I am not a Fourth of July type person.
Partly due to the fact that it is always very hot outside, and I do not like hot.
Also, I do not like forced outfit color schemes.
That makes the Fourth of July extremely vexing.
People get all "Where's your love for your country? Are you Canadian or a terrorist?" if you do not wear the required red, white, and blue.
And I have tried navy and white shirt and white shorts alternative every year, (I like that outfit), nobody goes for it.
But the main reason I am not a July 4th fan is because I HATE parades.
I do not want to stand in the hot, listening to the girls be all "We can't see! We should have gotten here earlier, MOM. You always do this, now the evil clown can't throw old candy at us."
And I have to then remind them:
1. They are lucky we are even AT a parade
2. No way are we getting there two hours early to stand in the hot and wait for it to begin
3. Also I have told you before not to take candy from evil clowns.
One reason for this loathing of parades can be traced back to my younger childhood, in which my family would all meet up at this campground area on a bay, and it would be a big party with all sorts of seafood and clams and oysters and other bay products, that part was cool.
But for some reason, the highlight of those days was that when there was a parade or "prelude to Allison burning her hand with a sparkler, every year."
Before the actual parade, a big honking truck-ish vehicle drove all around the campground spraying huge, thick, clouds of noxious, deadly,(surely completely a carcinogen and maybe a hallucinogen) mosquito spray in mass quantities.
(Note: the mosquitos there are HUMONGOUS, but still)
My cousin, my sister, and I would idiotically ride on the back of this mosquito spray truck, inhaling copious quantities of Very Bad Stuff.
(Note: This is before anyone completely realized that stuff was like Agent Orange, and also my cousin and sister are totally not compromised in any way by these fume-inhaling celebrations, so it might just be me.)
I did kind of feel cool that WE got to be the crop-duster mosquito-killer kids, so my parade issue really manifested itself when we moved to a subdivision in the suburbs, in which each neighborhood had its own woodsy name.
Ours was Quail Hill. (no hills, no quails, but that was the name.)
Every year, the various neighborhoods in our subdivision would have a Fourth of July parade, and neighborhoods would do a theme and enter to win Best Neighborhood, or whatever it was.
Somehow this lead to me marching along in a parade (audience filled with classmates ,neighbors, other people who could laugh at me)
dressed up as a birdfeeder (Quail Hill is For the Birds!)
or Hillbilly Jailbait in gingham shirt tied at midriff, jean cutoff shorts, pigtails (Quail Hillbillies!),
and it probably does not need to be said but -
I WANTED TO DIE.
I am an adolescent girl, a foot taller than everyone, my greatest wish is to be a foot shorter, blonde, and named Jill, and I am instead birdfeeder or Ellie Mae Clampet (sp? too lazy to Google).
Once I was able to wrangle myself out of neighborhood pride parade entry, I am still made to participate, so my friend (who is cute and darling and tiny and adorable) and I decorate and ride my family's tandem bike in the Bike Contest portion of the parade.
And there are little kids, all sorts of adorable toddlers, and then here we come, and I am doing my best, but I am up front on the tandem.
And anyone who has ever been in that position realizes very quickly that you are basically rickshaw person, steering and pedaling for both of the tandem duo, and while backseat tandom person is pedalling away all cheerfully, they are NOT actually steering or moving the bike forward with their itty-bitty cute little pedals.
And as we pass the judges on that Hell Parade, they are all "Well, missy, don't you have trouble with your steering. Be careful not to hurt your cute little friend. Good luck, don't wreck, you'll ruin the parade fun.."
So now, retroactively, I say to these judges:
You are lame and mean and I don't see any of you chugging a tandem bike up a hill slowly so you don't squash little kids, plus, who made you judge of this?
I did not agree to that.
I call foul.
This is my early life parade trauma, I have lots more parade hell experience, but I am being summoned away to dress like a Patriot.
And I am not non-Patriot, I actually carried around a leather-bound Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights (separate from my pocket sized Constitution) for many years, am fan, but I am totally positive those guys would not have made me inhale toxins, dress like a birdhouse, or willingly be mocked by gross creepy neighbor people high on their power as Parade Judges.
Happy 4th of July!