What's that, you cry?! How is it possible for a military spouse to not enjoy massive amounts of grilled food on her country's birthday? How can she not shed a few tears every time the anthem is played or a flag waves? How can she not break out a red, white, and blue outfit on the most sacred day in the US?
In short, because it's just another holiday that is commercialized, overly busy, full of scheduled expectations, and soaking wet in disingenious patriotism.
There, I'm officially a party pooper :)
You have to understand that I hail from a small town that lives and breathes for its July 4th celebration. The population doubles from a cozy 10,000 to a nauseating 20,000+. The crowds get even more insane depending on which political pundit makes an appearance in a given year.
The parade is one long commercial for local businesses, a reverence for all of the area sports teams, and a deluge of church pamphlets. The carnival downtown is as you would expect - overrun with teenagers on a sugar high and iffy looking rides. I'll give them credit for the fireworks though.
Out of my 28 years, I have spent virtually every Independence Day in Clear Lake. I have been in 9 parades - 1 time as a flag, 6 times playing an instrument, and twice herding students with instruments. I have played in 8 evening concerts for the Municipal Band and would be happy if I never heard a march again.
It's not just a battling the crowds issue. Or sweating like a pig at a hog roast while you watch the parade. Or awkardly running into people from the past who have the same Leave It To Beaver worldview. Or that when my husband's deployed and I see him being treated like a disposable tool (more so than usual), Uncle Sam and I tend to exchange dirty looks.
It's simply the general hullabaloo that goes with the 4th. To me, it's become obnoxious. It's so American - big, brassy, and busy.
I know, that's what people love about it. I'm not knocking the Statue of Liberty and all she stands for. And I'm certainly not hating on all of you grill-happy, sparkler-holding, parade-loving junkies out there either. I just cringe at the thought of being subjected to so much stimulation in one day.
I relish that I have tomorrow off and no where to go, no one to see, no schedule to hold to. It's my personal independence day from work and teaching and I'm going to spend it patriotically watching movies and reading.
Because that's one things we Americans need more of - rest and relaxation.
How are you spending your 4th?