July 5, 2023

Things I Thought about on July 4th.

Yesterday, I went to watch the July 4th parade.

I knew I wouldn’t have fun.

I could feel it in the morning when I thought about how I didn’t want to go and would rather work all day and then go out for an evening walk, but then part of me was tempted because I’m a “comfort zone” person and wanted to challenge that part of me (in case that part needed to be challenged).

I’m in a new place and I had the time and I miraculously got downtown just when the parade was going to go by.

I almost missed it because I got into a flow with work and was enjoying it and didn’t want to force myself to stop—I wanted to follow the flow, flow with the flow.

So, I flowed and I worked and then I wanted a break, so I walked. I went out in the sun and I saw someone I knew and he was going to the parade and he’s from around here, so I found a new way to walk to the park I love to walk by. It’s nice to have different paths, different alternatives.

When we got there, we went different ways and I stood and watched. I was bored, mostly, to be honest. Parades aren’t really my thing.

So, I stood out in the beautiful sun and watched the parade and felt bored and watched the parents with their children and that made me smile. So many children. One little boy, when a bunch of kids were standing in front of a police car for a picture, screamed—joyfully?—the whole time. It was funny and adorable.

I got tired and thought about leaving but also reasoned that I’d lasted so long that maybe I could make it to the end. I kept picking a different point to leave. “I just want to see….”

Then I looked toward the distance and saw army vehicles and decided I wanted to see those. They were from a World War 2 museum. I took a few pictures and looked at the vehicles and then imagined what those vehicles would have looked like in the middle of war—weapons, dirt, maybe sirens, screams—I wondered if the done-up girl girl sitting on top of a tank waving like she was a Miss America contestant thought about what had happened in these vehicles years ago, what it would have been like for soldiers to be in them.

I thought about war and what it’s like and I looked around at everyone dressed in red, white, and blue, and thought about the hollow, superficial celebrations we do. It’s more, it seems, a way to celebrate cute outfits and fun and sun—a celebration of summer and ourselves. It also made me think about shopping, and, honestly, how I’d like to buy new clothes.

When I was out walking earlier in the day, I saw someone putting up his American flag. Funny, I thought, to put up the flag only on July 4th. Typical: Memorial day, July 4th…it’s all a show.

And then I thought if we’re celebrating our independence, we really should be thanking France since we’re only a country because they helped us win.

And then after the tank passed by, I walked back to my room, tired and thankful to have finally left but not regretting the fact that I went, even if I was bored and didn’t have fun and would have had a better time if I’d just worked and rested.

Again, it’s not bad to try something new.

And then in the evening, when I went out for a walk, I thought about the summer when I bartended on a boat in Boston. My captain let another bartender and me sit on top of the boat when the fireworks went off. We were so close that I got pelted with ashes as they fell toward the Charles River.

And then I remembered a few of the events we had while I was working. It was fun to work on that boat. It was also a tiring summer because I was working two jobs just to cover rent and bills and groceries.

And then, in between reminiscing and memories and thoughts, I came back to the moment and walked and watched the world around me, felt the sun and looked at the flowers and felt the air and was present and thought how good I felt in that moment, how connected and content I felt, how good it felt to be present in that moment with myself.


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