July 4th has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. As always, different people celebrate it in different ways: my brother celebrated it with foreigners in a basement club in Sydney, my friend Amy near the wildfire zones of Colorado anguished that there would be no fireworks, and the rest of my family, of course, did absolutely nothing. (At least, if they did, I wasn’t invited.)
For my part, I spent July 3rd (the traditional fireworks date in Columbus) right where I want to be, sitting on the curb on Broad Street by Veteran’s Memorial. As I explained to my odd band of co-celebrators, the lights twinkle and reflect in the glass of the Huntington building across the river. In years past, the police strung up sawhorses and depended on the good order of citizens not to go onto the bridge, since it could be dangerous to stand there. This year, there were chain link fences holding us back and a rumor that the bomb squad would have to sweep the bridge before we could cross it.
So, times have changed, and I find myself uncomfortably in a sober minority of people who take our new reality very seriously. In the last year, I’ve heard many people make tasteless jokes about terrorism, which I just can’t laugh at — because it’s real. I guess, as at funerals and in war, people have to break the tension in one way or another, but some things hit too close to home to say. I call for dignity.
I hope you enjoyed your holiday. The rest of the weekend stretches out ahead…