Clever Wife and I used to live off Broadway on Seattle's Capitol Hill. She for about fifteen years and me for about eight. Most Seattlites, who live outside the neighborhood, think of it as "the gay district." Those of us who lived in the neighborhood thought of it as "the gay district," but also "home." Broadway is a young neighborhood and we are no longer young. The Fourth of July is one of the main things that finally made us realize our age and decide that it was time to move on. Okay, there was a crappy landlord involved, but that is a different story, for a different time.
On Capitol Hill, the Fourth is complicated by the presence of the Gay Pride parade the weekend before. The GP parade is a huge affair attended by thousands of spectators, local politicians, and religious right protesters. The parties for GP begin on Wednesday or Thursday and continue well into the next week. At that point, Independence Day barbecues by patriotic homosexuals (and the rest of us) start. Then comes the Fourth. After the Fourth our young neighbors would wake up each afternoon and notice that they still had some fireworks and beer left and spend the evening trying to destroy both. We older neighbors, straight and not, wold try to tell ourselves that it was only two--well, sometimes three--weeks out of the year and the sense of community and a walkable neighborhood made it worth the sacrifice. I called the general ambiance "Wedding Day in Beirut."
Sometimes, I miss Capitol Hill. Tonight is not one of those nights.