Two Days

July 4th

For the past three years, I’ve been only peripherally of aware of the fourth of July passing; marking the date but not really feeling a sense of lacking. It is similar to the way that now I always think of midsommar and buy strawberries around the 25th week of the year. Last year I started the fourth on nightshift and subsequently dozed off in the Higgs announcement talks.  But that’s not what it should be…right? The Fourth should be about decorating your bike or jumping in the ocean or river or lighting off Roman candles or racing old mares through alfalfa fields. I had nearly forgotten!

Today is July 4th, and in fact I had forgotten that in the US, this is actually kind of a big deal. On College Avenue people are wandering idly about looking for open coffee shops, appearing at the entrance of Safeway with beer and watermelons in tow, and pulling small children about in wagons. On Frat row, girls are running around in sequined American-flag bikinis as shirtless, blindingly white frat boys belch complements from overlooking balconies. Later, at the Marina, what seems like the entire population of Berkeley is migrating by foot en masse over a temporarily closed-to-cars overpass to view fireworks on the Bay. While the fireworks themselves pale in comparison to the simply unbelievable spectacle put on by the city of Geneva each August (I think most normal fireworks will simply always seem boring to me now), the people-watching at the Berkeley show is non pareil.

July 5th

One of the coolest people I know (and one of this blog’s long-time biggest fans) is getting married today.

As I sit in the audience, I realize that this is effectively the first wedding I’ve been to at which I will not have to sit at the “Kids’ Table.” Possibly this is yet another indicator of the startling fact that I’m technically an adult now, but really, I’ve only ever been to a wedding as either a child myself–oblivious–or as a semi-hired babysitter. Back then it hardly mattered: When you’re young, you don’t really understand what a wedding is for. All you know is that you are wearing a dress and will have to sit still for a long, long time before the cake.

I’m still not sure I understand what a wedding is for, but as I’m no longer at the kid’s table I fear I have no excuse. When the officient (ordained by no fewer than six internet churches!)  announces my friend’s name, she appears behind the quietly awaiting guests. She walks confidently, briskly down the aisle–a picture of calm–so beautiful and so joyful I can’t help but break into a smile and choke up at once. Aha, I think. This is what a wedding is for.

And for the record, the cake was phenomenal.

Congratulations yet again, if you’re reading!


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