Amateur Fireworks

I’ve seen fireworks in Boston Harbor from the roof of a harborside condo, in numerous east coast towns in the same night from a Manhattan-bound train, looking down the Pacific Coast from a bluff in Pacific Palisades, even from a posh Paris apartment overlooking the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.

So when our neighbor in Atlanta started his own show a few years ago, I was skeptical. Alex, however, was excited. “Hurry up, let’s go watch!” she exclaimed. I followed her reluctantly, but as soon as I walked onto our front porch I changed my tune. This was a professional-grade show, and we didn’t even have to brave any crowds or fight to find parking.

That was a few years ago, before fireworks were legal in Georgia. The kind of show my neighbor put on then was an anomaly. Now, it’s a warzone out there. And not just for the night of the holiday, but for the nights surrounding it, and random nights throughout the year. It’s so loud for so long, the ghosts of the Civil War are getting PTSD.

I guess it could be worse. Back in LA, my friend from Inglewood used to come up to our house in Woodland Hills on the 4th, not to watch our fireworks, but to get away from the Inglewood-style fireworks, which consisted mostly of shooting bullets in the air.

Alex and I talked about where we could go to get away from all the noise this year, and we really didn’t have an answer—the desert?

When we were young, a sparkler was fun and two sparklers double-fun. We graduated to the occasional firecracker or bottle-rocket. Those bigger M-80’s were an urban myth in my neighborhood.

Now you can pick up major fireworks just about anywhere in town: Target, Kroger, Costco…. I don’t know what direction we’re headed as a society, but I do think there’s an untapped market for earplugs out there. That, or quiet travel destinations.

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