Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Today We Are Free

Today we are free. Today, we declared ourselves free (well, not all of us then, but we've been working on the issue for a while, so today, let's cut ourselves some slack, like the SubGenius types do.)

Today we are free, but we cannot get our gasoline free. I ended up being thankful to pay $1.99 plus that stupid 9/10 of a cent per gallon, driving up to Ft. Campbell to hang out with the high school homies and the soon-to-be-deployed-to-Iraq Ethical Atheist, about whose future I am terribly concerned.

Today we are free, but we cannot park for free. It's $10 and a whole lot of hassle to park downtown, because everyone, their mother, and their 2.5 kids had to be on the riverfront to watch the fireworks. It somehow...OK, always...seems unsporting, the way they increase the fee on the nights of national holidays like that, but I don't have a monopoly on parking between Second and Tenth Avenues, so what do I know about the price of eggs in China? I guess milking that extra $3 out of everyone who wishes to peaceably assemble to watch the city's fireworks (because they frown pretty hard on you setting off your own inside Metro) is the American Way.

Today we are free to wander downtown, more so than on other days because Second is reserved for pedestrian traffic, and people jaywalk even more than they usually do in this strange little city. Today, I realized that I am getting old fast, because the sounds of merriment made by people my own age have begun to ring sour to me. I am not yet, however, too old to enjoy watching Patrick ban drunk, obstinate, and incredibly rude Betties from his store, because I will never be too old for that if I live to be a billion -- it's a joy to behold, the drunken Betties realizing they have crossed the line and the sober and indomitable Will of Patrick forcing them out of the store with his sheer disapproval and distaste. Which he is free to do, because this is America, and it's Independence Day.

I could talk about the things that went wrong tonight, but the night didn't, overall, and as I have what might be the positive pregnancy test of a short story percolating, I don't wish to discuss those petty slights which will be corrected later in the week.

I didn't see any fireworks and I didn't salute the flag today, but hell, happy Fourth of July. Here's to America and Americans, who despite their many faults are a charming and childlike people, who will sit on a bridge for five hours over a smelly river to watch fireworks and remember that once upon a time someone founded a country by saying they were sick and tired of the bullshit and weren't, by God, going to take it any more.

One can only hope a little of that spirit is still with us, that the distractions of bread and circuses have not bred it out of us entirely, but all evidence in that direction is hopeful. Happy Independence Day, y'all.


At 9:15 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

ok, don't use pregnancy as a way to sound witty any more. It just comes out with me going WTF while I'm at the office cuz I only caught the words "pregnancy test"

Happy fourth sista' freedom!

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous lady alambil said...

Ditto to GoddessA. I read "postitive pregnancy test" and immeadiately thought "What? Huh? Whose? When? How? WTF, mate?????? Ohhhh...short story...ok...whew."
Although, I really cannot object to the pregnancy metaphor as regards a piece of writing/artwork since I absolutely adore the way Lewis uses it in Till We Have Faces. But still.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

OK, y'all? Are weird. Because if I had the positive pregnancy test of the pee-on-a-stick variety, someone would need to be calling the Pope. Y'all know that.


btw, LadyA, I love you to pieces, but ask me sometime why Till We Have Faces fills me with hate and formless rage.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Special Sauce said...

Ok, my eyes hung on "positive pregnancy test" too. (Damn my eyes!) Heh.

Hooray for bridges, fireworks, and multiple festive occasions to attend. Hooray for Australians, inebriation (in whatever form it comes in), and gettin' your story groove on!

At 6:44 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

You know, ET, I had about 2 seconds where I thought about editing out that metaphor as clumsy, but I liked it somuch I left it in, and it's all anyone noticed. Are we all using the Evelyn Wood method around here?

At 9:14 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

I thought your post was great, fro the record.



See? I wasn't the only one!


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