I almost hesitate to tell you about my weekend plans, lest some American Revolution buff tells me I'm ungrateful and unpatriotic. I'm not either of those things. I vote and donate blood (hey, my veins are blue and my blood is red....how do you like that?). However, I do like English people. And yet, I like religious freedom. I'm somewhat ambivalent about tea but I think Boston and powdered wigs kick ass. I have witnessed ugly American syndrome abroad and briefly wished people would mistake me for Canadian. The feeling passed (not that there's anything wrong with Canada). There's enough nationalistic awesomeness to go around. We can all be proud of where we are from without having to quantify why it's "better" than someplace else. How zen of me.

So I do not have anything against the 4th of July; love it, glad I live here. But what I cannot, for the life of me, understand are fireworks and parades. I absolutely don't get it. And I acknowledge that at least part of the reason is my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Fireworks make a mess, sweaty people gather dirt, I get claustrophobic in crowds, etcetera. If people like doing those things, more power to them. I mean, they probably would see me sitting quietly in my backyard with my eyes closed and wonder "what's up with you lady?" What's up with me is that I don't like fireworks or parades. To me, fireworks look the same every year. It's kind of like knowing the end of the story. I'm always slightly disappointed, especially after the packing up of the car and jockeying for a prime viewing spot (which always seems to be dusty and have litter involved). The ones you light yourselves freak my dog out and leave black marks on your driveway and spent bottle rocket remains in my front yard. I'm not saying that you shouldn't enjoy them, just that they are something so many people seem to enjoy but I cannot bring myself to (kind of like animated movies and ham). I wish I could but I'd rather be reading a book (I'd rather be reading a book than doing lots of things, actually).

OK, parades. Parades? I'm sure that there's a good reason why parades started in the old days, and that reason is mostly that people didn't have TVs or shopping malls. The benefit of parades is doing some hard core people watching. The thing is, you can do that any time without sweaty elbows in your face and fighting for parking. Don't even get me started on horse poop.  I've never watched a parade and said "wow, that was awesome; I'm glad I sat in the sun for 6 hours." If you have a kid in a parade or something, I get it. You are there to watch your kid. Otherwise, I don't really see the appeal. The ROI just isn't there.

I'm not trying to be a grouch. I love barbecue-ing on the 4th weekend and swimming and spending time with friends and eating things that are artificially colored in red and blue. But I heard the news folks this morning start to talk about fireworks this weekend and all I could think is "Oh no, do we have to do this again?"