Friday, July 1, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why We Don't Love DC on the Fourth of July

Especially if your name is Jimmy Smits.
Let us start by saying we LOVE LOVE LOVE living in our nation's capital. Or near it, anyway.  And, we say it like we're Forrest Gump and if we knew we could run through the Reflecting Pool on the Mall without getting either arrested or a water-borne disease, we'd totally do it.

And look at what is going on just a few miles from our homes:

 "America's national Independence Day celebration will be hosted by Emmy- and Golden Globe Award–winning actor Jimmy Smits*, and will feature unrivaled performances from some of the country's biggest musical names--including Grammy- and Emmy Award–winning actor and musician Steve Martin** with the Steep Canyon Rangers, multi-platinum recording superstar Josh Groban***, Tony-, Emmy-, and Golden Globe–nominated star of stage and screen Matthew Morrison (Glee)****, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks*****, rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard performing with the cast of the Broadway smash hit Million Dollar Quartet, and three-time Tony-nominated Broadway star Kelli O'Hara--all joined by the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly." (from

*Ummmm... Hello hawtness, nice to meet ya.
**Love him. Have you seen his Hymn for Atheists? Hilarious. Genius.
***We have been IN LOVE with him since he sang Kanye's tweets.
****We just passed out. Where's his hotel? Let's go see if we can make him be our new best friend. Wait. That sounded stalkery. Just kidding!
*****No Air! Knows Moonbat Paula personally!
(we're running out of space, but you get the idea)

Even with all this awesomeness and the world's most amazing fireworks, there are very real and compelling reasons neither of us has ever ventured down to the Capitol to celebrate the Fourth of July...

10. It is always hot as balls. And it will rain. Not a good rain, where lightning strikes and the skies turn black and immortals battle because there can be only one and then afterwards it's nice and cool.  It's like a steam bath combined with a baby pool, and its worse after the rain stops.

9. Do you enjoy immense crowds of sweaty people who are confused and grouchy?  Then come on down.

8. Please don't give my kid fireworks. Or teach him how to use a lighter. I'd like him to wake up on the 5th of July with all ten fingers and a full head of hair, thanks.

7. Remember Snowmageddon? When Kate lost her mind, shoved a car in a ditch and possibly committed several felonies during her 14-mile commute home that took eight murthurfurkin hours? Let's just put it this way, if you have any intention of seeing those fireworks on the fourth, you need to start driving NOW.

6. Welcome to the Capitol, now please walk the other way. Roads and sidewalks are blocked off in a manner that makes you think you're participating in a government mass psychology experiment.  Yes, the porta-potty is ten feet in front of you. But its behind the magic yellow tape, so you must walk six blocks in a circle in order to use them. Sorry!

This will cost you $45 on July 4th in DC.
And it may give you Dysentery.

5. Dogs and small children do not find it magical. They find it terrifying.  Kate's dog loses his mind every year.

4. Get ready to see a lot of skin. On a lot of people. On people that maybe you wish you could un-see but you can't.

3. Looking for a cup of coffee? Or snack?  Or stinky, over-used public bathroom? Or bottle of water to stave off heat stroke? TFB. Just call an ambulance - except it can't reach you because the roads are blocked off.

2. July 4th, the Super Bowl and New Years Eve are the three days a year that douchebags feel totally entitled to be as noisy as possible until the wee hours of the morning.  On July 4th, the entire metro area is densely populated with douchebags.  Proceed with caution.

1. You feel the patriotic magic and it is truly amazing and beautiful.  Our city is spectacular. Take it all in.  And then... Stand there and enjoy it for like three more hours because that's how long it takes to walk back to your car.

And, chances are, when you do get back to your car, you'll find a nice, big, fat parking ticket on it.Happy Birthday, America. That'll be $195. 
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. All so true! But even worse for those of us who live within the district lines - there is absolutely No. Law. Enforecement. Guess they're all busy making sure no one sneaks a t-box on to the Mall to worry about the totally anarchy of home fireworks displays going on all over NE Washington. In actual fact the "season" starts around Memorial Day and ends in get ready for nighty street shows to prepare you for the 8 SOLID HOURS of fireworks going off 20 feet from your front door (and yes, outside of the kiddo's window) on the big day.

  2. We went several times before we had children. We took Metro and walked from one of the lesser-known stations. It wasn't bad. When my younger is 10ish we'll probably try it again. Would I take my toddler? Oh hells no.

  3. You guys never fail to give me a smile! Good luck surviving the chaos!

  4. OMG SOOO TRUE! I grew up in Northern VA in one of those suburbs just off of 66. My parents took my sister and I into DC for the fireworks once (I believe I was about 8 years old at the time) - and that was more enough for me! I still remember how awful it was and the fact that on the way home, the line (or should I say, completely unorganized mass mob) for the metro took us about 6 hours. The jostling and pushing to get onto the trains was so bad, I was nearly shoved onto a train without my parents. I'm still surprised nobody was shoved off the platform completely and onto the track! And I'm still scarred by the number of drunk males I saw urinating in public. Yeah, 4th of July fireworks in DC = not a family affair and certainly not G-rated.

  5. It is one of those things I would love to see as I am a sucker for fireworks, but hate heat more than I hate crowds more than I hate rude people and that all trumps seeing those fireworks on the mall. So ... TV it is!

  6. I lived there for 6 years... beyond true.

  7. #9 could also mention the hell that is Metro...even moreso when full of hot confused tourists. And when they get off Metro they don't know which side of the escalator to use!! Can you tell I live here too??!

  8. My hubs has badgered me to take the kids to Chicago for their fireworks (on july 3rd, actually) for YEARS.

    But you see, I grew up there. He grew up where bears gnaw on peoples' cars. I know what it's like to sweat for roughly sixtyhundred hours, milling about, trying not to get lost -- while strangers tap cigarette ash on your head accidentally, and you HOPE that puddle you just stepped in was just warm beer.

    THEN? The fireworks. Which are awesome. But don't listen too closely to all the rednecks swearing over. and. over.

    THEN? Another twohundertythousand hours milling around IN THE DARK with drunken tourists who can't remember where they parked their car (and finally remember they took the Metra), getting back tot he parking garage, where you inhale unsafe amounts of fumes whilst trying to sleep in the back seat. But you can't sleep because your parents are getting into an argument about WHICH WAY TO GO, even though you've gone downtown every weekend for the last zillion years.

    Those happy families they zoom in on (on TV), where the kid (waving a sparkler but not burning his tiny fingers off) is on dad's shoulders, grinning, and the mom is wearing a red-white-and-blue visor, waving a flag? They are actors.

    --kate in MI

  9. Amen. Before Kid we lived six blocks from the Capitol and still never went -- see above re: ridiculous crowds and RAIN. With a toddler, I'm just putting my head down and pretending it's the 4th of some other month.

    Although we have an AWESOME view from our Rosslyn balcony; we tried to invite friends but they're all childless and young and are going to brave the Mall. Chumps. I'm sitting on my deck, not being elbowed by a million sticky smelly tourists, peeing in my own toilet and getting PLASTERED.

    (Hi, newbie here -- can't believe I didn't find you all ages ago, I have been DYING laughing.)

  10. I live in Annapolis. The fireworks there are lovely. The traffic after, not so lovely! I refuse to take the boat out on the 4th because the one year we did it we had to move the boat 17 times due to Coast Guard, DNR, and the local PD telling us where to be (all within 20 feet for a 60 ft boat. Then the anchor chain broke, the anchor is somewhere in the harbor.) And so we sit on the back of the boat, drink our wine, and put the kids to bed.

  11. I worked in Silver Spring three summers in my early 20's, and I always wanted to go. The camp I worked at, however, forbade it, and these are all the reasons why. Since we were being fed and housed for free, we didn't really get to object. The director said that the only way out of the city is in a boat down the Potomac.

  12. HaHaHa, I'm in Saint Louis which is only slightly better, it always rains and my children, who I expect to be awed and amazed by the pretty lights instead become terrified spider monkeys and climb me like a tree, hello? it's 411 degrees out here, stop touching me!

  13. Yup, we live in NOVA and, much as I love DC normally, we're heading for a picnic at a nice park instead. The fourth in Crazytown? Not even for Josh Groban.

  14. My first time to the capital my puppy jumped into the reflecting pool to cool off, I thought it was great. My boyfriend, now hubby, had a conniption fit about getting him out, OUT NOW! Then I got yelled at by some bum in a hawaiian shirt for climbing on a statue for a picture, I told him where to go and my hubby lost it again yelling at me that he was an undercover agent, which I found hard to believe. He didn't take my uncouth southern a$$ back to DC until I was so pregnant that all I could do was waddle and stay out of trouble.

  15. My single days I was in walking distance of the pentagon. Which is a great spot for watching the fireworks. Now will I drive my family in from the far burbs??? Absolutely not!!!! MY girls can experience all the fun in their 20's like I did. I remember a drunk guy barfing in a sardine packed metro one time. It was awful!

  16. When we lived in DC we were only about a 10 minute walk from the Mall, so our 4th experience was wonderful. The only bad thing was the heat, and now I live in TX so that doesn't really compare. Definitely agree with those who talk about tourists and Metro. Walk on the damn left, people!!

  17. You didn't really accurately explain the awfulness of the porta-potties on the Mall on the 4th. That's probably because the English language hasn't invented words for them yet. The experience of using them is a little like peeing in a kiln that has been used to fire pottery made of poop. It's a breathtaking (literally) combination of hot and stink that is actually considered torture under the Geneva conventions.

  18. We used to live in Silver Spring, however, we had the lucky privilege of being tower bell ringers at the National Cathedral and the Old Post Office, so on the 4th of July, we'd come in early for a big party and BBQ, ring the bells, then have a front row view of the fireworks over the city. No crowds, no hassle, and a nice long evening with friends and drinks to finish us off. I actually loved those 4th of Julys best of all. Now we live in small town middle America and walk up the street to our local fireworks. Also awesome.

  19. My husband's aunt lives in Bethesda MD and last year we went down for a visit over the forth and she whisked us into DC to watch the fireworks... there was illegal offramping, illegal parking on grass in between interstates, illegal walking down a freaking freeway WITH MY CHILDREN, and semi-legal standing on a bridge to watch fire works before repeating all the illegal stuff again backwards. I didn't know people in their 60s coupled with a soldier in a huge ass truck became so CRAZY!

  20. we used to live in Shirlington and would park at the Pentagon City Mall parking garage to watch the fireworks. Great view and easy to get out and back home afterwards. It's been quite a few years so I'm not sure if you can still do this or not.

  21. I lived in Woodbridge for a year after college and college friends came down so we could go to the Mall for the 4th. That was 20 years ago now and it sounds like it hasn't changed at all. Not that Philly is any better...

  22. I accidentally deleted comment because my fingers are too stupid and fat. If youposted a comment and now you can't find it... I am sorry! xo, Lydia

  23. So hilarious. How have I been reading for a year and just now realized you live in DC. Or around?
    Living in Vegas, I appreciate all the tourist related ones. Tourists suck. Except us when we are ....
    We are morons and are going to DC on the 9th-14th of July. By then it is no longer hot and humid, right? I am not looking forward to my makeup running off my face in a trail of sweat... I much prefer our Vegas dry heat, like a hair dryer.

  24. redheadmommy76@yahoo.comJuly 1, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    HAHA! Nothing screams America more than a bunch of stinky sweaty assess crammed together to stare at something for "free".

    I live in Texas and I swear all the folks who don't take baths come together yearly for fireworks at Arlington stadium. Fireworks = 10min, waiting to get a parking space, walking to a nice 2ft clearing, and waiting to get let in by Billy Bob on the on ramp = 5 hrs.

    But we still keep going yearly... Why?!

  25. We live in the Woodbridge area and have never been adventurous enough to actually go into DC for the fireworks. The closest we got was watching them from Bolling AFB, and then we got screwed when the wind blew the smoke from the fireworks across the Potomac & obscured our view. As for dealing with the traffic or taking the Metro in with a few hundred thousand of my closest friends (some of whom would be happy to relieve me of my wallet)? Um, that's what WETA is for.

  26. I, too, am a Kate that lives in Annapolis. When I first moved here I thought it would be really neat to go to DC for the 4th. My husband almost died laughing at me. This will be my fifteenth summer here and I've not once braved it. I *have* braved the Annapolis fireworks every year, but it's not as bad as it seems because my hubby always scores a great parking spot. (He's in the band and has to get there ridiculously early.) So he takes all the junk and I just have to get myself and the kiddos to the City Dock. And then after it's over, we go hang out in his office for about half an hour or forty-five minutes before we even try to drive out. All in all, it's not too bad.

  27. kelly i grew up there and it stays hot and humid til early-september then the temperature plummets. lol

  28. Before I started reading this, my first thought was "I did the 4th on the Mall once and had a great time..." but then as I read, I realized you are SOOOO right. No way would I go now....or with my kids....especially from NOVA. Back then I was single (dating my husband), we hit some bars with a big group, made our way to the Mall by foot (he lived near Georgetown and I in Rosslyn), had a great time and I guess I never had to pee, and then back to our neighborhood for more parties. It was hotter than Hades, for sure. All my pictures from that night have me covered in a bright sheen of sweat.
    But it was fun. No way would I, nor could I, do that with my three babes.

    But you know what was a million times worse, crowd-wise, weather-wise, etc? Going to an Inauguration! I went to college down the road in Fredericksburg and came up for Clinton's second Inaug. Holy crowds, Batman! And Brrrrrr! When it was over, we walked along 66--on foot!--to make it back to my friends' Clarendon home. Insanity. I can't begin to imagine how insane Obama's was....and to think I briefly entertained the thought of taking the kids. Hahahahahahahaha.

  29. We lived in Alexandria for 4 years and never attempted to go into DC for the fireworks. All the preparations they make to the GW parkway days before the 4th make it abundantly clear that it's going to be crazy town when the time comes. We now live in Fairfax and still have zero desire to go into DC on the 4th.

  30. #10 – toooooooootally digging (but mildly disappointed that I am the ONLY dork to comment on) the Highlander reference. Christopher Lambert. ::drool::


    I have never (nor will I ever) participate in the DC fireworks/insanity. I live in a suburb of Baltimore that hosts both a parade and fireworks. Even dealing with the “burb jackholes” is bad enough. Our town is prided on folks putting out chairs for the parade nearly TWO WEEKS before the 4th. My dad goes down the *morning* of the 4th to put down blankets to “save” our spot for the afternoon parade. And this past year, jackholes moved our stuff. It’s a sad state that my little dude and dudette can’t enjoy the parade like I did as a kid.




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