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Washington DC 2009 July 14, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Instead of reading for class, I’d much rather tell you all about Washington DC and how wonderful it was.  I mean, how many times can you read “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” before you know it by rote?  Can I get an “amen?”

If you are in DC, you should:

1.  Definitely check out the Star Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  It’s so tattered and delicate that it can no longer fly; they have it displayed in a special low-light, low-humidity exhibit.  It’s dark, and the atmosphere is almost eerie.  Also in the exhibit is a touch screen where you can zoom in on certain areas of the flag (like shrapnel holes!).

2.  Go to the Holocaust Museum.  John and I opened the place up and shut it down.  You have to get there early to get a ticket to enter the permanent exhibit.  I would imagine that they go quickly.  Anyway, while we were waiting to enter the big exhibit, John and I checked a temporary display on Hitler’s propaganda.  Did you know that Hitler was the first candidate for the chancellorship that utilized campaign stops?  He chartered a plane and flew to nearly 200 locations across Germany, stomping for his election campaign.  His opponent made a grand total of THREE stops around the country.  This was my favorite museum of the trip.  The architecture is amazing, and the content is thorough and moving.  This is a MUST SEE.

3.  Visit either the Senate and/or the House of Representatives.  It’s really interesting to visit the floor where all of the country’s legislation is debated.  Scary note: NO ONE WAS THERE, and there were two Senators debating the health care issue.  By NO ONE, I mean there were like, three aides, a few runners, whoever was presiding, and two Senators.  Two.  I think we would get a lot more done as a nation if we required senators and congressmen to actually ATTEND debates.

4.  Eat at Good Eats, down on the corner of 3rd and Pennsylvania.  Apparently the guy who owns it won some kind of reality cooking show.  After five (yes, FIVE) separate people told us about it, John and I swung by.  It’s a burger/fry/shake joint and is totally delicious and absolutely reasonably priced.  It was so delicious that it was the only restaurant we ate at twice.

5.  Visit the Memorials down and around the National Mall at night.

If you are in DC, you should not:

1.  Forget that you have an appointment for a private senate tour with your senator so that you have to run to the other side of the city.

2.  Get pooped on by a bird as you run to the other side of the city for the senate tour you forgot.

3.  Walk into the wrong senate building, effectively ALMOST making you late for the tour you forgot.

4.  Watch other families for parenting advice.  I cannot even put into words how many times I almost strangled someone else’s children (or completely idiotic parents).  There are two stories that immediately come to mind.

After an exhausting day in Washington DC, John and I hopped the subway train back to our hotel in Maryland.  Now, mind you, it’s like 10:00 at night on a Friday, and lots of people are using the Metro.  John and I sit down, and there’s a couple with two children standing up near the exit doors right in front of us.  Their son, probably about 3, was strapped into a stroller, and the daughter, who was 5-pushing-6, was standing next to her mother.  The dad lets the boy out of his restraint system stroller, and the two kids start spinning circles around one of those long grab bar things.  At first this was no problem; the standing room at the front of the car was pretty much empty.  However, a few stops later, people were cramming onto the Metro, and the kids were still running around, spinning on the bars, and CRAWLING ON THE FLOOR (the last bit actually made me gag a little).  At this point the parents told the kids to stop, but of course they didn’t.  The little girl, as a matter of fact, looked straight into her mother’s eyes and defiantly kept spinning.  I almost had an aneurism.  I understand that kids are kids, but there’s a time and a place for that sort of thing.  A crowded subway car, where your kids keep bumping into people, is NOT that place.  Finally I looked at John, and loudly asked how old you had to be to fit into the default “kids get to go to Heaven” clause in the Bible.  Then I loudly proclaimed that I hoped those children didn’t go to church.

The second incident happened the day before we left.  John and I were waiting in line to go to the National Archives.  It was a hot, muggy afternoon, and the line was about 30 minutes long.  It had already been an exhausting day, so John volunteered to take the most awesome water bottle in the world and fill it up.  How nice, right?  Anyway, as I was waiting under a tree, I began to overhear the family behind me.

The mother (if you could call her that) was overweight, with dyed blonde hair with two inches of brown roots sticking out.  Her low cut shirt was flouting her ta-tas to the world, and I couldn’t understand how someone’s shorts could ride that far up her crotch.  She looked just like she had stepped out of backwoods Mississippi and had done herself up right for a trip into town.  Her boyfriend was more put-together than she was, younger, and fairly attractive; apparently he had no standards.  The most tragic part of the whole scenario were her two daughters, dressed identically, who she continuously lambasted and mistreated.  I guess they were about 11 and 6, and just as sweet as they could be.  It was obvious that they have some other influence in their lives other than their parents, who were basically the scum of the earth.

It began with the cussing.  Look, I’m not saying that it’s my job to police other people’s language; you want to curse, fine with me.  However, I have to draw the line at calling your 6 year old daughter a “whiny little bitch.”  Within ten minutes, she’d called both of her girls “stupid idiots” a handful of times, which was making me sick.  Her tone was just so condescending and…mean. Then, of course, to make matters worse, she has them both go sit in the sun despite already having visible sunburns.  When the youngest complained of her sunburn really hurting, Mama Dearest told her to “cut her shit” and keep sitting there until permission was given to move.

It was at that point that I went over to sit with the little girls.  I started chatting with them, offered them some of our sunscreen, asked them what their favorite parts of DC were, just ANYTHING to keep the mother from speaking to them anymore.  I figured that any bit of niceness would be more than the poor waifs received at home.  Ugh, it makes me mad all over again just thinking about it.

5.  Make sure you know when the subway terminals shut down for the night, and check for special postings so you don’t end up running halfway across DC to catch one of the last trains to your stop.

****

I’ll be posting about my Life List in another post very, very soon.  🙂

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