Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

July 4 stuff

I was thinking on the 4th of July about how I have this proclivity to write about what happens on the 4th of July, even though it’s not stuff about hot dog eating contents and apple pie and going to fireworks shows and wearing clothes made out of flags and whatever else. I’ve already written about this too much, but I’m bored, so here’s more.

The above picture is from 2002, when I flew from New York to Las Vegas, stayed at I think three? four? different hotels, and drove to Colorado in the middle of that. On the first night, I stayed at the Hacienda — not the old, classic one, but the hotel in Boulder City that’s now called the Hoover Dam Lodge. Horrible hotel. I got there late at night, and there was zero food to eat at the place. Passed out, woke up, tried to take a shower, and raw sewage started coming out of the drain. Drove to Colorado, got a speeding ticket in Arizona, and saw that giant asteroid hole in the ground. Stayed in Alamosa at a bad motel across the street from an AM radio station, and any time I picked up the phone, I could hear ranchero music on the line. Spent some time at the land, drove back to Vegas early, and ended up at the now-demolished Tropicana. I remember going out to see the fireworks and it was like 107 degrees at night and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder in this crowd in front of the MGM and looked over and saw someone who looked exactly like my ex-girlfriend from 1992. The other memory of that trip is that Rumored to Exist was waiting for final approval for production, and I think I got the email that week while I was gone.

In 2015, I had a solo trip to Vegas, although I was flying back on the actual 4th. It was even more hot on that trip, like 112 degrees out in the day. This was the trip where I put a case of Coke Zero in the trunk of my car at like 10am, and at noon, they all exploded. I got back to the hotel at like 5 and everything had evaporated. I stayed in the Hooters hotel, which was obviously a mistake. Interesting inflection point on a really bad and strange year, though.

I have a bizarre bathroom mirror selfie I won’t post from 7/4/20 where it looks like I haven’t had a haircut all year, which was true. I also for whatever reason went to Stoneridge Mall, probably for the air conditioning. I took a bunch of pictures of the recently closed Nordstrom. I can’t even remember the last time I went to that mall. I don’t even know if it’s still open. I think the last time I set foot in a mall was in Vietnam. (Once again, air conditioning.)

I just realized that next July 4 will mark 30 years since I left Indiana forever. I did the math the other day and next year also makes California the state I’ve lived in longest. I lived in Indiana for a total of 17 years, and I moved here in 2008, so, math.

In 2006, we went to Coney Island, which was probably not the best idea, because it was absolutely slammed with people. I remember hiding out in a McDonald’s watching the Space Shuttle launch, and this guy was filling a gigantic Igloo cooler with ice from the McDonald’s Coke machine, a cup at a time. I also remember meeting Sean Maloney, who was running for New York AG. He shook my hand and I had no idea who he was, except that it was like a hundred degrees out and he was wearing suit pants and an oxford dress shirt rolled up to mid-forearm like he was a tax accountant about to give a speech on fiscal policy.

In 2007, I went to an insane Rockies-Mets game in Denver. Highlights included the game going completely lopsided, like the Rockies were ahead by 167 runs. And also the giant purple dinosaur mascot slingshotted a t-shirt into the stands and it landed right into my fucking knee, which was injured and in a brace. For a long time, the Rockies had this habit of completely blowing out July 4 games, although now they are one of the worst teams in the sport, so I haven’t even paid attention this year.

All the other usuals come back to me. 1992, selling glowsticks, see also Summer Rain. 1991, Chicago with my ex, car broke, etc. It’s in the other story. 1995, move to Seattle, drive a U-Haul nonstop across the country with no sleep. 2004, I wrote a story about walking home from seeing a Terminator movie and said story got published in some anthology, but I can’t understand my own filing system enough to find it without wasting an hour of my time. Speaking of Summer Rain, I sent the masters to the publisher on July 5, 2000.

Anyway, nothing spectacular going on here last Thursday. We went for a walk in the neighborhood in Berkeley by my old allergy clinic and looked at expensive houses, then went to Whole Foods to pick up stuff for dinner. Had to dose both cats because it sounded like Fallujah outside, then I think I fell asleep at like 9:30. A life of excitement for this writer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *