We made it back from D.C. unscathed and unpoliticized, which is hard to do in a town that wears its neurosis on its sleeve. The people there are insane. They drive crazy. They walk crazy - they power-walk. In heels! - they even eat crazy. Whereas crosswalks mean "slow down for pedestrians" in every other normal place on earth, they mean the exact opposite in D.C. I had to sprint across the crosswalk - much like a gazelle shoots across an open plain - just to make it safely to the sidewalk. Washington is a jungle of monuments, traffic cones, and tourists. I felt some sort of reverence while visiting all of the monuments.
That's a photo set for another time.
When we approached the Lincoln Memorial I fell silent as though I was sitting in a church pew.
We stayed in Baltimore with the ever-awesome and aforementioned Bonnie and Dave and their baby, Hudson. I affectionately referred to Hudson as "pineapple" and "cornstalk head" the entire time due to his sprig of fine blonde hair which stands straight up at the top of his head. He is one of the tastiest-looking babies I've ever seen. His little feet fit perfectly on hamburger buns.
I took the MARC into D.C. most mornings and cabs everywhere else within the city. St. Louis should perk up and take note: D.C. has an awesome public transportation system. The city (and outlying areas) is entirely accessible by Metro, MARC, bus, or cab.
On Thursday Dave told Chris to drive me to the city in his Mercedes Benz Ridiculously-Swanky-Class. MERCEDES. BENZ. BLACK. WITH GPS. They allowed us to take their car, which has a retail value higher than that of a child, to D.C. even after reading this.
Bonnie calls the GPS system the Navigation Wench. The Wench forbids you to get lost and prevents such an occurrence by nagging you to death:
"Prepare to turn left. Turn left 700 feet. Turn left 200 feet. Turn left now. TURN LEFT NOW."
I don't know if I imagined it, but sometimes I thought she became slightly irate.
St. Louis should also take note: D.C.'s parking situation SUCKS. The day that we took the Mercedes for a joyride we stopped to lunch at the Chop Shop something-or-other restaurant which features the best beer I've ever had - a rich vanilla stout. We parked across the street in one of the two-hour slots. We walked out of the restaurant and got to the car at approx. 4:10 p.m. and noticed that an over-zealous, satanic meter maid gifted us a $100 parking ticket for parking in a spot that, apparently, you can't park in between 4-6 p.m. The ticked said it was "clearly marked" which it SO WAS NOT. There was a tiny, nondescript sticker on the meter which read "4-6 p.m." and that was it.
(Addendum: We tried to contest it and they were all "Yeah...we don't care.")
Click here to view the D.C. set. You might notice that I started running out of ideas with the captions. Sorry.