Fireworks fit roughly into the same category as famous tourist attractions for me. I never think they will be interesting, and even go out of my way to avoid them. Occasionally I do get roped into seeing them, however, and then I wonder what the hell I was thinking, because they tend to be wonderful. When, as a twelfth-grader in Paris who thought she knew everything and was too cool for most of it, I was dragged reluctantly to the Eiffel Tower–which I knew would be touristy and lame, and besides, I had seen a million pictures–I couldn’t believe how dwarfingly gorgeous it was. Way beyond what a picture could convey. (I preferred being on the ground, gazing up, to being on top looking down, though).
This recurring subplot of my life recurred again last night, when I went with a gaggle of friends to see the league-leading Chicago White Sox play Seattle (on what had to be the nicest evening of this year or any other to attend a ball game). Win or lose, the Sox show fireworks after the game on Saturday nights. Sometimes I can hear them from my South Side apartment.
Last night’s game chugged along at a brisk pace. Around the seventh inning, I remembered about the obligatory fireworks and groaned silently to myself. So mundane. So tiresome. Hopefully my friends wouldn’t want to stick around. Seen one fireworks display, seen ’em all.
That’s as may be, but some experiences don’t depend on novelty. Five seconds into it, I was rapt. By the end I was grinning like an idiot. Next time fireworks are in the offing I’ll roll my eyes and groan–and with any luck, someone will tell me to sit down, shut up, and enjoy the spectacle.