Curves in DC

  • Posted on: 4 May 2010
  • By: randy

On a warm, not so muggy early evening, I boarded a train to The Mall: the only mall I voluntarily seek out. Although most museums were already closed for the day, and I did not plan ahead to find out which ones were actually open, I still enjoyed the stroll by architecturally stunning built structures. I walked around the particularly curvaceous, new (to me) National Museum of the American Indian: the sandstone, water, and landscaping created a sense of tranquility and quiet (even though traffic flowed steadily nearby).

I, of course, had hoped the museum's doors were open just a little bit longer so I could peruse its contents. Instead, I walked west along the Mall towards the Washington Monument, taking in the Air and Space Museum, the Hirshorn Museum, and the Smithsonian Castle: all from the outside. I have a new appreciation for the Air and Space Museum since welcoming the family membership to the Museum of Flight. And, if Elias was with me on this trip, we would have checked the hours and made a point to block out at least two hours for a visit to the Air and Space.

My wanderings were leading me, indirectly, to the Penn Quarter to investigate two possible eateries to satisfy my evening hunger. A colleague, who used to reside in DC provided the suggestions. Before reaching my destination, however, I paused while sitting on a bench to watch lively, frolicking games of kickball on the Mall. A bit odd, perhaps, but the youthful players exuded enthusiasm and a spirit of pleasure in muffing fly balls, tagging out a runner, and circling all four bases while the opposing team fumbled and sputtered to return the ball to the infield. It was organized madness. The player demographic was strictly Hill staffers: 23, coed, clean-cut.

Yes, I found one of the two restaurants, scanned the menu, and decided the ambience was not for me. I felt underdressed and the thought of hearing, "Randy, party of (cough) one (cough)," impressed upon me the desire to move along. Resume wandering!

Walking through the area around the Verizon Center, it was obvious to me (and later confirmed) that this area has recently undergone a drastic remodel into trim, neat, cookie-cutter (sounds like the kickball players) eating establishments and shops. Up and around the corner, however, Chinatown welcomed me with its arch and natural (not sterile) store fronts. I randomly selected a restaurant from the 20 or so available along the street. I was not alone in being a party of one.

Prior to entering Chinatown, another solo pedestrian approached me, ice cream cone in hand, asking if I knew what my kings were doing to me. His conspiracy, about the secret manipulation of the government by Masons, filled our brief conversation. Brief because I chose to walk away after he said he didn't like people who said, "Good luck." I used that phrase, unfortunately, to describe his efforts to publish a book exposing the destructive nature of the Masons. After giving him time, listening to his speech, even asking questions, for him to berate me was the last straw. He meandered along the sidewalk looking for another ear in which to shove his view.

The clear sky, slight breeze, and a few visible stars made for a pleasant walk around DC on this rather long day of continuous meetings.