Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Freedom without Fireworks

Being an American who lives in the UK there are all sorts of strange and somewhat unexpected cultural divides that I run into on a daily basis.  Sometimes the words I use get blank stares from the people around me.  Often my accent gets made fun of.  But the real problem of living here is that you can't really celebrate the Fourth of July properly.  You can't really run around saying, "I'm free from your tyranny", when you willingly returned.  You end up looking like the naughty dog that got off its leash and ran wild for ten exasperating minutes before returning, grinning foolishly, to your master to receive that withering look.  Of course, this doesn't stop me from running around wearing red, white, and blue and proclaiming my independence in this manner.  It just sort of dampens the camaraderie a bit.  If you can manage to find a few other Americans and all celebrate together all the better.  But we are still lacking one key ingredient.  Fireworks.

I don't know about you, but fireworks are the best part of the Fourth of July.  Don't get me wrong, I love the bbq's, the food, and the summer outdoor parties filled with friends, family, and the best of summer fruits.  But while I can attempt to recreate all of that here I am still missing the fireworks.  Fireworks are amazing, truly.  In my opinion we would all do good to invent more holidays that require fireworks.  There are just not enough times we get to have them.  And who doesn't love them?  I really don't think I've met someone who doesn't like fireworks.  Unless of course, you are counting your canine companions.  I have met a few dogs who quiver in fear at the loud bangs and if asked would probably tell you they hate fireworks.  However, I imagine that most of the people you'd be polling would not be answering from a dog's perspective, so I can safely say that most of them will love fireworks.  I can't imagine meeting a person who doesn't like fireworks.  They must be very odd people, and yes, I do realize I don't have much room to judge on the subject.  Have you ever met someone who doesn't like fireworks?  Think about it, they must be odd and very boring people.

What is not to love?  The deafening booms are regular, not like the somewhat terrifying and random demonstrations of canons in places like Colonial Williamsburg that can catch you off guard and make you jump out of your skin.  They are far enough away, for safety reasons, that they have a dullness to their booming that renders them slightly safe sounding.  Yet, if you are fortunate enough to be watching fireworks in a valley you can sometimes hear the booms echo off of the neighboring hills for great effect.  The colors and shapes, and fun fizzing sounds that fireworks make are eminently lovable.  There are the standard bright colors, the ones that look like smiley faces, and the ones that look like they are chandeliers made of fairy dust straight out of a Disney cartoon.  They are simply magical in a way that is all their own.  There is simply nothing that can compare to fireworks.

Maybe next year I should just plan on going home for the fourth of July.  But until then, Happy Fourth! Happy Independence! And enjoy the fireworks for me.

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