So. In terms of things I actually did: We didn't end up going to the party, because it started to rain, and The Lovely Emily and Brett the Vet and I sat around eating homemade ice cream and fudge sauce until figured out what we did want to do. (Valkyrie and Mr. Typo were going to meet us later.) The rain kept coming and going, so we decided to head downtown to the Mellow Mushroom, get a pizza, and maybe try to get a good spot for the fireworks if the rain didn't kill them entirely.
We ended up at a table outside in a damp breeze, which was actually really nice. The three of us then held a vote to decide what toppings we wanted. Now, as you have probably discovered for yourself, pizza toppings are one of the great diplomatic matters of our times. Nobody likes anchovies, yes. That we all agree on. But I don't like mushrooms, and I haven't ever since I was a child, dating back to the day when I was three years old and finally noticed that the sliced, canned mushrooms in Mom's spaghetti sauce looked a lot like severed ears. Look, I don't know. Em was up for pepperoni or sausage, but not both. And so on. Finally, a motion was put forward to try a combination of Italian sausage and fresh--not, in this case, dried--tomatoes. A vote was taken; the motion was passed; and after some filibustering from our waiter, who was a little too mellow, our order was sent on for ratification.
It was a really good pizza.
Em and Brett split a pitcher of Redhook, but I stuck to a Coke, because--well, I was about to blame it on the Sol Azteca Margarita of Doom from Friday night, but I just don't like beer, quite honestly. I like Long Islands and whiskey sours and fuzzy navels and things that taste good, dammit. Ooo, and Cosmos. Shut up.
In the middle of this, the traffic there at the 20th St./12th Ave. intersection, we had a drive-by firecrackering. Seriously, someone just threw a lit string of firecrackers out onto the sidewalk; it sounded like a dozen gunshots, and I nearly had a heart attack, because I compulsively imagine terrible things like hold-ups and carjackings wherever I go anyway.
Once Valkyrie and Mr. Typo showed up, we grabbed some free copies of the Black and White, and used them as impromptu ground-covering on the grubby sidewalk outside the Ruby Tuesday's across the street (which I'm sure the B&W staff will be pleased to hear). The weird thing was, fairly big fireworks would go off here and there, but they were clearly just fireworks people had bought; the city fireworks never start until nine. Usually there's about 15-20 minutes of "patriotic" music (I remember being 12, and even then thinking to myself, "'Born in the U.S.A,' the hell?"). I've never been that into fireworks, maybe because I've never really had a good view of them. We used to stand out on our deck at the Mayfair house and squint up at the treetop skyline in the distance, and every now and then you'd see a peek of color.
Before that, when I was a kid, we'd drive into downtown Homewood and sit on the curb on top of this hill, at the intersection where the funeral home was. If you think that's morbid, consider that the name of the funeral home was John-Rideout. But someone would always bring a radio and turn it on so we could all listen to the musical accompaniment, which might or might not be in time with the fireworks this year. You could see them pretty well on that hill, actually.
I hadn't watched the fireworks in several years; I was behind on the new technological advances in Stuff That Done Blowed Up Real Purty. There were red sparkles that moved in opposite directions, and broad gold swirls like brush pen strokes, even green and magenta smiley faces at the end, and then they let about half the fireworks go all at once in this orgy of color and spark, and it was awesome. And then everyone got up and left--oh, look, there's another drive-by firecrackering--and traffic was hellish, so we took shelter in the Ruby Tuesday's to wait for it to die down.
While we're on the subject, I would like to apologize to the waiter who served us last night. I mean, we behaved ourselves just fine and all, but the place was sort of quiet and we just sat down at a table near the bar once we realized the bar was full, and... I'm not sure we were supposed to do that. I think that section might have been closed off. Oops. And of course, three of us were stuffed with pizza from the restaurant across the street, and the other two had had dinner with their families, and... yeah. We ordered one drink each. And Brett ordered a dessert, which was good. And then Em helped him with it... rather than get one of her own, which was bad (from a restaurant point of view, of course). I left the poor guy two dollars for a four-dollar drink--the Ruby Relaxer, which tasted like the juice in a can of fruit cocktail. I don't know how they got pineapple and coconut and cranberry to taste like the pale, flabby split grapes and diced pears you find captive in a can of Del Monte, but they managed. It was actually pretty good, in a weird, nostalgic way.
(A drink I liked better, which I fortuitously made myself at Em's house earlier in the week: orange vodka in equal parts orange juice and cranberry juice. I don't know if it has a name, but it was good.)
And then we all went back to my house and watched Chappelle's Show until we were too tired to stand each other anymore. This is what it's like to be grown-up, kids. Enjoying your clubbing while you still can.