Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th

I wish you and yours a Happy 4th of July. I hope you have a great time celebrating our country's independence and the liberties and freedoms it brought us. Among other things, we never have to pretend to like rugby, cricket, kippers, or Marmite. We never have bow and curtsey to royals. We don't have to add useless vowels to our words, wear "jumpers," or drive on the wrong side of the road. And most blessed of all, we don't have to talk with British accents. Having had my fill of English actors when I was training and performing (back in the Pleistocene Era), I'm immune to the appeal — unlike most New Englanders who swoon whenever a Brit opens his mouth. (Well, a Scot can still charm me. And a fine Irish brogue.)


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.

2 comments:

  1. Silent fireworks! Now there's a grand idea! We have 2 dogs & 2 cats ~ windows will be closed & AC running tonight.....hoping they stay fairly calm with all the noise. Your kitties are just the sweetest! Enjoy your Fourth of July!
    Maureen

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for writing, Maureen! Before we went out, we also closed windows and put our window AC on its "roar" setting, hoping it would block some of the noise. At least the cats were cool in their hiding spots!

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