I Got Forced To View Fireworks Because of Traffic. Was It Worth It? You Decide.
Yesterday was July 4th. Around 8pm, I was driving home after some errands only to see dozens of police cars pulled over on the left side of the roads with their lights flashing. On the right, I saw dozens of cars pulled over with their lights flashing. Was this the start of a zombie invasion?
No, it turned out there were going to be free town fireworks and I had chosen a bad time to go out.
The traffic got so bad I pulled over and decided to watch the fireworks myself. I found myself on a hill of a golf course with 50 other families. Asian, Indian, White, and Black families were sitting in chairs, decorated with glow sticks.
For an hour, we saw mediocre glimmers of fireworks above the treetops. The fireworks weren’t anything special and the trees blocked a good portion of the fireworks. These were mediocre fireworks that just sparked out the same color and shape almost every time. I even had to crane my neck to see above the people in front of me.
Fireworks had always been something I didn’t really care for. I get bored of them quickly. Perhaps, it’s because I was dragged to a few too many Fireworks displays that were so much hassle to get to and not much bang for your buck.
I was confused why so many families had gone through the stress of traffic, wrangling the kids, paying for glow sticks and foldable chairs — all just to see some very mediocre fireworks — especially when you can go instantly to YouTube and see Fireworks that are 10 times larger, intricate, and more dazzling.
I guess they wanted to share the experience of seeing something with their own eyes with their children for the first time. Or maybe they’re just stuck in the old ways.
Or maybe I’m spoiled from the ridiculously high standard of entertainment the Internet has exposed me to. I’m not completely without empathy though. I UNDERSTAND that fireworks require a lot of man-work, chemistry, regulation-abiding, coordination, and set up to launch into the air to deliver a good show. I respect the work that goes into entertaining us.
As I sat there for the hour, I tried to appreciate the fireworks I was able to see. I tried not to think of the fireworks I saw at Disney World, which were at least three times better than these.
The show concluded with a final symphony of fireworks in rapid-fire. For once, the firework designs and swirls were different. And the pace that they fired off was five times quicker.
I got back in my car and drove closer to home only to find myself stuck in traffic once again. I had approached the heart of the storm. Hundreds of families were walking back to their cars. I was shocked how many people still carved out a whole night to park and see these fireworks.
I totally get it if these were good seats to the fireworks at the White House (or some of these firework shows in China I’ve been hearing about), but I was surprised how so many of them showed up for such a mediocre display. I even saw a few people my age there who seemed to enjoy it.
Maybe I’m just a tough critic.
I’m going to let you come up with your own lesson from this story.
Maybe you’ll conclude that the lesson is that people will go to great lengths for mediocre service or goods if it’s the best and cheapest they can get and they can experience it with their young children together for the first time.
Or maybe you’ll conclude the lesson is that you should always remind yourself to be grateful for what you have because there are always families willing to hustle more than you to get a sliver of what you take for granted.
Or maybe you’ll conclude that there is no lesson to this and it was just an entertaining story.