My favorite way to spend the 4th of July weekend is at the beach, as I've done for the last three years. I have an affinity for Manhattan and Hermosa beaches, as do all of the rowdiest high school and college kids, who enjoy getting hopelessly drunk and baring their toasted skin. I find their antics endlessly amusing, and love being in the midst of their messy revelry.
Biking up and down the strand from Hermosa to Venice and back is a fabulous way to feel like a spoiled Californian, and I've done this every Independence Day for the past three years. This year, we have a new car, a Prius, and we didn't think to make sure that our bike rack would fit it properly. We just fastened it on, hoisted the bicycles on to it, and then by the time we entered Downtown LA, noticed that the bikes seemed less than secure. We pulled off the freeway at 3rd street and stopped in an empty parking lot.
With the skyrises of Los Angeles laughing down at us, we took the bikes off of the rack, emptied out the contents of our car, and piled the bikes inside.
The ride felt much more safe, though a little crammed, with our bicycles as our passengers.
It was, of course, all worth it, as our bicycles became our best companions on the beach. As the weekend revelers became more and more rowdy, we just sailed past them, perched atop our wheels, peaceful observers of the outrageous comedy that unfolded along The Strand.
Twenty two year old women in barely-there bikinis, their painted faces sagging with drink, dragged their flip-flopped feet behind them, as they tried to mask their lack of balance. They still, despite this charade, appeared attractive to the twenty two year old men who played less dress-up with paint and beachwear, but more with machismo. They layed it on thick.
I, too, enjoy the drink, although I avoid being drunk. My husband and I carried rum and wine splits in our totes, and we stopped in at Shellback Nation on Manhattan Beach for two bloody mary's - among the best I've had in LA - on the morning of the 4th.
Last year, on the 4th of July, we witnessed the tail-end of a night-long party that was still going strong at 10:00 in the morning. A bunch of twenty two year old men and women bounced and shouted along to each song that came on, and drank more than I've seen anyone drink at that early hour. It was a joy to watch. This year, there was no such show, and I missed it.