9:02 pm—My wife and I parked beside the bay, facing the water, to watch the fireworks. I hear the distant sound of children laughing in the night. The popping of far-off bottle rockets.
It’s July Fourth and it’s been a weird day. I can’t pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because it’s been overcast. Maybe because we’ve been quarantining for a 42,382 days. Maybe because this year’s holiday has about as eventful as watching the Lawrence Welk Orchestra play “Beer Barrel Polka.”
Which is exactly what I did this afternoon. A cable channel was playing “Lawrence Welk Show” reruns. I watched about four male singers in sparkly ascots sing “Red Sails in the Sunset” while Myron Floren showed the world how the accordion should be handled.
And now I am here to watch the fireworks before going home to remove my teeth and go to bed.
There are a few other cars here tonight. Maybe four. In the vehicle beside ours are young kids. Their car windows are down, they eat red-white-and-blue popsicles.
They say little-kid things like, “COOL!” And: “COOLCOOLCOOL!”
believe this is the only word they know.
“Hey! Look!” one kid shouts to the other, pointing at any object ranging from a booger to a live water buffalo.
The other kid will say, “COOL!”
Their mother is young. Wiry. She sits upon the hood of her car—a mid-90s Nissan. When she arrived earlier, her vehicle made a loud noise. CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!
Her Nissan needs a new CV axle. I know this because I once had a ‘98 Altima with the same problem. You could hear me coming from a mile away.
The woman looks tired. She’s kept the same cigarette going for the last thirty minutes while playing on her phone.
“MOM! Can we have another popsicle?”
“As long as you share!” says Mom.
I get the feeling that this woman is so tired that she wouldn’t…