The 4th of July is one of my absolute favorite holidays. Along with Thanksgiving, it's one of the only holidays I have been able to take ownership of as an adult. It's one of the glorious 2nd tier holidays: yes, you have time off. Yes, it's a national holiday and there are some standard accoutrements that go with it (fireworks, barbecue). But when you live far from family and travel budget is limited, the 4th of July is probably not high on the priority list for a trip. Which means....making your own traditions!
I made my traditions in Chicago over the course of a few years living in Ravenswood - I haven't quite found the right Independence Day groove anywhere in California (what the hell is up with the lack of fireworks out here, people?!?!?!), so I always think back to Chicago and my traditions there. My roommates and I would throw a ridiculous party in our apartment in the usually 90 degree heat, no air conditioners in sight. We'd elect a grill master, drink a TON of Budweiser (no Bud Lite allowed), dance our butts off, lay on our rooftop listening to music and watching the sun start to sink low, then we'd make the drunken walk three blocks up our street to Winnemac Park for an annual, family-run, completely illegal firework show that would last until 10 or 11 PM. From there things always got blurry, but I promise you they never got boring.
You know when you try to take photos of fireworks? They're always out of focus, a humid, hazy blur. They're always off-balance, you usually can barely make out what you're seeing, and even though technically the photo might suck it's still exactly what you wanted to capture. That's how those nights always felt.
Happy Independence day, guys.