Every time I take a mini-break, like I did this weekend, I think I should do it more often. Sometimes you get to feeling like a mule on a towpath, dragging the same load down the same road day after day, and that’s no way to live. You have to shake up your head from time to time. And so when, talking to my old friend Adrianne, wondering if we were ever going to actually see one another in the flesh again, I threw out the idea of a girls’ weekend in a third city — Washington D.C., where we’d wander the Mall and see people we both knew there, and maybe some others.
And that’s what we did. Just in time for an October nor’easter.
We escaped the snow, but Saturday was all about a chill, driving rain that relocated everything indoors. It turned out that was OK, as the activities mainly consisted of going from one loud, yakking restaurant or bar table to the next one, catching up and/or getting acquainted with friends old and new. Hank Stuever picked me up at the airport Friday, and we went from there to lunch to a driving tour of the city, which was really more of a sitting-in-traffic tour, but who cares? We talked and talked and talked, moving from there to a bar near Union Station, where we met Adrianne (aka Mrs. Lance Mannion) and an old colleague of hers, and an old colleague of ours, and that was another 90 minutes of talking, before Hank peeled off and the rest of us headed into Chinatown for dinner, and two more hours of blah-blah and when I tell you I woke up with a sore throat on Saturday, believe it.
I also wished I’d written everything down, especially that one story about Somebody Really Famous, but as I recall, that was on a doesn’t-leave-the-table-basis anyway, so it’s just as well.
Saturday we slept late and headed off to the National Archives, there to gaze upon the charters of freedom, as they were called. Fun fact to know and tell: All of the guards in the chamber whose voices I heard had the lilting accents of the Caribbean. “Note the typo in ‘Pennsylvania,'” he said, and it kind of made my heart soar a little. We are a nation of immigrants, after all.
From there it was on to the National Gallery, because it was close, and a surprisingly nice lunch in the cafe there with Barbara, whom you all know as 4dbirds. Then some Warhol, then home to treat the barking dogs and prepare for dinner with Roy and Kia, at some tapas joint near the Verizon Center, for another two hours of talk and alcohol, and then on to one of those yuppie brewpubs for more of the latter, and even though my throat is really sore now, it was a wonderful time. Roy fell on the considerable dinner tab with the energy of a future posthumous Medal of Honor winner covering a hand grenade, and I really wish we had fought him harder for it. But special occasions and all that, right? The only thing that could have made the weekend more memorable was if I’d perhaps stolen a horse from the outdoor stabling at the National Horse Show, which we passed on our walk back from the restaurant.
As Alan drove me to the airport Friday, I reflected that so much of what I found jaw-dropping about Detroit when I first moved here is now simply part of the scenery, and while I still see things that blow my mind fairly regularly, when you stop seeing your own town, that’s when it’s wise to travel. D.C. is thriving, and has apparently not been informed we’re in a recession. There are so many high-rise cranes at work, you’d think you were in Dubai. Hank says he and his partner couldn’t buy the equivalent of their two-plus-den apartment in their neighborhood for less than $700,000, even though it appears whole buildings full of new condos are going up everywhere. You heard it here first: THE TEA PARTY IS RIGHT. UNCLE SAM IS A VORACIOUS BEAST.
My only regret is that I forgot my goddamn camera, so the only picture I took was of the Exorcist steps, with the iPad. Oh, well. We have our memories.
And now it’s Monday, Day of Suck, but fortunately, being away from the ‘nets for most of the weekend, I got a little bloggage:
Gene Weingarten considers the Online News Association conference, where the keynote speaker was the founder of I Can Has Cheezburger. A taste:
I love journalism, and frankly, even in this bewildering new form, I’m just glad that it’s still alive. My newspaper, for one, is actually hiring. I am looking at a new office-wide job posting for “an experienced, hands-on designer to help create Web-based and mobile applications … for various non-news verticals.”
I’m sure you’ve all seen this by now, but Joe Nocera got his mitts on some Halloween pictures from a law firm that specializes in foreclosures, and you should not be surprised by what they show. In Gawker’s comment thread on the subject, however, I found this jaw-dropping entry from something called the Irvine Housing Blog, about HELOC abuse aided and abetted by Countrywide, and at least partially corrected by you and me. Talk about a scare for Halloween.
On a lighter note, Jim at Sweet Juniper has made another fantastic Halloween costume for his son – Rocketeer.
This and that: Seeing Roy this weekend, I was reminded of one of my favorite pieces of his, The Ballad of the Reverb Motherfuckers. That link is to Part 1. You want the rest, Google ’em yourself.
Time to get the day underway. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, or maybe I’m still just a tad drunk.