You haven’t heard? Well we came to the nation’s capital and saw a few sites, now you’ve heard.
After a long awaited arrival that was much delayed by lethargic protagonists and violent traffic, this story made its way into D.C. on no more unimportant of a day than Cinco de Mayo. We were greeted by my cousin, Jenny, in her quaint townhome, which sits a small stone’s throw by a weak arm from the National Mall.
Showers then story time, that’s how we do it. Post-story time, she walked us to a little party where we met some of the folks we would find ourselves spending time with for the rest of the evening.
Natural group-divisions in the party left us a tight-knit circle to fraternize with before leaving to form our own Battle of Puebla memorial party (Mexican-French war joke, don’t worry about it).
The other party, five of us hanging out in a living room, was complete with a bluegrass show and some old-fashioned street fighting between Andrew and the local neighborhood ninja, Clarence. We learned that no matter who Clarence fights, everyone wins.
D.C. was cloudy from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, providing exclusively chilly weather until it broke and rained. On the morning that it ended up raining, we went for a walk around the capital and mall area. Before we got rained out, we visited the memorials to take more tourist photos of buildings we had seen photographed several thousand times before.
During our time exploring the area, we didn’t find a new appreciation for our nationality or the bond we share as Americans, but we did have a somewhat enlightening moment behind the Lincoln memorial when a skinny, young man started talking to us. He didn’t show any real interest in us besides that we looked like people who might listen to him without interrupting.
He told us that he was meditating and he felt that he had chosen the appropriate place to do it. His perspective on the monuments was that they aren’t just buildings where we go to think about the men of previous times that helped shape our country’s social dynamic. He called it a “temple”. It made for the appropriate place to come and concentrate his thoughts. The temple where all the tourists come to stand reverently before a large carving of some man they will never meet. In a simple way, it made a lot of sense.
The young man, in his skinny jeans, DC shoes, tweed suit-coat, and fedora wasn’t the guy we planned to inherit philosophic concepts from. He stood comfortably in front of both of us though. He fingered a cigarette while he told us his thoughts, then turned away, hopped down off the giant, marble steps and looked out over the river while he smoked. We talked about other things and occasionally glanced at him, facing the water and concentrating on something we weren’t concentrating on.
We got up and walked away to finish the tour we had started that morning, the hipster’s take on the memorial building faintly lingering after he was out of sight. It started raining while we walked back to Jenny’s with the monuments in the background, sticking up taller than everything else in the city, better kept than anything in the city, and more attractive to strangers than anything else in the city.