Monday, June 26, 2006

Thoughts on Washington, D.C.

Having done the weekend-trip thing with the whole crew to see my brother and his bride, I have compiled a few suggestions for our nation’s capital and its overall improvement. If any political candidates choose to take my suggestions and pretend that they came up with them first, I wouldn’t object. It would be our little secret, just like that one magical summer when...

But I digress.

Suggestions for Washington, D.C.:

- Have you people noticed how *(#$%U)@#% HOT it is? Moving the city to, say, Minnesota might help with that. I hear North Dakota is lovely this time of year.

- I suppose it’s possible to come up with a less attractive design for train stops than the dark-concrete-honeycomb, in the same sense in which it’s possible to find a worse candidate for husband-of-the-year than Kevin Federline. It could be done, but it wouldn’t be worth the effort. If you haven’t had the pleasure of the D.C. Metro, its underground stations have tubular walls consisting of charcoal-colored concrete, with a waffle pattern. You can get the effect by dying an Eggo gray, then shaping it like a tube of toilet paper, and imagining yourself standing in the middle. It’s unspeakably ugly. It’s a sort of cheesy-futurist/brutalist motif, apparently designed to send the subliminal message “move along to your doom, maggots.” It’s almost insulting in its heavy-handedness. You just want to say, “alright, already, I’m insignificant, these are the halls of power, great forces are at work, I am but a cog in a machine, we’re at war with EastAsia, yadda, yadda, yadda, I GET IT!”

- It’s time to rethink the whole “Beltway" thing. Is it ever NOT jammed? And how many airports does that city actually need?

- It’s waaay too #$%#)# hot.

- Traffic circles? Really?

- You get a different sense of ‘handicapped accessible’ when one of your company is in a stroller. The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, for example, has lots of ramps on the inside, but a forbidding set of white, heat-reflecting stairs on the outside. Luckily, the security checks move slowly enough that you can heave the stroller up one step at a time. You know, the security checks they have to protect the dinosaurs, which are *(#*%)#% EXTINCT, but that they don’t have for the Metro, that carries thousands of living, breathing people, usually all in the same car.

- Certain government buildings, and I’m not naming any names, carry a distinct smell of B.O. If the frickin’ Repo Man could put a little pine tree air freshener in every car, certainly the most powerful country in the world could manage a little Lysol. I mean, sheesh.

- This may be related to the unspeakable heat. Have I mentioned that?

Enough carping. The visit was fun, it’s always great to see my brother and his bride, The Boy got a big kick out of the dinosaurs (especially the T-Rex, whose pelvic bone was shaped such that The Boy pointed and laughed, “I see his winkle!”), and we learned that The Girl spooks cats. (Who knew?)

Major props to the restaurant that is apparently quite the singles hotspot at night, but a family diner during the day. During the day, they use the stage for stroller storage. The Girl’s stroller was parked next to some amps while we ate. Very cool.

Back to reality. The air conditioning in the office still doesn’t work, so the heat motif will continue. At least I won’t have to stare at fossilized reptile winkle. Unlike that one magical summer...