Saturday, July 03, 2010

anti-dependent drugs

Every year during Independence Day weekend I sort of feel compelled and obligated to watch the fireworks. Pretty much every year I forget to plan to. I still watch them, but very often I do it alone, which is far more depressing than going to movies and music concerts alone (which I tend to do constantly).

I don't hate watching fireworks, but I certainly find nothing incredibly pleasurable about them, so I should feel fine NOT watching, right? Nope. Unfortunately for every annual event such as fireworks watching, I tend to overly realize that there is a finite number of actual incidents of said events in my lifetime. If I'm lucky, I'll probably be around to experience about 60 Independence Day fireworks shows. I've already seen about 25 of them. At the 60th one I don't want to be with my kids enjoying the sights and saying to them "Wow, this is the first time I've actually enjoyed this."

Since I didn't make any plans with friends (and couldn't really since I was "in the office" until 9:30), I decided to just drive around town observing the various shows as I witnessed them happen. My timing was off though. I witnessed the Midvale show in the mirror.

As the incredibly sad symbolism sinks in I'll go ahead and talk about something else for a moment.

This morning I loaded up the old Shuffle with this year's independent mix. I specifically decided not to go specifically "American" bands, but rather my own kind of "summer night sensation of freedom" (which, when compiling music is obviously different for me than everybody else). Some highlighted artists from the playlist include Erasure, Eurythmics, Zeppelin, Lily Allen, Muse, Queen, OMD, Radiohead, The Smiths, The Ting Tings, Underworld, Yaz and a HUGE chunk of New Order ("Ceremony" is my favorite song in the world right now).

Early on I thought, wow... lots of British acts in this one... on the holiday celebrating our independence from them. Huh.

Why the British? An obvious answer would be that they make better music than we do (or at least that Jon Madsen has that opinion). Perhaps an eager psychoanalyst would say that on the day of independence I'm looking to associate myself with what I've severed myself from. Despite being more independent now than I've ever been in my life, I'm yearning for dependence and it's manifested in my desire to be subjected to King George III once again on this day of all days.

The evening's fireworks show ended quite spectacularly (especially for being alone and not as impressed with fireworks as I was when I was 5). I managed to time the Sugerhouse fireshow as I passed under them on I-80 between 700 and 2300 E. When you've lived in the city for as long as I have you tend to find some really unique gems of activities. The particular process of traveling under the fireworks to this particular show on this particular stretch of road has several unique advancements over the sitting in the park with a blanket method. First of all, you actually travel into the fireworks as they happen. There's a wonderful sense of moving depth. The smokey residue wafts onto the freeway and makes the inside of the car smell like the holiday. Also, of course you're listening to your music -- perhaps even your own independent mix (alternated with Showtunes Saturday Night of course). "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen played during the big fireworks climax. VERY effective. So effective it was that I just HAD to share it.

Anyway, here's to independence, but also here's to British pop music. How about a little of both? Watch/listen to "Freedom '90" by George Michael. It's a good one. It's worthy of Independence (dependence) Day.

P.S. Don't get this song mixed up with "Freedom" by WHAM! Same singer, same title (sorta); but not the same song. Both are actually pretty good though.


Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

Other holidays that are depressing to spend alone: New Year's and birthdays.

I would add Christmas to that list, but I've never spent it alone. I can't be sure.

Your adventure driving "through" a firework show sounds like fun. Rather than setting a goal to plan to watch the fireworks with people next year, maybe you should just plan to invite someone to come with you on your drive through Sugarhouse. I bet you'll both have a better time.

July 04, 2010 7:52 AM  
Blogger jaime said...

I had to talk Scott into going to watch fireworks with me (like you, he's not very much into it). I know I wasn't alone, but holidays are always more fun when your with a big group of friends or maybe we were too far away from the show. I think to get the full impact of firework awesomeness you need to be right below them. Maybe next year we'll try the drive-by thing.

July 06, 2010 1:07 PM  
Blogger Craig Barlow B. said...

This is good stuff, Jon. Very well written. This sounds like the beginning of an interesting biography or contemporary fiction novel.

July 08, 2010 10:59 PM  
Blogger (M)ary said...

I was reading a book by George Eliot (English) and drinking tea on the 4th of July. OOPS!

I don't go out of my way to make plans on the 4th either. I don't like fireworks but I try not to say that often so as to avoid seeming to be unpatriotic. They are too loud and rarely impressive.

I remember driving home late from work a couple years ago a few days before the 4th and fireworks exploded on the horizon and it was lovely, Mostly because it was a surprise.

July 14, 2010 4:59 AM  

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