We've spent July 4th together for the past 11 years. Some years we were with family or friends, some we spent moving (several years, actually - we have a stupid, stupid habit of moving in the middle of heat waves. Once, we spent a very hot night in a Walmart parking lot in the UHaul cab because all of the hotels within 200 miles were full of 4th of July travelers). Some, I can't even remember.
Our first 4th of July together (definitely one of the most memorable) was in Rome, with my roommate and B’s friend. We were good tourists during the day - meaning we didn’t see any attractions, and, instead, spent the day walking around, sitting at cafés drinking coffee and smoking. Do as the Romans do, right?
That night was a different story. It started with us trying to crash a wedding (we wandered in by accident - and crashing it didn’t work out in our jeans, cargo pants, tank tops, and Tevas), then catching the last train from the last station back into town after walking a couple of miles to get there, and ended with us running down a freeway in the dark.
After getting back into the city from our failed wedding crashing attempt (how we even got out there is another story), we were looking for a club by following a map B’s friend had picked up from McDonald’s (he had a thing for their fish sandwiches that summer). The map was the worst navigational tool I have ever tried to use; it even did a bad job of showing us where all the McDonald’s in the city were. We can’t remember the thought process (of all four of us!) that led us down a freeway late at night - and we were all sober! It must have been a good idea if all four of us, sober, thought it was?
My roommate refused to go further after we had just run down a tunnel trying to time oncoming traffic (no sidewalk) only to get to the other side to climb up a bushy hill (still not knowing exactly where we were going and what was on the other side of the hill). This wasn’t a freeway in our US sense of the word, but a 4 lane each way road, which might be common in Phoenix, but is a freeway in Rome. And Romans drive a bit more kamikaze like than Phoenicians do. “That’s it,” she said after hearing some rustling in the bushes ahead, “I’m not going up there.” Even the guys lost the courage to keep going. So, we turned around, ran through the tunnel again, and made our way back to the hotel. No club, no 4th of July toasts with cheap (as in inexpensive) Italian wine.
Tomorrow we are planning to hang out, eat burgers and strawberry rhubarb pie w/ vanilla ice cream (all homemade), drink good beer with new friends, and see fireworks over the Atlantic. I don’t anticipate any shenanigans, but, it is Key West. There are at least 6 4th of July events (that I know about) on this 2x7 mile island. And we all know how much I appreciate a reason to celebrate, any reason. So, when in Key West...