My girl wanted to check-out the Renwick Gallery, which was next to the White House. First, we stopped by the WH Visitor Center. That was a bit of a disappointment. So, we circled back toward the gallery.
Earlier, there was a large number of people in Lafayette Park, and in the street near the White House. Now, it was vacated. Black-clad goons with sub-machine guns stood menacingly, and the area was cordoned off. It was just plain creepy. We walked around the block to get to the Renwick. A Fed agent graciously let us pass to go look at all that subversive art. As we entered, a black behemoth mongrel vehicle festooned with antennae flashed lights and drove toward the WH. We both shook our heads and kept walking.
The gallery was... interesting. Admittedly, I'm not much of an art guy, but I did have a nice conversation with one of the guards. She recently retired from Federal Corrections, and this stuff was boring the crap outta her. She was thinking of jumping back into State Corrections to coast into retirement. That's one of the many reasons I got out of corrections. You can turn into an adrenaline junkie.
There were a few pieces in the gallery that interested me. The most impactful was a clay representation of an engine block. It was displayed in a state of disrepair, with it's inner workings exposed. The paint on it was lifelike to the extent it truly looked like iron. Rusty iron.
God, I wanted to fix the thing. Except, y'know, it was clay.
I forgot what we did for dinner that night. I know that my daughter found a favorite boutique coffee shop, and bought a can of some goopy, chocolaty stuff to bring back to the apartment. The damn can exploded when she opened it, spraying brown hell all over our host's cream Berber carpet. Luckily, I'm an ex-professional carpet cleaner (AAA Seattle). I saved the day. That's what dads do.
Our last full day we hit the National Museum of The American Indian. It was awesome. Well laid-out, aesthetically agreeable and interesting. There were my kind of items on display, from 8th Century frog-shaped pipes to custom beaded Converse shoes. Then there was the Trail of Tears exhibit. Made me wanna slap Andrew Jackson. I'd give some Old Hickory. What is it with these populist doucebags?
Then we went to the Hirschorn Museum. My daughter was proud that she knew a few of the artists by sight (yeah, I was impressed). A lot of avant garde displays there, including a rather elaborate interactive set where the observer's heartbeat is incorporated in the art. I was only interested in what my resting heart rate was (but the lowest it would go was 72bpm, I know mine was lower than that). My daughter's best friend lost her favorite Barbara Kruger shirt, so she bought her a replacement there.
We wanted to dine somewhere classy for our last night, so we found a little trendy Michelin-rated place. It was fancy, expensive, but at least not pretentious. My daughter had the lamb, and I had quail. It was worth the price. Desert was truffles for the girl, and Vietnamese fried plantains for me. Service was on the mark. I was disappointed by our fellow diners. We dressed-up a bit, but one guy (hipster?) was wearing a plaid shirt. Another was sporting a grey tee (kid you not). And this one lady is seated holding a friggin' Starbucks cup. Keeping it classy, peeps. Yeah, I AM judging. Show some respects to your hosts, your fellow diners... and yourselves. Cretins.
I'm going to Segway into the overall vibe I got from WA D.C. It's like most big cities, only awash in cash. I guffawed when I saw their auto license plate motto: "Taxation Without Representation". There arrogant pukes don't get out much, or have a very refined sense of humor. I'm not Mr. World Traveler, but I've seen tons of bad infrastructure in my day. Those folks in DC got a good thing goin' on. Clean, smooth streets. Police on every block. The aforementioned superior transit system. I think a lot of Americans would give up their "representation" just for some decent roads. Maybe a few safe bridges, too.
The people were generally nice, just the usual big-city stand-offishness. I did catch a few ladies looking my way. Just a guess, but the preening metrosexual men in DC probably are about as enticing as three day old cold Pho. Limp noodles. I'm not cocky, but I am confident, and I guess it shows. Or maybe it was just the humidity turning my hair into a Medusan mess. Either explanation works.
High winds kicked-up for our return flight, but we missed the worst of it. After we leveled-off I tried dozing, and failed. Five hours is a long time on the Torquemada seats. I blew through my National Review much too quickly (I still miss WFB, RIP). Luckily, I got the window seat.
I wish my poetry skills were up to the task, but looking down on our great nation from 32,000 feet is inspiring. I just don't understand anyone not enjoying that. Unless you're acrophobic. In which case, the aisle seat is your friend.
I may return to DC some day. If my kids ever leave the house, my wife and I have talked about fostering a child, probably a teenager. Then, they can join the high school band, and cross the country to perform in another Cherry Blossom Festival. Maybe I'll chaperone again. Probably not.
But it would give me a chance to catch a Phillies game just up the road.