Don’t get me wrong, I feel patriotic and respectful towards my country. I am not a hater of America. I am a hater of the 4th of July.
Every year my neighborhood turns into a war zone. Despite the fact that we live within the city limits where fireworks are prohibited, people insist on shooting off the noisy, wildfire inducing, messy things. They do it with abandon, without regard to safety, and rarely clean up the resulting debris. Otherwise reasonable, fairly level-headed people turn into crazed pyromaniacs. It isn’t about patriotism, it’s about blowing shit up. Worse, it lasts for a solid week and a half.
Yes, I am a fun hater.
- I’m not a fan of noise. The explosions are grating to my nervous system. They put me on edge, which causes tension that shows up as physical pain, namely in my back. I can’t imagine what vetrans with PTSD go through this time of year.
- Errant bottle rockets or misfiring mortars. In the past, much to my chagrin, my husband was a prolific fireworks accumulator and one of the pyromaniacs in the neighborhood. Thus, we have had several of the biggest neighborhood fireworks displays right in front of our house. Occasionally, mortars–the cylinders that launch large, single shot fireworks–misfire. Either they fall down due to the force of the explosion or one actually blew out the side. This causes the display to happen on the ground among the people rather than high in the air. Which leads me to the next point.
- The fire danger is real. We live on the prairie which is highly flammable. Well, most years it is anyway. We have had a lot of rain lately and the fire danger is uncharacteristically low this year. I hope this doesn’t mean that people will lose their caution.
- Barely supervised kids and alcohol soaked adults do most of the fuse lighting. It gets dark late this time of year. By the time the fireworks start even people who worked that day have had four hours to tune up. It’s flipping dangerous.
- The next morning the street will be littered with spent cartridges, charred cardboard boxes, and bits of random debris. Likely there will be bottle rockets in my garden, paper in the trees, and little burnt cylinders absolutely everywhere.
- My dog hates it. Well, one of them does. We have gun dogs, so most of the dogs we’ve had actually run towards the banging, which is also a problem. Our youngest dog, while he’s a good hunter, hates fireworks, firecrackers, loud voices…he’s the sensitive type.
What I Like About the 4th of July
I may be a fun hater, but I don’t deny anyone else their fun. You will notice in one of the points above I mentioned that my husband used to light off some of the biggest of the displays. Everyone loved them. The only reason he doesn’t do it anymore is that it got expensive.
I know I’m the odd duck out. This isn’t meant to be a public service announcement or a call to arms. There are things I like about the holiday. I don’t hide in the house with my dog and I do let my kid participate in the age-appropriate fun.
- It’s a social experience. Our friends come together for a barbeque and there are usually yard games. The kids play in the water. Regular social interaction has the effect of increasing a person’s health span. Plus, it’s fun.
- I don’t hate all fun. I like the firework displays put on by professionals, or at least those with some sort of safety protocol. I don’t mind it when regular people set them off when they’re responsible. They are awe-inspiring when they’re done right.
- I love a parade. There is nothing quite like a small town 4th of July parade. It’s hot, there are horses, red, white, and blue banners everywhere, people are smiling, the smell of carnival food is in the air. It’s all good.
The whole point here is that you can really loathe something, but you don’t have to make it an issue for everyone. I straight up hate the constant barrage of firecrackers that go on for a week and a half in my neighborhood, but most of the people love it. Rather than make myself miserable, and cause my kid to have the same issue, I choose to focus on the good things and keep my fun hating to myself. Why ruin everyone else’s experience with my hang up?
Are there things that are generally accepted in society that need changing? Yes. I pick my battles. I will continue to work on the health revolution with my fellow health coaches, food advocates, and concious omnivores. This is my fight. The neighborhood fireworks are a minor annoyance that I will endure for a couple of weeks every year and eventually move out of the neighborhood where I won’t have to deal with them anymore. I will focus my civil disobedience elsewhere.
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