It’s almost the end of June, which means that in Washington, D.C., and, I assume, most other major metropolitan areas, fireworks, in preparation for July Fourth, have been going off for almost an entire month. It’s not uncommon to hear explosives being detonated at all times of day. Just yesterday, at roughly 5:25 a.m., the sound of cherry bombs outside my back window let me know that some folks never sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death. The fireworks over the National Mall don’t have shit on my neighborhood in Congress Heights.
While I can appreciate a good fireworks display, I tend to prefer the more organized, contained, safety-precaution version. On the other hand, some of my neighbors, whom I lovingly refer to as the July Pyrotechnics, don’t give a single solitary fuck about safety. They spend thousands upon thousands of dollars annually, and on July Fourth, my neighborhood looks, sounds and feels like a war zone. Sure, the lights in the sky that literally make it look like the middle of the afternoon for about six hours straight (from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.) are cool, but my house literally shakes for hours on end.
And let’s not forget that somebody blew a hole through my fence last year with a fallen rocket, which would have taken out my window had it not destroyed my fence and changed direction. I know you’re wondering if anybody took responsibility for that; the answer is no. Shit cost me $2,000 to fix. Yay, neighbors. Needless to say, I’m just going to check into a hotel this year for the Fourth because I’m not trying to give my children PTSD.
I know it’s coming and I expect it, and even hesitantly enjoy that my neighborhood is one of those places where the party doesn’t stop. There will be DJs and music blasting all night long because if there’s one thing in the hood folks are willing to spend money on besides fireworks, it’s club-ready PA systems. So while I don’t mind (so much), I do have a question for those of us who live in cities and neighborhoods that are experiencing firework practice: Did the fireworks get louder, more explosive and more obnoxious this year, or what?
In my heart, I know folks are letting off industrial-strength fireworks, but why does it sound as if generators are blowing out hourly? I was standing outside a friend’s house the other day, and an explosion that rivaled, to me, the sound of an exploding building went off, and we were all confused as to what it could be. Like, it’s June, so it’s likely fireworks, but it sounded like thunder mixed with mayhem. We were all confused. And I’ve been hearing that sound all month.
Did some new wave of groundbreaking (literally) fireworks just hit the market and D.C. is the test market, or did everybody get a raise and go for the top-shelf illegal fireworks?
Has anybody else in America noticed an uptick in the violent explosions happening in preparation for July Fourth in the inner cities? I lost a fence last year; should I prepare to lose part of my land this time? Should I have a talk with my neighbors because our back alley is not big enough to support the fireworks displays that occur?
I have no answers to those questions, but I do know that every day, the sound of permanent destruction seems to be getting closer to my house, and I’m not the only one looking around like, “What the fuck just happened?” Even a few of my neighbors have been like, “Um, did y’all hear that? They comin’, y’all.”