Tag Archives: dc

Just another day

It’s a day off from work, not for travel or a vacation.  But it’s a day off nonetheless.  The reason is that no one can get their car out of the snow.  Side streets are equally impossible.  I realize, midway through the day, that I’m out of toilet paper.  Not the last sheets on the roll, but I’m out of the supply in the closet.

So out I go, not out of panic or snow related emergency, but just because it’s time to pick up toilet paper.  It happens from time to time.

Checklist.  Snow boots, jeans, parka, hat, empty backpack, camera.

I take a lot of pictures this errand.  Most unusual for picking up toilet paper at the CVS down the street.  Usually I don’t take any.  But today is different.  Today the district is still digging out from two to three feet of snow in some places.  And tomorrow, there will be more snow.  I will bring my camera and take pictures of whatever catches my eye.

There are a few things.  Icicles three feet long hanging from the eaves of the retirement home.  Plowed snow taller than I am.  Cars still entombed in snow.  Improvised snowmen on the corners.

But I need toilet paper, so I get in line at the drugstore and get it.  Then I walk home.

It doesn’t feel like history.  But I guess it never does.

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At the very least, it's something

The snow was packed mostly in the street, but there were uneven spots that made me weary.  I didn’t notice until he and I were passing each other.  He was headed uphill, from the direction I had come.  We passed within five feet of each other, silent.

His clothes were from a more civilized era.  H’s wearing a waistcoat, tie, a proper hat and an overcoat.  Also, galoshes.

I’m wearing a pair of North Face snow boots and jeans, my “comrade” hat and a parka.

What catches my eye is what he’s cradling in his arms.

A film camera, wrapped in leather, hanging directly from a small thin strap.

My hand subconsciously drops to my DSLR, hung to the side of my waist by a strap that goes across my chest.

I take a few more steps then turn around.  He’s turned to look at me as well.  I wave and he waves back.

“Enjoy!”  I say.

He nods.  “I will.”

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There is only so much you can do when there is about twenty four inches of snow on the ground.  So far today has been filled with reading, drinking various types of hot beverages, eating when the mood strikes, and lazing abouts.

There was a bit of time when I did go shooting though.  Lots and lots of nearly overexposed pictures.  Hoping that tomorrow is a warmer, more accessible experience.

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Birth of a Washingtonian, part II

In all the rush, I never even said goodbye to my parents.  I arrived at National alone.  It was the old National then–an unused practically abandoned airport with an outdated terminal, even though it’s an entirely different airport, I still call it national.

The humidity was a shock, having lived in California for my entire life.  I shed my jacket as soon as I got outside.

I took a cab in to the city, marveled at the Potomac at night and the Kennedy center reflected on the black river.  I still hold that the District is the most majestic in the evening, either lit up by fireworks or by conventional means.  DC, when I picture it, and describe it to others, is always in the evening.

I saw the the washington monument and the white house and a few executive buildings.  Later, I would find out that the cab driver took the long way around so that he could charge me more zones.

And thus began my college education. Continue reading

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Birth of a Washingtonian

College really wasn’t an option for me.

Not that it was an impossible thing.  My parents were going to make sure that I went to college.  It was not an option in the fact that it was always assumed that I was going to go.  It was only a matter of where.

Even though we didn’t have enough money to repair a water heater, my parents were going to send me to a private college, not a state school.

That could have saved us some money, but I ended up applying to ridiculous colleges, like Georgetown.  I never really had my heart set on anywhere, so I employed the “shotgun” approach to my application process.  My SAT scores and high school transcript were enough to get me accepted everywhere.

I never had my heart set on anywhere.  Privately, what I was looking for was a way to make the financial burden easier on my parents.  My ultimate decision was American University, primarily because they offered me a good scholarship.

I joked that American was the furthest away from my parents I could get without leaving the country.

My parents said that they could take care of the rest and I had to believe them.

The next thing I know, I’m hopping a plane to Washington DC.

Well, more accurately, I’m late running through a San Diego airport terminal, to board a plane to Washington DC.  This occurred in 1993.  This is an alternate history America where they could open a door after it’s already been shut to let a last minute passenger in.

Even a brown one.

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