Wednesday, July 04, 2007


We're being shelled.

We live way south in West Seattle, a block away from White Center, which is not officially part of Seattle or any other city. it's unincorporated King County. Fireworks are illegal and banned for sale in Seattle. Not so in unincorporated parts of town. So our local Safeway (not to mentino the various roadside booths) has been selling fireworks for a week now, and every single explosive device they sold has been steadily exploding outside our window for the past ten hours.

It started before lunch. There are the scree! of bottle rockets, the booms and bangs of small munitions, and occasionally a less familiar sound - a high screaming whine, a deep bass poom!

All day, this has been going on.

I just went out to take out our recycling and I felt like I was under attack. I kept looking around to make sure something wasn't about to explode under my feet or inside my shirt.

There's something sort of desperate about this. I imagine it as an act of defiance, as if the locals were aiming their weaponry directly at their brethren across the border. They are striking a blow for freedom in their sad, desperate, fetid, noxious way. They are rebels, risking the detonation of their fingers and the immolation of their houses and yards for the sake of ... what? Independence? Freedom? Or maybe it's just that little boy instinct of loving to watch something blow up in the sky. They can, the Seattleites can't, and so they do. And do. And do, until their fingers are black and until their socks and their bedrooms stink of gunpowder.

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