File 23s Fourth Of July Follies

Posted: July 5, 2010 in The Roper Files
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Ah yes Fourth of July…that time of picnics, sun tea, hot dogs, hamburgers. Also drinking beer in the hot sun all day at the lake and waking up in the middle of a pile of Jack In the Box food on the sofa in the middle of the night, accidental fireworks-sparked wildfires in remote locations with no running water nearby, sobriety checkpoints, speed traps, fire ants, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. You gotta love it.

 Got four straight days off of my job this year and did as little as possible and yet since I hate to waste a minute tried to do more than just hold down the futon. Taking Care Of Business is going to become much much more than an expression for the next couple of months; it’s going to become a way of life. A work-out of my usual after-work routine of eating dinner and crawling helplessly to the futon afterward and falling asleep. Taking another vacation in a few weeks and the list of things I need to do seems to get longer the more of it I try to get done. This on top of my usual Super Bachelor juggling act of laundry, housework, shopping etc.

 Gotta keep up with the bills, renew my drivers license, blah blah blah. And it seems like everyone has their hands out this time of year: ADT, AT&T, the water department, the gas company, the electric “provider”, and also now yearly the cops shake me down $50 for a goddam “alarm permit” every August…ugh the list goes on and on.

Might bend but I won’t break; going to jump through all of these hoops.
There is a goal at the end of this tunnel. An honest-to-Gawd vacation.

 Wrote about this last year about this time but at the risk of repeating myself I have been posting the local fireworks shows on YouTube.

Everything’s Bigger In Texas and our fireworks shows are no exception. We like ’em not only big and loud on New Years and Fourth of July but as many of them as we can think up excuses for as well.

Not very far from where I live is a park where they have a live orchestra every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for the “Concerts In the Park” Every performance ends with a massive fireworks show, and even when I am holed up in the house with my 100-watt home theater cranked up on Stun I can hear the mortars off in the distance they use to launch the fireworks. They do this every weekend in between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, so there’s not much ignoring it.

There is no telling what the admission for this is; I know the valet parking alone is twenty dollars, I’ve driven past the lots and seen the signs.  But last year I discovered a spot about three or four blocks away where I get a fairly un-obstructed view of the fireworks. If I take my truck I can back up with the bed pointed towards the display and use it as an elevated platform for my tripod. I may get to see the show for free but disadvantages can include unwanted noise from the nearby trains, wind noise, the air conditioner for the business I am parked in front of that never seems to shut off and other people who show up to watch the fireworks. Usually I have this spot to myself but on the Fourth of July the whole neighborhood seems to turn out. I drove down there a half hour before sundown Sunday night and there was a pickup with a family and their lawn chairs already there ahead of me. Backed into my favorite spot and waited. And mere minutes later one by one here they came: the pickup truck full of screaming kids that parks next to me. The guy that sits on top of his SUV and talks loudly on his cellphone just a few feet away. The couple with their folding lawn chairs who both whip out their cellphones and begin simultaneous conversations with other people elsewhere…

 The show finally begins. Miraculously almost everyone shuts up or at least keeps it down to a dull roar. I couldn’t help but think of the zombies in George Romeros LAND OF THE DEAD (2005) all stopping to stare at the fireworks which their hunters used to divert their attention. The firework shows start out as two or three minute affairs around Memorial Day but by the Fourth of July they turn into nine or ten minute shows. The city of Dallas had to solicit private donations to afford their fireworks show this Fourth. Of course Fort Worth manages their tax dollars much better than that. Not only did we have enough in the budget for a month of fireworks, but they also had enough money to re-pave the parking lots of the swimming pools they couldn’t afford to keep open during the summer.

 So I think I can speak for the rest of the good citizens of Fort Worth to say here…enjoy the show because after’s on us...


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