INDEPENDENCE DAY

Wednesday. July 4th. Jess, Ari and I were going to go to Georgetown Cupcakes at 10am and get free cupcakes. No one woke up in time (except for me and I was TIRED). After finally getting our shit together, Jess and I headed down to Coney Island. I was misinformed that the hot dog eating context started at 3, so getting there at 1 I thought we had plenty of time to meander and watch. Unfortunately, someone on the world wide web mismarked the time… Jess and I had probably missed the contest by 10 minutes.

We walked through the rides and saw a bunch of little shops, etc. We saw Nathan’s and walked past the stage and bleachers for the contest. We walked the boardwalk (ummm crazy guy sitting in a free-standing bathtub?) and then out to the edge of the pier, where we looked out upon hundreds and hundreds of rainbow umbrellas and hundreds—maybe thousands—of little, tiny, ant-like people swimming. I spoke to my parents on the phone, who were on their way to see “Ted”. We walked back and decided to ride a roller coaster. The entire time we were in line, we were trying to decide if it was safe to leave our valuables in the cubbies. We really had no other option other than to pawn our ride vouchers off on someone and abandon the roller coaster altogether. Instead, we trusted the cubbies and got on the ride.

And waited.

We were standing (it was one of those rides that leans you on your stomach) for a very long time. Five minutes, at least. They were testing the ride, and we were next. Finally, after our flip flops had given us near-rope burn and the straps had worn into our shoulders, we were flying around above everyone. It was jerky, but it was fun.

When we got off, we looked ahead. No other carts had been allowed to go. No one had boarded the roller coaster behind us. Maintenance guys were waiting to fix it. They had used us as test dummies on a God-knows-how-old ride. That made me want to throw up a bit, but I did not.

After our near-death experience (yeah, I am allowed to be dramatic about it), we walked over to Nathan’s and stood in line so I could get the full Coney Island experience. I got a Nathan’s hot dog and an orangeade to quench my thirst, and Jess got a diet coke and fried clams (really, ridiculously good). We sat on the boardwalk by some dirty hipsters and enjoyed our meals, watching crazy people walk past us. Then someone got carried away on a stretcher held by maybe seven men in swim trunks. It was odd. I hope he’s okay.

After we ate, we walked around the vendors for a bit and Jess tried to get me to have a psychic reading. Thankfully, there were too many people. So we walked some more and then walked left on the boardwalk, away from the people, for quite some time in that scorching sun. We found another subway stop further north, and got on to go back.

On the second stop, a woman and her son got on. This fiery little ginger one just started talking to me. “Do you know how to get to La Guardia from here?” “Take the subway and then the bus.” “How far?” “I don’t know.” “How long?” “Probably a little over an hour.” “We got to La Guardia a lot.” Then why don’t you know how long? “We are going to Miami. We go there a lot. My dad is there. We are going to watch the fireworks from the plane. I hope we don’t blow up.” “I think you’re up too high to blow up.” “Why?” “Because planes go higher than fireworks.” “Will we be higher than the clouds?” “Yeah, you could be.” “We will be. We always are. It’s fun.” Then why did you ask me if you’d be higher than the clouds? “I like your dress.” “Thanks.” It’s a shirt and jean shorts, you idiot. “I have a bike in Miami. I like to ride it a lot.” “What color is your bike?” “Blue.” “Is blue your favorite color?” “Yeah. Not always though.” “What did it used to be?” Glances at my shirt “Red. I like red.” “Oh, good.” “What month is it?” “July.” “What day is it?” “The 4th.” “Yeah. It’s Independence Day!” Then why did you ask me? “My birthday is August 6th.” “Oh it’s coming up! Are you excited?” “Yeah. I’m going to be six.” “That’s awesome!”

…That conversation just went on and on and on. His mom kept looking at me apologetically, but I kind of related to him. I have a big mouth, too. You can ask my parents.

After awhile, his mom made him move down the car to sit down, and around that time two spots opened up on a bench for Jess and I. We spent the rest of the ride in silence, reading our books. We got off at 59th and went into Bloomingdale’s for Jess to make a “quick stop”. She got mascara. She got foundation. We were on our way out when she decided she needed to shop. I got annoyed, but I assume it was from the heat and the sunburn I was acquiring on my shoulders. I acquiesced to her request and followed her around with her purse while she bought items that each cost as much as I spend on groceries in two months.

We stopped by Urban Outfitters on our escape from Bloomingdale’s, and I bought a new shirt. I was rather pleased with that sale purchase. We got home, showered, and then she cooked hot dogs (not really—no meat in them), we made salads, I baked biscuits, she made Arnold Palmers, and we devoured our meals. This was all washed down with strawberry shortcakes (red, white and blue style) and vodka margaritas (No tequila? No problem!). Then we treated ourselves to our third movie, “Young Adult”. It was a rather relaxing end to our incredibly hectic day.

Jess is going to see Alvi in Boston.

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