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Happy Belated 4th

My 4th of July didn’t go as expected. Life can change so easily in a blink of an eye. I was so sure in my last post that things would go accordingly as I was picturing they would. How many times have I been here before, with my inaccurate fortune telling? I should know better by now. I have a feeling even if certain experiences yesterday didn’t unfold as I envisioned they could have, I would still be harboring dissatisfaction that what I wanted to happen (down to the t) didn’t take place. All I know is, I did have a good day despite a few hit and misses!

Yesterday was a day of firsts. I traveled on a subway line I had never used before but heard of as an NYC commuter. It was around the same area where my two friends were staying at an inn together for the duration of their time in the city. Our meet up spot was going to be at the Queens Botanical Garden some stops away. Because I was coming from further away and my commute was 1 hour 42 minutes, I needed to be there earlier than my friends. I could have taken the bus after my stop to get straight to the garden but walked to see what the neighborhood was like. It was both good and bad. The distance on Google maps didn’t seem that far though walking the way there wore on me. I wore flip flops. These weren’t the best shoes to be walking in. I tend to habitually walk fast; sometimes until my legs burn from overextertion and I have to force myself to slow down.

The admission fee into the garden wasn’t too pricey. I was super grateful the counter attendant pointed out notable areas on the map for me, like the restrooms, eating areas, and best places to explore. At some city attractions I’ve visited, unless I pointedly ask where stuff is, it seems the attendants just assume I can look at the map and figure it out. Making a beeline for the restroom, I passed a woman sitting on a bench in the hallway. She commented that my dangling star earrings (which had one star each in red, white, and blue) were similar to the ones she was wearing. I’ve worn the earrings on and off for weeks now but the color theme was a perfect fit for July 4th.

Only after I came back out, I realized the pond I went past to get into the building had live fish swimming in it. They looked like goldfish of various colors and sizes. The orangey hues of the fish scales stood out a lot, and the ones with black hues I almost didn’t see as their coloring blended into the sediments at the bottom of the pond. The larger fish were chilling in the middle unfazed by people walking past, while the smaller fish darted away at the first sign of sudden movement from some feet away.

I enjoyed seeing other wildlife. I was deciding on a snack at a vending machine when I saw two small blurs of something scurry into a bush. Mice, perhaps? It happened again later in a different part of the garden. Not a mouse, but some kind of lizard or salmander. I am not sure if these creatures are a free roaming garden attraction or if they are pests. One of these animals, for whatever reason, padded onto the pavement under the sun and seemed to look at me for a few beats. I was worried my phone might scare him but maybe it helped that I moved very slowly in order to get his photo. 😉

A local bird was making quite the display with a series of song calls from atop a tree. I recorded some of it though the visual quality is not that great. I think he didn’t like being filmed, lol, because after he flew off at the end and after moved on from the area, he came back to resume singing. I wish I knew the species name for this bird. I tried looking on the garden website for birds that frequent the area but none of them resemble the one I saw.

Also, I have no idea why the still of the video appears sideways but when the clip is played, it rendered to its normal alignment. Weird.

The sights of birds bathing can be so cute, with how puffed up they become as they fluff their feathers in water. I’m reminded of years gone by where my home housed different pet birds. Lovebirds. Zebra finches. Java finches. Even my very last bird, my parrot Birdie, bathed in a similar fashion.

I’ve seen house sparrows and pigeons bathe before but never a red robin! I felt so goofy standing there with a grin on my face as I filmed this. I’m not usually one for whipping out my phone to record things. Some people stared at me for it but whatever.

And then there were honey bees! Obviously I couldn’t get up close because that would’ve been dangerous but it was cool to see an active hive box.

The garden had niches of beauty but overall, some areas were not impressive. The crabapple and magnolia trees were done blooming so they had no colorful flower displays.

Even so, it was nice to see what crabapple fruit looked like.

The Rose Garden was also not very appealing. Sorry if that’s harsh. It was overgrown with weeds and most of the roses did not seem well-tended to, in addition to the variety of roses being sparse. Mostly, I looked to photographing flowers that were vibrant in color or interesting in appearance. Here’s some of them. 😊

Quail grass. So very pink and furry! I’d be scared if this was a caterpillar…
I never knew this is what butterfly milkweed looked like! Monarch butterflies love them.
Elegant Zinnia, or common zinnia.
Sedum emarginatum. I don’t know anything about this plant, except that it was visually pleasing to look at. 😬
American basketflower.
It’s called Sweet-William. Interesting name.

Well, that’s enough flowers for one day. No wait, I’m kidding. Here’s an extra flower I found at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden from several days ago. 😍

Looks like a Christmas ornament lol. It’s called buttonbush.

I walked around the whole garden and circled back to where I started out earlier. My friends still hadn’t arrived. I assured them days ago that they could come whenever was convenient since their commute would be significantly shorter than mine. In my mind, I was already recalibrating myself to the situation. I was now familiar with the layout of the garden and could kind of guide my friends to the best sights and attractions. I took a break to read on my Kindle as a nagging sensation set in. Checking my messages, they were still unread. Did they change their minds? Were they running late and forgot to text me? And the worst assumption of all: Have they stood me up?

The most horrible possibilities played out in my imagination. We hung out last week, yes, but we were all a little awkward at some points. The non-response through text messages sent me on a nonsensical quest to connect last week with this week. I went in for my own vulnerabilities, namely that I was too awkward with them last time and so they didn’t want to hang out with me now. But was I really like that to them or was that my perception of myself? I admit it too, I am a little envious they booked a room and get to spend so much time together even though they both traveled into NYC separately. Am I the unwanted third wheel?

I kept going back to the argument that they probably had a fairly good reason for not reading my messages and not showing up. All I could do was wait. Finally they texted back. One of my two friends, Leila, had a cold since last week, and she explained that Keira, our mutual friend, also got ill with the same thing. They had been resting all day because they were sick and apologized for not being able to make it.

We were still going to meet up for the Macy’s fireworks show but agreed to try the other side of the East River from Long Island City instead of Manhattan to possibly face less crowds. How wrong we were, lol. I rode the subway back to Manhattan for a quick dinner. I regret I didn’t think to meet up with them at the inn and then we could have gone to the fireworks viewing spot altogether. I arrived a little later than them but by then, I couldn’t reach the actual riverside since cops blocked off the crowd with a gate. It was a complicated mess. A lot of people left to find a way around it but I stayed put mainly because I didn’t want to squeeze past hundreds of sweaty bodies. The fact the crowd was so compacted only made the temperature hotter, too. I envied the people who got a clear rooftop view of the fireworks from their homes. Also, I lost my internet connection and didn’t know if the last text messages I sent my friends got to them.

About two minutes before the fireworks started, the gate was removed. Utter mayhem ensued as I was shoved forward repeatedly and people behind me lunged forward. Someone even pressed their hands on my back to force me ahead. I was technically in the same general area as my friends were but they were more in the front. Either way, it was just too dark to spot them.

The fireworks were beautiful. For those few minutes, watching the sky light up was the best. I temporarily forgot about all the discomfort I went through to get there. Everyone had their phones out to capture pictures. I got one or two shots I liked but stopped snapping to focus on enjoying the rest of the show.

Some people were already leaving 5-10 minutes before the big finale. Now I know why. The aftermath of walking back to the main streets was packed but with more breathing room, at least. The nearest subway station was shut down and almost everyone walked the same way to the next one. That’s when the trouble began. The crowd stalled because the people who entered the subway station before everyone else (who were currently waiting outside) took up space in the terminal until the subway arrived. So I was stuck standing on the street, neck in neck, with hundreds of people for like 15 minutes. Had it been daylight hours, I would have gladly trekked across the Queensboro Bridge to get back to lower Manhattan, but it was already past 10 PM.

The only reprieve was the A.C. in the subway car. It became less crowded once I switched to a different train that took me back to my home neighborhood. I got back a few minutes before midnight. Phew!! I was disappointed over not seeing my gal pals but we kept in touch via text during my commute home and talked about the insanity of the crowds before, during, and after the fireworks show.

So that was my July 4th. Barbecues and beach getaways are popular activities for this day but everyone can celebrate however they want. I am not a BBQ girl and never really have been either. The Botanical Garden was not really related to the holiday but it was definitely up my alley in terms of interests without the price of admission being too costly. Yes, some of the garden displays weren’t at their peak but there were pretty sights and I had a pleasant time walking around at my own pace. Now, the fireworks! This will probably be my only experience being present in-person for that, unless I arrive super early next year at the same place, lol. The hassle I disliked most, even more than bearing the repeated accidental sticky skin-to-skin contact (ewwww), was how long it took to return home.

6 thoughts on “Happy Belated 4th

  1. Oh Nat. How often I have been in these situations!
    I never got invited, so I invited people. And still risked to be stood up.

    I’d say that you shouldn’t be bothered with it, but the last time I was the only one not invited for a work related dinner, I was so disappointed.

    This week, something happened which I never thought would.
    Colleagues who have seen me for the first time invited me for a dinner and even postponed it for two hours, because I had to stay a little longer at the office!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does hurt a little when people don’t get back to you in a timely manner. Personally I don’t know if they were asleep for the whole day or were so ill they had no energy to check their phones, but a tiny part of me wishes they had told me a little earlier. I would have understood.

      That is awesome your colleagues were considerate of you and waited for your shift to end so everyone could have dinner altogether. ☺


      1. Don’t you find it funny that everyone is always glued onto their phones until you’re trying to reach them. Suddenly they didn’t see your message or call.
        B U L L S H I T.

        I don’t mind if someone cancels on me, but ignoring is a whole different thing 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m tempted to call bullsh*t too but I am conflicted as I don’t want to think the worst of people. Maybe it was bad timing? When I saw they hadn’t read the previous messages from two hours ago that I sent saying I was already in the garden and so forth, I didn’t text them again because of my own uncertainty. I wanted to ask if they were on their way yet or if they decided not to come but instead I just waited hoping they would eventually respond to my older messages. Or maybe they hesitated to text knowing they couldn’t make it and were concerned about disappointing me. I have no idea. 😶


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