Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all dark night - some are so young;
Some suffer so much - I recall the experience sweet and sad...
Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, 1876
DC? Seriously cool. Like raising the cool bar and wiping out NYC for the coolest place I've ever been. Dupont Circle? So cool there needs to be a velvet rope around it and Brooklyn has to wait in the back of the line for the head tilt and nod to join the party. So cool that San Francisco hangs her head in shame because despite her best efforts they are furtive and even the tragically hip of The Mission can't keep up with DC.
What a day! Me and the Beav powered through The Freer Gallery, The American History Museum and The Natural History Museum after we toured the Air and Space Museum.
It's like my brain had a big meal and all it can do is sit back, sigh and belch.
Love at first sight yesterday. The quote on the walls of the north entrance of the Dupont Circle metro station got my attention (never mind the escalator is terrifically steep and like Orpheus' Descent to Hell) but the people here have me hooked. We were standing on a street corner and heard three separate conversations in three different languages. The diversity is wrapped in the lovely facade of old buildings--most of them older than the oldest ones in my city--topped of with a friendly southern vibe. The only other place I fell for this hard was Baltimore. The locals here are very patient with tourists, too. Millions of people stumble through their city and yet, they smile and tell you you are walking in the wrong direction like they have never been asked a question before.
The Beav has never been to the east coast before and coupled with the foreign landscape are masses of people. Many more than he is used to on most days in our city. On the airplane, as we made our descent Beav noticed the wide rivers and the lush landscape. I agreed with him and told him this foreign feeling makes me feel like a hick, especially if I'm on the east coast.
"Golly, Lookat fancy old building! They is big an' old, ain't they?"
"Hot diggity! I'm from the Western US of A! All y'all is so fancy!"
"Woo Doggies! Look at all these folks! An' all of 'em so diff'rent, too!"
Coupled with feeling like a hick I am also an idiot when it comes to directions and I can't find my way out of a paper bag without directions and maps. My family thinks I'm completely OCD because I have itineraries complete with walking directions to and from sites when I travel. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't mind getting lost, some of my best times traveling are when I'm lost. Fortunately, the kids and TG are like human GPS units so I can leave the directions to them. But today, even Beav was confounded and we spent thirty-five minutes--in the rain--wandering in circles looking for a metro station (this is how I discovered the people here are very patient with tourists).
Aside from the kindness of strangers and the scary escalator the four things which made the most impression on me:
1. Julia Child used The Joy Of Cooking more than any other cookbook.
2. Mamie Eisenhower wore the wrong dress to the inauguration. The dress she chose accentuated her thick torso and the foofy ruffle thingy over her left hip made her look fat.
3. There was a motorcade of Secret Service agents with a shiny but sinister looking Cadillac moving down Connecticut Avenue today. It was cool.
4. Amelia Earhart's airplane is the perfect shade of red and if I didn't know Earhart was a serious aviator, I would assume she chose the airplane strictly based on the pretty shade of red.
Beav, being the adult on this trip, was moved by the majesty of the capital building, The Wright Flyer and The Spirit of St. Louis. He assumed they would be models and was thrilled to stand next to the first biplane and the first airplane to cross the Atlantic. When I cooed: "Oh look at the cute little red airplane, why is that here?" I could hear his eyes roll.
It wasn't the first time this week and I promise it won't be the last.