After I posted the update about Seaside yesterday, I completely forgot to mention the fact that I had a near-death experience two days ago.
Okay, maybe not a “near-death,” but a “near-horrendous-burn” experience.
Actually, I’ll talk about all the fireworks I saw in the last 3 days. We’ve been going to Emerald Downs on the 3rd for the last ten years (I think), and that’s the one day of the year that I’m surrounded by white trash by choice. This year, however, my Uncle came with us, and my mom actually had something she needed to accomplish. She and her best friend from high school, Keith, are planning their 30-year high school reunion, and they’re holding it at Emerald Downs, because what better place for Thomas Jefferson High School graduates to hang out than the horse races? That’s what I thought.
But I’m not sure if the whole event has gotten exponentially more lame as the years have gone by, or if I’m just become more of a snob. It’s probably the latter, but the former looks quite likely too. You see, every year, following the last race on the 3rd, a cover band plays for an hour or so before it gets dark enough to shoot off a shit ton of fireworks. A few years ago, they had an all-girl AC/DC cover band called Hell’s Belles, who were pretty cool, but every other year, it’s been the Beatniks, a random cover band that plays whatever the hell they want. And I swear that they used to be cooler. They used to play Beatles stuff, some Beach Boys, and other 60s rock. But now, they migrated south, metaphorically speaking. It was all Mellencamp and Skynyrd-like stuff. It’s like they’ve given into the wishes of usual crowd of the horse races – rednecks. Not that I have anything really against Mellencamp or Skynyrd, but they have a distinct twang to their music, and the Beatniks didn’t used to rock with a twang. Courtney and I were the only ones at one point that were “dancing” over by the band, and I couldn’t help but notice the smell of body odor, strong cigarettes, and the sight of overweight women who were seemingly oblivious to how ridiculous their rolls looked in the unattractive tanks shaking everywhere like a drunken chimp.
And I fully realize how much of a snob I sound like right now. I’m not putting myself on a high horse – I feel like I can look ridiculous at times, and I know I have rolls, but I feel like I’m a lot more cultured than the people I was temporarily adjacent too. I feel like I’m cooler than those people. At least I think. And what was the funniest part was how apeshit everyone went when the Beatniks started playing Sweet Home Alabama. They were taking requests, and I can just imagine that everyone was like “Skynyrd!” We’re in Auburn, WA. How southern can you be?
Then came the fireworks. And as my Uncle Gary said, “I wonder what aliens will think when they look down on us and see how we react to fireworks? Like ‘hey, they really like shiny things.'” At least some people do. First of all – I don’t know who picks the songs to play during the fireworks. It was Final Countdown by Europe, Viva La Vida, some random patriotic songs, Time of My Life by David Cook, and another patriotic song. Are they trying to make us feel warm and fuzzy and touched? Like an epic final scene in a bad 90s action/love story? They might as well play Aerosmith and Celine Dion simultaneously. But there was this woman dancing a few yards away from us, and she was clapping, throwing her hands in the air, at one point tripped over a cooler and fell, and got right back up and danced. All by herself. And other people clapped and cheered. It’s not like there’s going to be an encore. The fireworks guys aren’t going to say behind the cloud of smoke, “dudes, they want more! We gotta find some more shit to blow up!”
Oh, how rednecks amuse me so. I’ve just realized the absurdity of the appeal of fireworks. At least the appeal of watching fireworks. I, personally find setting off fireworks more exhilarating. Coming in very close contact with green sparks just give me goosebumps, as well as make me run faster than a jack rabbit to the other side of the house, away from the stray colorful, fiery plumes.
On the fourth, I had nothing to do because Mom took my car, and Libby took her truck to Ruston Way for the street fair. I spent the fourth on Ruston Way last year, but I’d rather not discuss it. Anyway, I went to Michael’s house to hang out with him and Patrick, set off fireworks and play Wii. At first, I wasn’t going to stay for any fireworks because I thought I’d have to stay home with the dogs, as Millie is scared shitless of any kind of explosion (come to think of it, that’s the logical response), but Mom was home, and Lucy wasn’t coming over, so I stayed until about 11 to see some fireworks.
Boy, did I see some fireworks. Michael’s soon-to-be stepdad, Dean was setting off the big, illegal fireworks, and his little brother Tyler was setting off the little bottle rocket-sized ones. After a few of the larger and louder fireworks, and sun had pretty much set, Dean set up one of the biggest ones. Can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but it was green. We were all sitting in the driveway, about 9 of us, and 2 dogs, and as the firework goes off, one shoots down the street, one in the yard to the right of us, one in the yard to the left of us, and one RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE DRIVEWAY. Really. It shot underneath the rickety table loaded with about $800 worth of fireworks, and about 3 feet away from my chair, right next to Tank’s (one of the dogs) face. And it exploded, shooting smaller sparks all around the driveway, one right in Tank’s mouth, one on my leg, one on Michael’s mom’s arm, and another across the yard. By this time, Patrick was in the backyard, Michael had ran after his Grandma to the other side of the yard, and Tank instantly ran back into the bushes after the small explosion in his mouth. Surprisingly, I didn’t get any burn marks on my leg, because I surely felt the spark. After a few minutes of looking for Tank, and regaining our composure, someone noticed something glowing from the porch. Lo and behold, another of the sparks shot onto the couch on the porch, setting a bag of old clothes ablaze. Really. It was pretty scary, as Tank was bleeding, it was getting dark, and I was weary of every firework after that.
I left shortly after. Miraculously, I didn’t get lost on the way to or from Michael’s house, because I hadn’t been there in over a year. I watched a few of the fireworks from the Purdy spit as I slowly made my way across it in traffic, and those were the last ones I enjoyed. Dad didn’t buy any, because we weren’t actually doing anything, and we were being thrifty.
That was plenty fireworks for me. At least physical fireworks. I’d listen to Fireworks by Animal Collective all day (that’s where the lyric on my title came from, btw.)