July 4, 2013, Washington, DC: We’re back home in Washington now for a good stretch, just as many of our neighbors clear out of town for the July 4th holiday and the hot days of mid-summer. I always like being in town for these first few days of July to watch the strange ebb and flow of Washington. On Monday, the officer at the neighborhood police station shows me his pages of requests for visitor parking passes as residents leave and visitors arrive. On Tuesday, my bike route home in front of the Capitol shuts down in preparation for the televised Independence Day concert. Multiple groups of tourists ask me for directions to Union Station or the Metro. Each year, it’s as if we inhabit a movie set before the 4th arrives. We see the band practicing its march by the Capitol reflecting pool and hear the sound checks as we pedal home across a national stage and we wonder if a single local soul will be left in town by morning.
There are, of course, plenty of us who stick around. We smelled their grills last night and heard their backyard chatter as they welcomed friends into their homes from out-of-town. We’ll run into them this morning at the neighborhood parade and at our little fireworks display just far enough off the beaten path that those in town for the big shows won’t even notice.
It’s becoming tradition to stay home for the 4th of July.
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