Last week we went to Washington, DC. Jason did some photography for the Heart Gallery (it's a charity-type thing that recruits photographers to do portraits of hard to adopt foster children). One of his photographs was selected to be on display in the Russell Senate Building on Capital Hill. And there was a reception at Union Station and some of the photographs from around the country were on display there also.
It was on a Tuesday.
I've worked night shift, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for years. I am used to not being able to do anything with anyone because the entire world is set around a M-F work week.
I said, "We are going."
Jason said, "DC is expensive."
I said, "I don't care."
It was a quick trip. From the time we left the house for the airport until we walked back in to find three very pissed off cats waiting for us was just a hair over thirty hours. Not near enough time to do anything.
Luck followed us the entire trip. Our planes were on time. We had great weather. The shuttle bus put us in different rows of seats. This was a good thing. In the end.
Small airport shuttle. Foreign type driver, from the accent, I thought Greek, maybe. In first row, Jason, strange 60-something-ish lady with the back of her head crew-cut cropped up to her ears. Spiky purple-red hair in front. A five inch rat tail with beads growing out of the middle of the back of her head. There was another lady next to her, but I swear to God, I don't think I was ever able to drag my eyes away from that rat tail long enough to register what she looked like.
In second row, me, a sweet, round, perfectly bleached blond, 40-ish, Georgian from the accent, could have been Alabama, that Jaw-jah peach accent does tend to blur near the borders. Jaw-jah Peach's slightly older friend next to her.
Heading up Consitution Avenue, the traffic bogs down. I can see up ahead, the DC police have a dump truck pulled over. There is a heavily armed policeman walking along the sidewalk beside us, heading towards the dumptruck. He's got a gun on just about every extremity and is carrying one big ass (I don't know nothing about this) automatic type looking rifle.
Jaw-jah Peach: "Oh mah grashious, ya'll! Did ya'll see his gu-uun? Are awwll the PO-licemen down heyah ahmed like tha-yat?"
(At this point, Jason's head came up out of the map he'd been perusing and I could almost see his writer's ear vibrating.)
Now, I know people like this, heck, sometimes I'm like that. We southern girls are expected to be shocked at the realities and ugliness of life. I was fine with her consternation.
As I was starting to point out the situation ahead, Rat-Tail Granny turns around.
Rat-Tail Granny: "Let's just all pretend like it's one of those, those, oh, those heart-starting machines. So's we can put a positive image on it."
Ever have to not only hold back your laughter but also keep a straight face? It makes your eyeballs hurt.
Good luck. If Jason and I had been sitting where we could have seen each others faces.....we would have been......rude.
We made it to our hotel - The Phoenix Park Hotel - at a few minutes before one in the afternoon. Lovely hotel. Marvelous. I'm something of a hotel snob and will spend money for a good one. This one was worth almost every cent. I thought the desk staff could have been a little friendlier, but hey, I was a one night stay hick from the deep South, I understand. I wasn't worthy of being TOO nice too.
By one fifteen, we'd crossed the street to Union Station (which for some reason, I kept calling Union Square). We wandered about a few minutes, looking at the Heart Gallery pictures there before heading to the Russell Building to see Jason's. Then we did a five hour walking tour.
Past the Capital Bldg, up to the National Mall, down the Mall to the Washington Memorial, to the WWII Memorial, to the Lincoln Memorial (where some clunk-head college boys were taking disgusting pictures), then to the Vietnam Wall, where we found my son's Great-Uncle's name and took some photographs for him. Then to the White House, then ALLLLLLL the way back to the Hotel.
See, my mind says I'm still twenty, but my knees remind me of the truth. Jason made an appearance at the reception while I propped up my poor legs. A quick dinner later at the Dubliner Pub (yummy) and off to bed.
The next morning, I tucked the complimentary copy of the Washington Post into our suitcase and we zoomed off to Union Station for the excitement of taking the subway to the Ronnie Reagan Airport. We managed to do it with only looking a little bit like clueless tourists (trying to figure out the ticket buyinging thing).
At the airport, I settled back with the paper. Oh, look an article on the Heart Gallery. Continued on page B5. I flipped it open. Looked at the picture. Nudged Jason. "These people look familiar?"
It was us. In the five-ten minutes we were there at Union Station, we got our picture in the paper. Pretty cool. I can tell people I was in the Washington Post. Never mind that it's my back to the camera and I look like a complete geek because it was hotter than I expected and I had my sweater tied around my waist.
To heck with it, I was on vacation!