I spent my Fourth of July at home, working on this and reading that and just generally relaxing through the moodiness that accompanies moving and one’s seemingly imminent departure from New Orleans until it was time to get out of the house and on the bike to see how folks were celebrating Independence Day. My first stop was the casino, a guilty pleasure of mine. I like to go in there with $20 for some time with the penny slots and drinks I would never order in real life–today it was a white wine spritzer and white zinfandel, neither of which I’ll be ordering again. I peck away at the penny slots and after just a few minutes there is absolutely nothing in my mind except pressing that button. It is one of the few places where my mind is quiet, odd as that sounds…maybe I should look into meditation. Whatever. Today brought a surprise $100 jackpot, so I took my winnings, got a treat at the frozen yogurt shoppe, and began a self-satisfied pedal Uptown to meet friends at the Fly for a picnic. When I got there the grill was going, there were hungry flies and ants, and a kid and a ball and a collective desire to play catch. I snapped this picture of the river not because the river is “America,” or anything like that (though I could certainly make a case for the pivotal role played by the Mississippi and docks like these in the growth of the nation), but because it was just so pretty there today. We threw and caught the ball, letting the kid set the pace, and my mind was pleasantly empty again–it was lovely. I rode back downtown, grabbed a burrito and a large soda, because Harrah’s was buying, ran into friends at the river, watched fireworks, and then caught up with S. and L., who put their bikes in the spare room and shared their bottle of champagne. Not a bad day, not at all, and easy to do because I travel by bike.