No worries, this is not to be an epic political rant. I will entitle that post differently, to draw you in. Mary and I have spent two cold Fourths, one in Canada and one in Ireland but at least we were on mountains in beautiful places. Another Fourth I recall was the day I arrived in London for my study abroad stint there. I’d have probably ranked that one lowest before today. I arrived jet-lagged and late so that the folks who opened the house for me were just pulling out as I arrived, lugging heavy bags up what seemed an incredibly steep hill. Fortunately, it was in the 60s with a breeze so I wasn’t too uncomfortable. But the house was cold, I was far from home and I was surrounded by people who I wanted to feel humiliation at our great victory but who were just going on about their day as if the loss of the colonies was a minor political scandal in the distant past.

Today just doesn’t seem like the Fourth of July. I’m farther from home and it is about 40 degrees F. The heavy clouds hang just a few hundred feet off the ground and there is a stinging wind from the south. It spits rain constantly and, every now and then, it pours buckets. It is, in short, a pretty typical early January day in a temperate locale. Except it’s July 4.

I have discovered that not one but both of my regular shoes have holes in the soles.

And my plan has been foiled. I had planned to sit at home this morning drinking tea (Mr. Jefferson said nothing about giving up tea, I checked) grading in an attempt to keep the pile from getting out of hand. Perhaps I should hire some Huns? But to do this (grade, not hire Huns), I need my computer (come to think of it, I bet I could use the computer to hire Huns) which I conveniently left in my office last night. It was a bad few minutes until I could get someone here to confirm it was in my office and not lifted on the subway.

Point is, I’m not in an entirely celebratory mood. I could probably cheer myself up with a grilled burger and fireworks but I have no access to a grill and all my Chilean friends obstinately refuse to tell me it’s okay to blow things up. I could, you know. I’m a chemist. So you all have fun. Blow some stuff up and bring your cardiovascular event a few weeks closer. I’m going to go see if I can find hot dog buns anywhere. And turn on my heater.

Happy Birthday, America. Looking forward to seeing you again.

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