The calm before the noise.
We don't have a backyard for grilling, or a porch to hang with bunting, or any interest in personal fireworks, so our 4th will be celebrated quietly. I might use words like "color" and "favor" more than usual, savoring my American accent and the sleek efficiency of American spelling. We will eat things that aren't Marmite. I might look at my neatly folded sweater drawer. Then it's back to the 34 New Yorkers I need to catch up on.
Later, we are invited to a party on one of the tallest private roof decks on Beacon Street, so we will enjoy stellar city and fireworks views, all the while worrying about the cats.
Fireworks terrify them, even Harris and Possum, our bravest boys. They all dash under the bed or the sofa and stay there for hours. Lion seems to suffer the most. He and Toffee often hide behind the printer, in a cramped space that's secure on all sides. There's just enough room for two cats to huddle close together for comfort. We can't reach in to pull them out, but we have another technique.
Lion spends most of his days sleeping there by himself. If we need to feed him when he's back there, we just press the printer's power button and he scrambles out, wild-eyed, as it starts its warm-up racket. I admit I love doing this and should record it — it looks like our black-and-white printer is producing a black-and-white cat.
I tried to warn them about later, but Possum lives in the moment and Harris was skeptical.
The news is full of stories about quiet or even silent fireworks, which don't traumatize pets, wildlife, and people who suffer from the booming. I love the idea but I doubt that most of my fellow residents of this Cradle of Liberty will ever agree to get less bang for their buck (or someone else's — the future of the Boston Pops fireworks is in some doubt since its long-time sponsor is retiring). This town thrives on noise. One of the things I love about winter is being able to keep the windows closed to blasting music, phone conversations, arguments, bad singing, bad whistling, demolition, construction, barking, rattling shopping carts, screaming babies, etc., that we hear at all hours all summer long.
Oh well. At least we Bostonians were in the vanguard as far as gay marriage rights and uncovering the pedophile-priest scandal. We were at the front of the line in passing smoke-free laws, too. Maybe we'll evolve to having quiet fireworks in the next 20 years or so.
The cats involuntarily had a few short practice runs recently, when MIT celebrated the centennial of its move across the Charles with two rounds of fireworks. They all freaked out and hid for hours, but I hope they remember that they survived. We realized that our presence doesn't comfort them in the least. So we needn't feel that guilty for going out but we will, all the same. We will race home as soon as the last boom is over.