Last night, Wonder Woman and I sat on the porch, enjoying the evening cool. I was watching "Soylent Green" on the lappie; Wondie watched desultorily over my shoulder and browsed on her tablet. No television, no contact with the outside world. A lovely evening overall.
Shortly before ten or so, a nearby neighbor set off some fireworks. Not a grand cannonade, just a few whizz-pops. This has been going on periodically since the Fourth, so I thought it was just somebody finishing off this year's stash on a Saturday night, maybe after a few fizzy beverages. Certainly nothing to get worked up over.
As soon as I'd discovered along with Charlton Heston that Soylent Green is made of (spoiler alert!) Edward G. Robinson, I remarked that I was getting gappy and was headed for bed. We noticed with a giggle that our Saturday evening was coming to an end at the truly Satanic hour of 10:15 PM; our dissipation, we concluded, is near complete.
It wasn't until this morning that, fresh coffee in hand, I read that the George Zimmerman jury had handed down their astonishing verdict the previous evening. Profoundly depressed as I read though the article, I reflected that in many ways we are still living with hatreds and bigotries that have gnawed at me and, well, everybody else, since well before I was born.
It wasn't until I saw the date-time stamp on the article -- 10:06 PM -- that I twigged to the events of the evening before.
Those fireworks had gone off within a minute or two of the verdict's announcement.
I truly don't know whose house the rockets were fired from. The tree-cover is far too thick this time of year to see any distance from our porch. But perhaps more importantly, I don't want to know. I wave cheerfully at any and all pedestrians and passing cars on our tiny dirt road, happy in the self-imposed delusion that we're all Very Nice People. Certainly not the kind of people who'd have cheered the Emmett Till verdict.
I thought we were better than this.