My lack of the flag-waving gene notwithstanding, yesterday evening we had our own little Independence Day dinner–open-faced chicken barbecue sandwiches with onions and cole slaw, french fries, and salad–and then went out to watch the fireworks. I have to admit to some grousing about the latter, since I didn’t really want to go, but it was clear that Jeff did but at the same time wouldn’t go on his own. I generally end up thinking that putting up with the high heat and humidity, crowds and insane travel times doesn’t really measure up against a mere twenty minutes of fireworks, and so end up usually just watching the display on television. However, once we were actually out–we just drove over to the shopping center at Pentagon City, about a mile and a half away, and watched the fireworks from the parking garage, which has an excellent view of the Pentagon and Washington Monument–it really wasn’t that bad; we were together, after all, which is the important thing, we had a good spot from which to see the display, we were relatively close to home, and I also had my camera with me and could focus on the photographic possibilities of the experience. We weren’t in a good location to use the tripod, but I was able to balance the camera body on the parking garage wall and the end of the lens on my prone hand. Altogether I took over 170 shots, and I’ve uploaded a selection (just sixteen so far) to Flickr.
Because we didn’t go downtown or over to the river, traffic wasn’t as horrible as I remember, though it still pissed me off. I’d checked and double-checked the postings of road closings on the Arlington County web site, but at the last minute they must have made some changes. While Columbia Pike was supposed to be closed east of Joyce Street to the Pentagon, when the fireworks ended and we headed up Joyce Street from the mall, intending to turn left–west–on Columbia Pike, they weren’t permitting traffic to turn that direction, instead routing us down toward the Pentagon and onto I-395 South. When our two lanes went down to one, and the woman beside me decided she was too important to honor the alternate merging that was taking place, I completely lost my temper, and Jeff got to hear me lobbing some choice words–and a particular finger–in her direction, not that it helped or made any difference. Thirty-five minutes later, we had made it back to the condo, for an overall average of slightly less than 2 mph.
All in all, though, I’m glad now that we went, and I regret that I was a little sullen and bitchy about the whole thing. Next year, though, we’ll walk down the Pike to the hills overlooking the Pentagon and watch them from there, and not have to deal with the traffic at all (well, except as pedestrians trying not to get smooshed).