doing? Going to the movies. And not just any movie, a movie that is sure to be bad. There are several flicks I want to see, but I don't want to get on the metro, which is sure to be a nightmare today and I don't want to think. Thus, a bad movie is not called for. Not the one with Tom Cruise. Actually, that one is supposed to be ok, but I just can't bear to look at him. Until quite recently, I liked Tom Cruise just fine. Ah, the good old pre-ranting and raving days.

Writing this, I may change my mind and go see one of the French movies on my list, but French movies require so much thinking. Sigh. I've thought hardly at all today, so maybe I can hack it.

I did actually have plans today. I was going to hang out with CK. Her friends invited her to a cook-out. Turns out it was for Sunday not Monday. Huh? A lot of people had their 4th of July parties on the 3rd. Losers. Oh, wait, I'm the one planning to go to the movies and completely ignore the fireworks this year. Loser.

I love fireworks. I've always liked them, but I fell in love with them the first time we watched them from the top of my mom's houseboat in Seattle. The barge that set off the fireworks was on the same lake where the houseboat was docked. The fireworks were so close it felt like you could touch them. It's ruined me for anything else. I can't ever get close enough.

The worst 4th of July I ever spent was a camping trip I went on with some friends back when I lived in Seattle (pre-houseboat). I was 18. Their attitude: let's get out of town! 4th of July sucks! I didn't feel that way, but it was a group of people I liked. I figured, why not? It was two couples (Amanda and Dennis; Alex and Maria) and me. Amanda and I were good friends and she talked to me about Dennis a lot. They were not getting along so well and I was not a big fan of his. I liked both Alex and Maria, but they were a bickering couple. I told Amanda I would go, but only if there were someone else so I wouldn't be the only single person. No problem, Amanda's sister was coming too. Great. At the last minute, the sister dropped out. I was committed and Amada wanted me to go, so I stuck with the trip.

We all piled into Dennis's VW bus a couple of hours later than originally planned. We were going to a hot springs. We drove along a rutted gravel road and everyone fought. Dennis snapped at Amanda and I defended her. Dennis yelled at me and we stopped talking. Alex, Maria and I did better. Alex and I were both wearing wool shirt jackets. His was too small and mine, which I had stolen from my dad, was much too large. I suggested to Alex that we trade. "Your shirt doesn't fit at all! Try mine on." It fit him perfectly. I still have the shirt he traded for it. I felt a little bad because his shirt was nicer, but Alex was really sweet, "This one fits and that's more important."

That night, the bus got a flat, we couldn't find a good camping spot and ended up just perching on the side of the road. We built a fire and cooked something. Dennis and Amanda fought and then went to sleep in the van. Alex, Maria and I set up the tent--which I had brought. It was the one I'd used with my parents on our family camping trips. It was a "pop" tent, with a dome and a hexagonal footprint. Alex seemed pleased to share the tent with two women and insisted on sleeping in the middle. The ground was rocky and we didn't sleep well.

We hiked up to the hot springs in the morning. There were other people there. Naked people. We all kept our suits on and felt a little silly. When we cleaned up the campsite Alex and Maria started fighting. On the ride home the only person talking to me was Alex. All I can say is, never again. No going anywhere with two couples and no camping trips on the 4th of July. I can avoid the 4th of July without going anywhere, thank you very much.

I went to the French movie. It was ok. Mindless might have been better. I almost went down to the Mall to glimpse the fireworks, but I thought better of it and walked to the bus stop instead. The city was booming around me, but I couldn't see a single firework. Walking through the DC streets it sounded like bombing, which was a bit unnerving. The only part of the big display I saw was a green and red reflection in the windows of an office building a couple of blocks from the bus stop. When I got home, fireworks were going off all over the neighborhood, so I did get to see a few colorful booms. (The kitty is calm and continues to sleep through all the loud noices. Good kitty.)

Next year the Mall, I think.

Grateful for: the 4th of July.

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