I love to watch fireworks. Comfortably at home and tuned in to “A Capitol Fourth.” At McCoy Stadium after the PawSox game. Once riding a Bonanza bus home from Boston, looking out the window and seeing them light up the sky. They symbolize Independence Day and Americana.
I hate fireworks! In 2010, Rhode Island passed a law making roadside fireworks sales legal. The brilliant lawmakers must have thought we’d be raking in the dough on this one. They were worried we were giving Connecticut our money, the way we do in their casinos. Right.
So here we are in this terrible economy and there are more fireworks vendors up and down Route 2. By the way, “Route 2” is just like anything you have near your home, a secondary state road that is littered with pop-up chain stores. In this case, I’m referring to the five-mile stretch of road from the East Greenwich town line to the Cranston town line. Used to be mostly farmland; in fact, one part of the road is called Quaker Lane and one part is called Bald Hill Road. Now it gives you two Paneras, three Dunkin Donuts shops, two malls, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Best Buy, Staples, Target, five supermarkets, car dealerships, oh, and a bunch of “For Lease” signs.
And fireworks displays. Under white tents usually found in a backyard for a cook-out or next to a church for a strawberry social, now there are fireworks for sale. And who’s buying them in this depressed economy?
A guy pulls the last twenty-dollar bill from his wallet. The “Light of Liberty Fountain” is $7.99. The “Blue Streak Rocket” is $9.99. But the 12-piece “Party Poppers” – just $2.99. The same people who were complaining they couldn’t fill their gas tank last month are shelling out grocery money for fireworks. And at eleven o’clock tonight, we’ll still be unable to sleep.