August 6th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Holly-Olliday, Pt. I

Today, the alarm woke me at 5:30am.

I realize I shan't inspire too much sympathy from my Constant Readers when I mention that my, and Ben's, lifestyles do not generally involve, nor even acknowledge, mornings. And 5:30am is a time that simply does not compute. I have no context nor need of that hour. I'm either asleep at 5:30am, or still up from the previous night. But for a jumping-off point, it's Greek.

We hired a limo to take us to the airport. Might as well start a holiday off right, no? Although in a way, it was kind of wasted on us, as we were both too shell-shocked by the hour to be able to appreciate the sprawling luxury.

Our flight was one of those annoying ones in that we were crammed into the fusilage like the cattle we clearly are (thanks for the terrorist hype, Dubya! And continue to treat your taxpayers like criminals!), we taxied to the runway, only to sit for 20 minutes and taxi back to the gate because, "there is some paperwork that needs to be signed." That "paperwork," (which Ben is convinced is airline-codespeak for some specific technical malfunction, like, say, a wing about to fall off) ruined 90% of the passengers' plans, as most people on United fly to Washington for connection reasons.

Luckily, D.C. was our final destination today, and we had no pressing plans, so the inconvenience was not dire, just — inconvenient.

The rest of the poor suckers were stranded on their way to someplace else. Serves 'em right, though. People who travel with small children should be inconvenienced. And all of them had small children.

"Germ factories," Ben said today.

Aunt Kimmy picked us up from Dulles, fed us snacks, and sent us off to go a-Smithsonianing with my worthy cousin Eric and his nothing-short-of-stellar girlfriend Nicole.

It was late afternoon, and things do eventually close, but we managed to cattle-herd our way into the overcrowded Air + Space museum, which, although I lived in Washington for a few years, I haven't spent much time in Air & Space.

It's better to visit after you've seen "The Aviator," since most of the exhibits are Mr. Hughes' handiwork.

We caught an IMAX film about figher pilots (called, ironically, "FIGHTER PILOT!") which was a nausiating experience. But for once, the nausea did not stem from the bad acting or poor direction; rather, from the 70mm film cameras attached to the nethers of spinning battle planes in the throes of their chaotic mêlées. I nearly whoopsied.

We then planed, trained, and automobiled back to auntie's in Virginia, the which whereat we partook of ourselves a marvelous steak dinner, some charming banter, a bit of telly and a bit of reading.

We have one more day in Washington before puddle-jumping to the British Isles of Pablo. Remind me tomorrow, while still in the States, to make my Upstate New York reservations for the last week of August to see my family in our idyllic, moth-eaten, crumbly-bumbly, but still somehow Mecca-like lakehouse.

That is all for now.

P.S. If you think you're clever and original, lying down in The Mall and taking a photo so it appears the Washington Monument is jutting out of your pants at an impressive 90 degree angle, allow me to disabuse you: Look around. Frat boys are following your cue. It's common and low. (Which didn't stop me, of course. Photo journal upon return home in two weeks.)