The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

July 4th-ish, Part One: Mexican Stand-Off

Sandra Tsing Loh tries to make 4th of July plans.

Time has passed. The wounds have healed. I can finally talk about my 4th of July.

I am a middle-aged, divorced parent whose children always have TONS of great things to DO on the 4th of July. They tend to spend THAT All-American holiday with their DAD, who seems to have no end of barbeques, swimming, fireworks— Next MONTH, there will be whitewater RAFTING—Summer is outdoorsy, it’s fun, there is sunburn, sand in the car, laughing—

I am very happy FOR all of them— And RELIEVED I don’t have to brave beach TRAFFIC— But the question always REMAINS as to what to do with MYSELF on the 4th, when BBQ guests tend to be myself and a tumbleweed.

I was discussing this with my friend ERIKA, ANOTHER divorced mom who has her OWN tiny American flag, and tumbleweed.

“This is the time of year when, oh, the ranks CLOSE,” she agreed. “Our married PARENT friends all DISAPPEAR into their families, driving to see the grandparents in San Diego, or some OTHER unnecessarily insular activity.” I add that our childless gay MALE friends SHOULD be a help, but they ALSO go silent to our frantic texts as they disappear into fabulous parties in the hills, having been AT this family-free FOURTH thing longer than we have, and keeping us—the weeds—out of their carefully-husbanded ECOSYSTEMS.

Unable to face the lone hibachi with a single chicken breast on the deck of the bachelorette apartment, we made a pact that when EITHER of us got wind of ANY barbeque good, bad or ugly we would take the other person. Well!

I’m going to forgive ALL MY FRIENDS, including the 150 of you who came to my SURPRISE 50th birthday party, that I BELIEVE was catered by a pretty fabulous taco truck? I’m going to IMAGINE that because 4th of July fell on a WEDNESDAY, you decided to stay home and do nothing. Thus, no invites.

And so it came to pass that after a kind of Mexican stand-off of waiting, this is LITERALLY the brave optimistically American email I sent out on TUESDAY NIGHT—that’s July THIRD—at 8 p.m.

“Dear Very Close Small Circle of Friends To Whom We are Not Ashamed To Admit We Have Absolutely No 4th of July Plans,

If you either can't decide amongst your BULGING CORNUCOPIA of 4th invites or if you too came up bupkis, join us at 5 for cocktails— And then eventually maybe some ribs— If you have any other fun 4th of July orphans they are welcome. If you are horrified that we have extended such a last minute invite, please delete this email and forget you ever saw it.”

Doesn’t that sound festive? Of course it does! The stage is set! The sparklers are lit! What can misfire?

Next week... Island of Misfit Toys…