“Do you want to come downtown?” Marty Martin asked. He and Kayeeeeee were headed down for the 4th of July events all afternoon, along with 495593020404203 other people in town. Events that included “Find a Place to Park” and “Hey, it’s 90! Can YOU Live?”
“Going downtown sounds awful,” I said, because I am a social butterfly. As time goes on, going out in public sounds more and more annoying. Going out when it’s 90 sounds even worse.
Awhile later, Marty M texted me again. “We’re at Mcoul’s, and it’s anything but.” Mcoul’s is a pub. They have outdoor seating. Oh, sign me up! Mcoul’s indeed.
What I did was go to air-conditioned Lowe’s, cause I really know how to throw down, and get a new deadbolt. Happy 4th! We’re independent! My deadbolt had ceased to, you know, turn, which is a problem when you want to, oh, lock the door.
You’ll be stunned to hear that Lowe’s on a holiday was a tad crowded. The 700 people who DIDN’T go downtown were there. I pulled into a space, but as soon as I did, I thought, “Did that guy have his turn signal on to turn into this spot?” Sure enough, when I looked, there was a van with its turn signal on; he’d been waiting. I waved apologetically, as you do, and backed out.
We met up on the way into the store. “Hey, I just wanted to say, there aren’t many good people left in the world, but you’re one of ’em,” he said. “Most people would say, I got my space. Who cares if you were waiting?”
God, would they?
I saw some person on the Facebook just this week who was all, This guy shushed me at the concert! How rude!
Wait. He’s rude?
Anyway, I got my deadbolt, and because I am butch, I put it on when I got home. The phone rang, and it was Ned. “I’m going to walk downtown, then walk around downtown, then walk back. You wanna come with me?”
It’s a 45-minute walk each way downtown from Ned’s. What the fuck is wrong with everybody?
“Ned, that sounds fucking horrible,” I said, and I wonder why I spend holidays alone so often. And just like Marty Martin, he texted me from a bar awhile later. “I had to stop in to get a beer,” Ned said, like that’s such a rarity that he had to explain it. “My shirt is completely soaked.”
I really feel like I was the correct one in my friends’ scenarios yesterday.
At some point, I happened to glance at this card I have from my doctor, and I realized I had an appointment today at 2:30 to discuss my
colonoscopy. They gave me that appointment months ago and I haven’t told my boss about it cause I hadn’t remembered. I already had a dentist appointment Monday and a what’s-this-mole appointment Friday, and who’s sick of me, do you think?
So I decided I’d better take my lunch to work tomorrow and then take the doctor’s appointment as my lunchtime, so my boss doesn’t have to just up and fire me.
This meant I had to head to the grocery store, for something lunchy to take to work.
On the drive to the store, I noticed kids with sparklers in all the yards. I could hear fireworks in the distance, and I could REALLY hear them when I pulled into the store. As I got out of my car, it was like I was strolling through the Civil War. BOOM!
I decided to buy 10 Lean Cuisines for 10 dollars, because sodium and preservatives are an important part of your diet. I also got some Steely Dan food, and as I headed to the checkout with 10 diet TV dinners and a case of cat food, I started to feel distinctly bad.
How single could I be, with my lone checkout on a holiday, no other shoppers for miles, with my TV dinners for one and my cans of cat food? I might as well have shown up there in a robe.
I did the self-checkout, because single single single, and I was really feeling sort of weepy. I’d spent Christmas alone, and Easter alone, and I really shoulda taken someone up on their bowels of hell invitation to head downtown to the hot heaty hot hot crowd for the 4th.
As I left the store, a kid who worked there was out front, looking up.
You could see the fireworks! You could see them clear as day across the parking lot, behind the Steak and Shake, there.
“Oh my god!” I said.
“I know,” said the kid, an extraordinarily handsome one. Like, ought to be in modeling handsome. “I had to work here on Halloween and it was as dead as tonight, but at Halloween we didn’t get any trick or treaters. At least for this holiday, we can see the fireworks.”
BOOM. It was one of those silver sparkly ones that glitter after. Those are my favorite.
“Those are my favorite,” I told Handsome.
Eventually, I sat on the stoop in front of the store with Handsome, his male coworker who wished we had beer, and his female coworker who wished Steak and Shake weren’t in the way. I told them all about the year I had to bartend on the 4th. They figured we’d be dead, so they set me up with the fine shift of 10 to 10, and it was fucking insane in there all day.
When 10 o’clock came and my relief appeared, I took my shift drink to the roof with some other coworkers and we watched the fireworks from there, and it ended up being one of my best 4ths ever.
The grocery store staff and I all stayed till the grand finale. Not one shopper came in the whole time. When it was over, we’d learned each other’s names and ages and I got some inside guff on what it was like to work at that store.
At 10, a kid got dropped off to start his shift. “Hey, Robin,” they all said, as his mom drove away.
That was my cue to leave, so I did.
All I needed was a shift drink and boom. One of the best 4ths ever.