Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I love most holidays, I do, especially ones that primarily focus on food. This is why, in some ways, I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. Except for the fact that I usually see my family at Christmas and only sometimes see my Dad at Thanksgiving, but not always. But this year, I didn't see my family for any of the winter holidays. I did see my Mom and ErinAlice at Spring Break. And we went to Idaho to see my Dad for Memorial Day.
In spite of all that, I find myself somewhat melancholy this 4th. I'm not a big lover of the fourth, and I don't love the fireworks (especially this year, as I anticipate a Gus freak out), but I find myself a little sad. Maybe it's because last year we got to spend it with Otterbutt and ThirtyOne Flavors and children. (Son was talking about all the fireworks he did last year with "Camme"). Maybe it's because we weren't invited to any barbecues. Maybe it's because I didn't get it together enough to make either potato salad OR any kind of pie.
But really I think it's because I think of the fourth as a holiday that most people spend with their families. And we spent most of it inside trying to stay cool. I did watch some Wimbledon (a family tradition), and we did make some hamburgers with corn and potatoes (everything cooked on the grill, of course).
Maybe it's because I feel somewhat isolated and like a shut-in. I'm not trying to feel sorry for myself, but we don't really have a "group" of friends that we hang out with all the time and would, naturally, spend the Fourth with. We do have friends, but they are all from different groups (cliques?), not really forming a coherent whole. We don't really have people over (except sometimes we do). We don't really go out for drinks with certain people or go to bars (much) or etc, etc, etc.
I guess our social isolation is partly an effect of being a parent (babysitter? What babysitter? Ours is in France). And it's partly an effect of being writers who are trying to write this summer. We haven't been on the phone inviting people over. But partly, I think, it's an effect of the environment where we live. Lots of people here have lived here for a long time and have lots of friends that they have had forever. OR they spend holidays with their families.
I felt this way when I lived in Seattle too. But there, perhaps because I was single and very social, I made friends with other people who had recently moved to Seattle. Once, at a party, I made friends with a whole group of people from Ohio because they were in the kitchen talking and I thought they said "Idaho." I sat on the lap of one of these people, a man named Wheat (not kidding!), in a van on the way home. But that's a story for another post.
I also made friends with a woman who was a customer of mine at Starbucks because she went to College of Idaho. And she was good friends with the only person I knew who went there.
Maybe I just need to start an "I'm from Idaho or a state that sounds like Idaho" club. Or a "we used to have friends but then we had a kid" club. Or "My family's not here, want to have a barbecue?" club. Or "I like to drink pre-made margaritas" club.
I could go on like this for hours.


Nik said...

Hello my clubby friend I miss you. We would be with you if we were there. But I know 100% what you mean. It's either easy--family, obvious, tradition, or it's not--phone calls, decisions, timing, other people's plans, food proclivities and expectations, etc.
The fireworks are still going and all I'm thinking about is Z and Cleo and Box sleeping through them. And the carbon monoxide.
May the winter holidays be more satisfying.

ErinAlice said...

Catchy title by the way. I know where you are coming from except for this year we were invited somewhere but declined because we were having people over but then they couldn't make it so we just did steaks and corn on the grill with a great salad!! It was really too hot to go anywhere so we just swam and sat inside listening to our ipod. The girls were a bit disappointed that we watched fireworks on tv(is that lame??)but we did not have to deal with traffic or crowds or the heat!! Maybe next year. We rather enjoyed ourselves but it would have been nice if my family had been around but the parents are in Europe where I am sure no one is celebrating the fourth!! If I was there I would have joined you--I could belong to several of those clubs but the one I like best is the margarita one. Maybe we could start the we like margarita club. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Try not to get anymore melancholy.

Lisa B. said...

I have always longed for a group of friends; although I have sometimes had such a group, they ended up feeling like a kaleidoscopic effect rather than a coherent whole. Like, the pattern shifts and then there's no more whole. The holiday that makes me feel this the most is New Years. I have a fantasy about New Years that involves a really, really fun party and, preferably, dancing, and I think this hasn't happened since I was, like, seventeen or eighteen. I have historically solved the melancholy of the fourth by hating it.

susansinclair said...

Me, too. It's definitely been one of the big challenges, these past few years--the moving, the unsettledness, getting close to folks who then pack up and move to god knows where. Illinois. Nevada. Kuwait, ferchrissake. I'm forever reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry tries to become friends with a Yankee. Oh, and I get all excited every time I see a Northwest license place, and want to run up and introduce myself...

Counterintuitive said...

Well, if it's any consolation (BTW I always feel a bit weird commenting on your blog as I seem to be the only male commenting, hmm) I'm confident that you and MB have visited more friends in nifty place over the last year or two than my wife and I have in our 15 years of marriage. We seem to be great followers, never leaders, in friendship groups but that means we are also waiters and hopers. Long-term, easy going (like putting together a last minute barbecue on the 4th) kinds of friends are far and few. So very complicated it seems.

This year we were with family for part of the 4th so that helped and then I watched Wimbledon and Venice William's amazing play made me feel quite content.

theorris said...

May I have a pre-made margarita?