Day 32: Snakes & Lasers and Stars & Stripes
Note: The Rules & Guidelines for the Yes Quest can be found here.
I've never been a huge fan of celebrating the Original Brexit. I put it right up there with New Years, a hyped up celebration of nothing that generally results in fattening disappointment. When I was small, I hated the the sound of fireworks, along with pretty much any other excessively loud sound, so I never wanted to go watch the fireworks in person. As I got older, I associated the all day barbecues not with merriment, but with sweltering temperatures and gatherings that lasted about four hours too long. In 2001, my father passed away on July 3, which really put a damper on the celebrations for the next decade. When I moved to New York City, my 36 story apartment building was the perfect spot to watch the fireworks over the Hudson, which meant that I could rationalize drinking a bottle of chablis in my father's honor and then wander upstairs in my pjs to watch the fireworks.
In the last few years of my Manhattan life, the fireworks moved to the East River, which was even more perfect because it meant that I didn't even have to leave my eastern facing apartment. I could just sit on my couch, wine in hand, without having to interact with anyone except my dog or the hand picked friends that came over for a casual evening.
This year, I unexpectedly found myself back in the US of A for our annual obnoxious celebration of freedom. While I would have been perfectly happy watching the fireworks on TV, from the comfort of my mother's couch, I decided that it wouldn't be in the spirit of a year of travel (or the Yes Quest) to spend America's birthday in a state of general meh. So, when I found out I was going to be home for the 4th, I nutted up and texted my ex-step brother, party captain and unofficial mayor of South Lake Tahoe. I spent hours in the caverns of Reno malls looking for a red, white & blue bathing suit. I got my ass up at 6:45 am to drive up to Tahoe before the crowds set in. I mentally planned on rowdy yacht day drinking and a 4am bedtime, followed by an hour and a half nap on a hardwood floor. I wrote off productivity for the next day and stocked up on electrolytes and Advil to combat the inevitable hangover.
And then, I showed up to the beach and found ExStepBro napping on a patio table, white linen shirt rustling with the breeze. I quickly learned that he and his crew of 25 had been partying for six days straight. The night before was 80s prom, apparently. And the day before that was Swashbuckler's Regatta, which meant bar-hopping down Tahoe in search of buried treasure. The day before that, a toga pool party at Squaw. Before that, Snakes & Lasers. Apparently all the people involved are a highly respected group of professionals that do thinks like perform surgery and fly planes across the world, but based on the videos I saw, the biggest question that lingers is "how are these people still alive?"
But alive they are! Sort of, if extended naps on the beach in between Rum Runners counts as alive & well.
This actually worked out well for me, though, because professional 30+ year old partiers on day 6 hit the level of enthusiasm that I hit on my peak. ExStepBro and I got breakfast, and by that I mean he slowly made his way through half a egg sandwich while I dipped bacon slices into my Bloody Mary. I helped him clean up his house, which had devolved from a gorgeous Tahoe cabin into a frat house reminiscent of my college days. Later, I worked on my tan and sipped a cocktail while he cleaned his boat. Honestly cleaning and cocktails has always been one of my favorite combinations, so this was quickly turning into one of the best 4th of Julys I'd ever had.
I struck up a long conversation with a soon to be corporate tax lawyer, used half a bottle of sunscreen, ate a few tacos, and eventually ended up on laser-outfitted disco boat that parked itself right under the fireworks display. Happy Birthday, 'Merica. It's amazing how a few fireworks can bring out the patriotism of people who generally spend most of their talking hours bitching about whatever is going on in the political sphere. And by patriotism I mean slow renditions of "America, Fuck Yeah!" while wearing a spandex lizard onesie an chugging Tito's.