July 5, 2001
Holiday Appreciation


"You're missing the fireworks," David said.

I rolled over in bed, wiped the drool off my pillow and squinted at the TV.  Ray Charles was singing "America, The Beautiful" against a backdrop of elaborate (and earsplitting) pyrotechnics, originating from a barge in the middle of San Francisco Bay. A couple of local Bay Area news puppets were providing color commentary. 

It was 9:45 p.m. 

"Happy New Year," I mumbled sleepily. And then I rolled over and closed my eyes again.

Contrary to what I may have you believe, I'm not a total curmudgeon when it comes to holidays. Yes, it's true that I'm the National Chairperson of the *Let's Celebrate Christmas Once Every Fifteen Years!* Movement. (So far the campaign is not exactly taking off: I have three names on the petition, and two of them are mine.) Yes, it's true that I would prefer to eat a cold turkey sandwich alone in bed than sit around a family dinner table on Thanksgiving, chit-chatting about the cornbread stuffing. Yes, it's true that unless a holiday has some personal significance (read this: unless someone is likely to send me flowers), I am probably going to try to blow it off.

And yes, it's true that just yesterday I was complaining about the Fourth of July, right here on *FootNotes.*

As with a lot of things in life, though, I believe that it is never too late to change your mind about stuff. That goes for lifestyle choices, career direction, Pere Ubu records, soy products ... and holidays. Simply because you've hated a particular holiday for forty-four years in a row doesn't mean you automatically are obligated to hate it for the forty-fifth. (Especially once you've removed the two elements -- fireworks and hangovers -- that you've always hated about it the most.)  In fact, as Fourths of July go  --  or should that be, As Fourth of Julys go?  --  yesterday was one of the nicest in recent OR distant memory. David and I spent our day bike-riding around Bay Farm Island ... walking up and down Webster Street, watching the parade ... eating lunch at our favorite sandwich shop .... puttering around the apartment ... and simply revelling in the luxury of a middle-of-the-work-week day off.

It was nice.

By 9 p.m., I was out like a light.  Ray Charles  --  and the sound of fireworks exploding, on TV AND outside our bedroom window  --  woke me up half an hour later.

Once I was awake, I realized I wasn't going to immediately fall asleep again. So I hopped out of bed and wandered out to the kitchen for a glass of lemonade. As I made my way back through the darkened bedroom, I could see something lighting up the night sky through our bedroom curtains.

"Hey!" I said. "You can see the Jack London Square fireworks from here!"

David and I knelt on the bed and peered out the window for a few minutes, watching the display. I have to admit: it was sort of pretty. And from the safety and distance of our bedroom, there were no gunpowder fumes to worry about ... no crowds ... no parking hassles ... no broken eardrums.

This, too, was nice.

"Happy Fourth of July," I said to David, when it was all over and we were snuggling back into bed.  ("Happy New Year," he replied.)  As holidays -- and as Fourths of July/Fourth of Julys go -- I'll be the first to admit this one was pretty not-completely-terrible. 

Who knows? Maybe next year I'll stay awake for the whole thing.

Especially if someone sends me flowers.

one year ago: a sporting wager
two years ago: cautious fireworks

throw a rock