Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence (from thought) Day

The Fourth of July was truly a harrowing experience for me.
I generally don’t care for crowds. I’ve been around too many mad mobs to know you never turn your back on one. There’s no accountability. It’s a big stupid animal with no morals or personal regrets.
So not only is everyone crowded together on this most special of holidays they’re all infected with the Independence Day spirit. It’s a second cousin to Senioritis. The air is sparkling with it. Much like Halloween, it’s one of those public holidays that come with a lampshade squarely on their head.
In short, everyone has an excuse to cut loose.
Oh, and did I mention there were no fireworks in town this year? Apparently no one stepped up to collect funds.
The general consensus of the populace was less than favorable.
I think if people don’t get to see things blow up for long enough they start loosing their minds.
Yesterday was one of those times.
It started at the Safeway at around 10 a.m. I should have figured this would be the exact same time at least one representative from each gathering in town would think to pick up a few quick items at exactly this time.
People were frantic. I used the shopping cart in front of me for protection. We were nearly crushed several times and not even in the middle of the aisle. There was no escape. Nowhere of was safe. People were everywhere. Upon further reflection I thought of it in terms of the Maxis computer game SimAnt that I played in junior high.
The ant tunnels were out of control.
The last straw was the gigantic woman pushing one of those cart/toy car combinations which people with more than, say, two children at the supermarket at once often take advantage of.
As we were checking out she got in line behind us and without taking her eyes off the tabloid magazine she had snatched off the rack, she pushed the contraption forward, almost running us over.
This happened at least two more times, each time the end result getting closer to contact. We couldn’t leave quickly enough.
Later on that night we had stopped by our friend’s birthday party. We made our way back across town and not two minutes after leaving the party a gigantic truck with its high beams on started tailing us hard. In front of us were two slow moving cars, so I couldn’t go any faster and the line in the middle of the two-lane road was double yellow. Then the truck started honking and weaving. I quickly turned right on the first side street I could find. As I looked over my shoulder I could see the truck illegally passing both cars, honking all the way. This so freaked the driver in front of us out that it ran him on the small shoulder for a few seconds before zooming away.
We caught our breaths and decided to drive as carefully as possible the way back since there were obviously more than a few inebriated drivers out. We turned off at the first road we could when we got back to town. Just then an explosion of sparks and noise went off not 15 feet in front of the car. I looked over and saw a party of gigantic celebrants, many of which were small children. They had been throwing fireworks into the middle of the road. I rolled my window down and yelled at them. I didn’t wait around to hear their response for their foolishness.
So in short, Happy Birthday, America…I’m hiding from you for the rest of the weekend.

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