Sand, Smoke, Debris, and Skin on the Fourth

Cranberry Red Lingering Firework Burst
Two foreground shadows look on at a burst of red fireworks lingering in the sky.

I like walking in the street. In the middle and unabashed. Left foot stepping on the striped dividing line; sometimes yellow other times white. Then the right foot. An action to show that I’m wild or going against the grain or not paying attention. A bit of defiance. To publicly show that I think differently. That I am different. To have people follow my lead. They respect me and are curious and while they don’t say anything within them they carry an appreciation of my showing them that they too can walk in the street and be one of the first so others can see them and have others follow their lead until it is those who do not walk in the street that are the few. See this, see me, look at my flexed calves and my funny Birkenstocks. This street; I walk on it. The entire length of it is mine. And I will return one year from today to claim this street again. Remember me.

On the Fourth of July I do walk on the street and over a bridge. Fireworks are lit at 9:05PM. Arriving with an hour until then means parking about a mile away and walking to the beach. East bound traffic is closed.

Fireworks bright white light illuminates the audience.
The audience and smoke illuminated by a blast of bright white light.

Some groups of people, it becomes obvious, have been at the beach all day. The crowd thickened the closer to the water so we claim our spot behind the volleyball court while a few clearly non-volleyball players have fun with an grapefruit like under-inflated ball.

More people arrive and claim their viewing places around us including directly in front. The first pop and burst of gun powder like clockwork. The night turned into a masquerade. Shadows moving and exposed by the light – red, green, white, blue, purple. The oil on the skin reflected. At first I noticed the long full hair. Then I noticed the wonderful breasts with the assistance of the helpful light. Plush. As she crossed from the right out in front of me another crackle and burst touched the thin layer of oil on both rear checks; a full reveal. Suddenly the shadow was no more a shadow but blended into the night. I titled my neck to return my sights to the pier and then to the sky.

The fireworks were 3-D. Either the fireworks were so powerful or we were so close to them that each bang and pop and burst rained little paper pieces of the fireworks. The debris landed on in my hair, shirt, and legs.

The mile walk back was more crowded than the same walk an hour before. Reached the car at 10:00pm exactly and had driven well away from the crowd easily without traffic by 10:11pm. Away from the sand, smoke, debris, and skin.

Return of the GDR Stasi: You And The NSA. Congrats!

Archie’s birthday is next Friday. John, bring the soda pop. Nancy, don’t forget to place the  personalized cake on order. Any decorating volunteers? Um, ok Tracy. It’s yours. And Timothy, you’ve got to keep Archie away until around 7pm. Watch for a text from me. I’ll let you know when things are clear to bring him home. Yes, bring Archie home.

Surprises are great. The more unlikely, the better the surprise. The more secret, equally better the surprise. To watch it all and know it all and be involved in it all. Nothing will surprise you, but just wait for the surprise you’ll give them! Fun isn’t it. To see, but not be seen. To hear, but not be heard. Like the joy of successfully hiding behind the door or beneath blankets. Holding in your excitement and the few giggles that might escape like an air bubble leaving your mouth underwater. Not be noticed or caught when you intend makes anyone giddy. You’ve pulled the wool over someone’s eyes and maybe even used it to you manipulative advantage. The rush is tremendous with a bit invincibility.

Look at us. Nearly everything we enjoy involves silent participation. Quietly observing and judging all before us. The mass media of movies and television shows. The radio! We’re passive participants watching, listening to the lives of others. Enjoy it we do. Again and again. Rather addicting is the feeling of knowing something the other doesn’t – along the lines of asymmetrical information. And so I wonder have we all become a hipster version of the Stasi of East Germany? Strong comparison perhaps. What’s so very interesting about passively following others through their day-to-days and thinking it is normal? And then when it’s revealed that someone – the NSA – has been using us as their entertainment it now becomes wrong. No, illegal. But of course, one is entertainment and other is real life though the fundamental act is no different.

These thoughts formulated after re-watching The Lives of Others. A well deserved round of applause with a hearty pat on the back delivered with a smile. This goes out to you society, the American public, for being so righteous and dishonest with yourselves. Who are you, really?