...is not meat on a grill. It's the Washington area, gearing up for a week of weather worthy of Hades itself.
It's currently 94F here in DC - and that reading is likely in the shade. For the poor, patriotic bastards (an estimated 500,000 strong - eek!) hunkered down in the direct sun on the National Mall, it's got to feel like it's over 100. I bet the DC paramedics are doing a booming business with heat exhaustion cases today as people wait hours and hours for the festivities to begin.
I've done the 4th of July on the Mall before, but from the relative comfort and safety of the roof garden at the National Air & Space Museum during my time as a Star Wars exhibit volunteer. Gotta say, that *was* pretty damn awesome. But now that I've done it once, I don't have to do it again. The crowds, the traffic, and the heat just add up to an urban nightmare, and - call me a loner loser - watching fireworks in hi-def in my air conditioned living room (on a spine-friendly sofa) gets the thumbs up this year.
Back home in Illinois, I used to love going out to watch the fireworks. There's something very comforting about the sense of small(ish) town community with neighbor-strangers, chilling on blankets and the backs of pick-up trucks, all ooh-ing and aah-ing together over the modest pyrotechnics. Traffic was rarely bad leaving the gathering site, and we were always home in a few minutes to unload the cooler and shake off some grass from the hillside where we'd plopped down to enjoy the display.
But here, it's different. The flag-waving camaraderie dies faster than the dissipating smoke, and it's a massive heat stroke clusterfrak- and a half a tank of gas or a stifling, claustrophobic squishfest on the Metro - just to get out of downtown. Go with God, Mall watchers! I'll have a gin & tonic and raise it in your honor as the John Philip Sousa plays. I'll celebrate the holiday tomorrow with the Sasquatch as we picnic indoors with filet mignon (thank you, Harris Teeter, for marking down the nice steak to cheaper-than-hamburger prices!!), watermelon, and a good flick on the Roku.
Though it's a (federal) holiday for some - including me - Mother Nature is officially heralding Hellish Work Week '10 tomorrow with a 98F scorcher. I return to the office slog on Tuesday, when we're expecting a high of 101F. And kiddies, that does NOT include the heat index. Weatherdudes are saying that should feel like something between 105 - 110F.
Drink up and be merry tonight, DC friends, for Satan himself is ready to put the screws to us for several days in a row. Stay hydrated, slather on the sunscreen, and, for now, happy holidays!!