I am drinking coffee from my tres chic coffee pot, with coffee from a swanky national chain. I sip the sibilant liquid from a hand-made cup bought at an art fair a few years ago. There are many such cups in my cupboard, of all shapes and sizes. Some of them are ugly but I use them anyway. All of them have stories. Many were gifts. They overflow the cupboard and, with some of my china, sit in the extra cabinet by the living room. I have furniture- two couches!- and a television set which goes unused except for the occasional Tae Bo dvd or an episode of Fringe. One kitchen table and one dining room table, side chairs...the list goes on. All of them collect dust lately as I have been staying in Tulsa with my husband while he works during the week.
Three bedrooms (two plus an office). One room mate. Huge backyard and side yard. Small front yard, thankfully. Plants everywhere. They stay outside during the summer and inside in the winter. Improves air quality as long as I don't let the soil get moldy. This year is container gardening year. I pay a guy to come mow when I don't have the time, since I certainly do not have the interest.
At the Tulsa apartment, I get up early and have coffee with my husband. I go for a walk before the temperature gets too high. Then I get in one of the three swimming pools and have a swim. If I have gone out too late, I can work out in the fitness room. Then I read for awhile and take care of errands. I'm a teacher and it is summer. I am resting, reading, readying for the fall, steadying my nerves at the outrageous turns in education in the United States. Some days I do my morning routine and then drive to Oklahoma City to teach my English class. I love those students at OSU-OKC; I have but 15 attendees and I have the time and leisure to focus attention on just them. Better than the 200 students I had in the Spring.
At home in Norman, there is a cadre of cleansing, beautifying and moisturizing products. I'm almost 40 and moisture is (apparently) the name of the game. Don't want my face to look craggy or wrinkled or my legs to get hairy or my armpits to smell or my hair to get frizzy. So head to toe, I have stuff in those cabinets to "fix" me up. Usually I don't bother.
If I get sick, or if anyone in my family gets sick, or if anyone I know gets sick, I have a small pharmacy of over-the-counter medicines to cure what ails me or them or us. As a younger person, my sisters and I were sick all the time and sometimes medicine was scarce. One of the first things I did when I got a steady job was to make sure I didn't get sick by taking vitamins and such, and that if I did get sick, that I wouldn't be uncomfortable. There is no joy or nobility in suffering from a sore throat or cold. You just make the people around you miserable.
In my town there will be revelry. I went to dinner at a wonderful restaurant last night in Oklahoma City. My cousin and I met, had a sort of yucky beer which I did not finish and at tapas and dulce de leche ice cream, then visited a coffee shop for iced tea. We overheard a couple of Sheriff's discussing the coming holiday with our server. "Is it going to be crazy tonight?", she asked. "Yeah, it's going to be worse tonight than tomorrow night when the fireworks start." Partying, alcohol, ice cream, fireworks. Independence.
All of this is possible because I live in the United States. Between Grey and I we can reasonably stay afloat for awhile with two houses and all of the accumulated shit that goes with them. We are lucky to be middle class in an era of the shrinking middle class. I am lucky to live as I do while lots and lots of people do not have reliable water supplies, electricity or plumbing in our same country. I live comfortably with air conditioning while homelessness skyrockets and people I often converse with live on the streets.
Above all, I sit at my computer and type out my life, argue with conservatives about political issues and postulate and attempt to convince while others quietly serve in our military and offer themselves up as fighters should we need them to remain a "free" country. Our military men and women have long upheld this selfless tradition of volunteerism, of sacrifice, beginning with the George Washington crew in 1776. It is not comfortable to serve, either. There is never a convenient location to hold a war or peacekeeping mission. But I can say that the military has mostly had the unswerving support of the American people.
Well, almost. Let's not forget the whole Vietnam War thing where we behaved abominably towards our servicemen, who didn't volunteer in the first place.
Today, I'm going to skip the fireworks. I'm going to the farmer's market here to support local gardeners, then having lunch with my friend Jenni. Later I will work on thank you notes for the tons of wedding gifts. I will find time to thank people I know and love and don't love who serve in the military and thank them and their families for their service.
Happy Independence Day.