Click for a better view of that completely adorable little girl
Each year on this date I try to find an image that captures America in a nutshell (here are the ones from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008). This year I decided to provide the image myself, instead of finding one on the internet, because I can’t think of a better encapsulation of America than the view from my front porch.
As I’ve mentioned a few times now, my porch is by far my favorite thing about the new Uni Watch HQ. The porch has become my office — I sit out there every day with my phone and laptop, doing all my usual work (including writing these words that you’re reading right now). If it’s particularly warm, I bring a fan. The only down side is that I spend less time with Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin, but I try to make it up to her when I go back inside. I’m thinking of getting her a harness and seeing if she wants to join me on the porch, although she might be too old to be that adaptable. We’ll see.
Anyway: One of the many wonderful things about working on the porch is that I feel much more connected to my neighborhood than I’ve felt in any other place I’ve ever lived. And what a neighborhood it is — the area where I now live is unusually diverse, even by NYC standards, with lots of Pakistanis, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, African Americans, Latinos, Indians, Caribbeans, Middle Easterners, East Asians. There’s even a Mormon church! (We periodically see the missionaries walking around with their nametags.) I see all of them, and more, as they walk past our house.
In some ways, they’re all very different — from me and from each other. But in other ways, they’re pretty much the same: The adults chatter on their phones; the boys dribble basketballs; the girls giggle and make outsize expressions of surprise as they whisper things to each other; the teen-agers furtively smoke and try to look tough; the couples hold hands and gaze at each other as they walk.
So on a day when I make an annual habit of presenting “America in a nutshell,” it’s hard to think of a better example than this melting pot that I get to see from the porch. It’s a fantastic thing to watch. At a time when so many things out there are so chaotic and upsetting, these families make me hopeful about America’s future.
I wish a happy Independence Day to one and all. I’ll be busy today, but the comments are open, so feel free to chat among yourselves. If you have a few minutes, I heartily recommend reading the Declaration of Independence, whose ratification is what we’re celebrating today. Here’s a typeset version, in case you can’t decipher the handwriting.
If you’re traveling today, travel safe. If you’re playing with pyrotechnics, don’t pull a Jason Pierre-Paul. If you’re working, thanks for keeping the world spinning while the rest of us get to enjoy a day off. And if you’re spending the day in the company of a Britisher (I don’t think we have any of them in my neighborhood, at least not that I’m aware of), kindly pass along my annual Independence Day rallying cry: In your face, Redcoats!