Oh my God. It’s July. How did this happen? Why did no one ask my permission? And do you know what’s worse? It’s almost July 4th.
I know, I know. America, freedom, liberty. Down with the tea-drinking, dentally-challenged oppressors! I’m all for that. But holy hell, Batman, do you know what happens to my neighborhood on the 4th of July? DO YOU?
I live on a tiny spit of land that juts out into the ocean. There are sea lions. Also jellyfish. But we’ll concentrate on the sea lions because they’re cuter. Except when they bark at 3 a.m. Then they are not cute at all. There are sailboats and sand and palm trees, and it is a generally pleasant place to inhabit. It’s also a lovely spot to host one of the largest fireworks displays in Los Angeles.
Did I mention the part about it being a “tiny spit of land?” Do you know how many people live in the greater L.A. area? About 4 billion. China has nothing on us. And we all drive. Separately. Mom, dad, baby – we will all arrive in separate cars, and we love fireworks. How does my neighborhood deal with the onslaught? By shutting down the roads. All of them. One day a year, I live in a prison. I am literally not allowed to leave my home except on foot, and should I be away when the streets shut down, I am not allowed to return until after midnight. Forgot your meds? Tough. You can’t go home. Cat having a seizure? Apartment on fire? Doesn’t matter. You are stranded.
And the people! The sheer number of teeming hordes. It’s like U2 is playing for free in my garage. They group together and shuffle along shoulder-to-shoulder, sunburned and covered in popsicle juice. I swear all it will take is for one of them to moan, “Brains!” And BOOM. Zombie apocalypse.
My husband and I prepare for this like we’re supposed to prepare for earthquakes. We buy food in bulk and hoard bottled water. We stock up on magazines and flashlight batteries. We drag blankets into the living room and hide under them with our one-pound package of Oreos and case of Gatorade. We get very jumpy. Sometimes this leads to one of us hitting the other with a chair. (Hey! He totally looked like a zombie just then! I had to protect the Oreos.)
So as you celebrate our nation’s birth, remember the less fortunate, the trapped, the jumpy.