independence day crashers

Last night, after a small barbeque at S.’s of homemade potato salad, coleslaw and feta burgers, a group of about 10 people walked two blocks to my rooftop to watch the fireworks. We carried lawn chairs and umbrellas up the spiral metal staircase. The sky was heavy with clouds and it sprinkled lightly. We “oohed” and “aahhed” as the fireworks exploded south of us, lighting up the white clouds red, orange and yellow. On countless rooftops on the streets surrounding mine, there were people gathered for parties who cheered. We could see their outlines in the dark.  

After the finale, a party on the block north of me of about 100 people or more sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” My other friend S. put her forefinger and thumb on her forehead, shaped in an “L,” and said, “Lame.” Then, we heard the beat of drums. On what looked to be two doors down from the patriotic singers, another 50 people were dancing, waving flags and cheering to the cadence of drums. The drum beat was loud and we started shaking our hips. And then S. and I decided we had to be there.

So we walked around the block to California Street. There were people floating in and out of a narrow townhouse, and the door was ajar. We didn’t hesitate — we walked in like we belonged there, smiling and saying “Hi” to everyone we passed. We walked up the five flights of narrow stairs to the rooftop. Along the way, I heard two guys speaking Russian (one said, “Nyet”) so it thereafter was referred to as the Russian party.

On the roof, it appeared three parties and more than 200 people had merged, including the patriotic party and the drum party. There were two levels — the decks leading into the townhomes — and the cement roofs above. From one deck, people climbed up a rickety ladder to get to the rooftop. After S. and I climbed up safely, and we could see my roof across the street, we called our friends. S said to C., “The eagle has landed.” I said to R., “We have successfully infiltrated.” 

We went back to my porch to rejoin our friends. About two hours later, four of us went back to the party. It had emptied out a bit, and quite a few people were intoxicated. Three people were dancing boisterously to country music in the dining room (sans table) on the first floor. On the third floor, a door to a bedroom was slightly closed, but we could see a built gay guy with his shirt off playing the guitar for a small crowd. Later, that same shirtless guy did a Full Monty strip tease to a Justin Timberlake song from the high roof, while we watched him from deck below and laughed. 

S. and I talked with several people, including a redhead named Heidi from Arkansas, a guy from California and brothers from Philly. We were home by about 1:30 a.m., but it was quite the thrill crashing a party. It was my first time. And I would do it again, with the right partner in crime.


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