It's hard to believe the fourth of July is almost here. I know there's that old chestnut about the years going faster as you get older, but man, this year has really flown. Everyone I know has had an unusually busy June at work, which is maybe why it doesn't quite feel like summer yet. Plus the fourth is one of those weird holidays like Halloween that you can kind of choose to celebrate or ignore, especially when it falls mid-week like this year.
I mean, I don't know your family or anything but it's not a holiday that I'd fly to Texas to celebrate with mine. Usually a friend with a roof has a party, we have a cook out and then watch the fireworks, but this year I haven't heard of anyone who's doing anything really. Probably because who wants to wake up on Thursday and go to work in a house that's just hosted a big old party? Nobody, is who.
Non-family holidays tend to make me of two minds. On the one hand, often when I think about what the holiday is actually commemorating, the prescribed celebration seems kind of inappropriate. Like Memorial Day: is drinking beer and cooking out with friends the best way to remember the soldiers who've died fighting for the country? Or to honor all the people who were killed fighting for fair labor practices in this country, on Labor Day?
Or, not to get into politics here but doesn't it feel kind of odd to have serious doubts about the morality of our current foreign policy and in most respects be upset with what is going on in all three branches of government right now but then because it's Independence Day make little American flag cakes out of strawberries and blueberries and watch fireworks that explode into the letters "USA"? I mean, right?
But then on the other hand, those things are fun and shared days of celebration are a way that such disparate countrymen can feel connected to each other. Also it keeps the years from being just a blur of unrecognizable days. Like it's easier to remember what I was doing last year or the year before on the fourth because of the holiday, but if I try and think back to what I was doing the last week of June 2003, I have no idea. It seems kind of sad to let holidays just skim by unrecognized. That's like people who don't celebrate their birthdays.
Making the effort to slow down and mark the passage of time by having a celebration at certain points throughout the year, every year--even if they're totally arbitrary--seems like an important way to keep time from passing so quickly. Nothing makes the days go by faster than routine, it seems like, so a break from it punctuates things.
Anyway, so chances are that I'll drink some beers and go see some fireworks on Wednesday, and I'll have fun and not really think at all about what I'm celebrating. And that'll be ok.