Wednesday, March 5, 2008

(inter)cardinal sin- slice of life day 5

I got the call from my friend at 5:05 pm letting me know her metro commute had ended and she was downtown just as I turned onto 8th Street. It was five minutes after I said we (two other friends and I) would probably be at the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania at the Starbucks to meet her for dinner before we were off to hear novelist Susan Vreeland speak about her latest, "Luncheon of the Boating Party." Rare perfect timing. It is always questionable when driving into our nation's capital during rush hour. We hadn't picked a restaurant yet, opting instead to choose from the ten cuisines, various decors, and as many price ranges once we got there. Perfect parking karma. I had a spot in front of a Thai restaurant and considered this a sign. Just had to meet our friend across the street and lead her back to our pick. We scanned the crowd as we walked across the street. No friend. We scanned the crowd of commuters coming out of the metro stop. No friend. I called her back. She was in the Starbucks on the corner. Great. Walked in. No friend. Uh oh... a sinking feeling as I mentally read back my email sent earlier confirming our rendezvous time and place. I couldn''t remember putting SE after 8th Street. I committed the tourist's ultimate sin of navigaton in Washington DC. I didn't specify the quadrant! Doesn't help there are 92 Starbucks within a five mile radius. I called my friend. "Uh, are you at 8th and Pennsylvania, NW?" "Yes." I dropped the SE word on her. It's always good to refresh one's Italian driving technique. I actually hope sometime to use it again on real Roman roads. With my best autostrada skills I drove north and west on Pennsylvania past the Library of Congress and the Capitol and a few Capitol police cars, past the Botanical Gardens and the National Museum of the American Indian, crossed the National Mall and swung left at the National Gallery. We were a scene from National Treasure. Without the hanging from a van door of course. We arranged to pick up our hungry friend at the National Gallery EAST, drove back to First and C, SE and found a cozy, quick Mexican restaurant for dinner before heading to 12th and Independence, SW. Good times.


Kevin said...

Mrs. O,

Thanks for posting a comment on my blog!

I think it's very cool that you're participating the in this Slice of Life thing. The title of this post is extremely clever and reminds me of all kinds of differences between how a tourist gets around and how a local gets around. It's safe to say I've been lost many times so far in Europe.

The story about Julie in line in Paris is great, especially because I can really imagine her skipping around and blowing bubbles, even today. It's so true that one can make so many friends through such simple things; A few American friends and I were at the train station in M√ľnster with 45 minutes to kill before catching a train. I threw 50 cents in the toy train set there and started playing. People walked by and stopped to watch. We ended up meeting many people, including a South African exchange student and a group of teenages with whom we had a fascinating discussion about national identity.


Blink said...

Kevin- way cool you are having this year in Germany. Thanks for the shout back. I think you ought to bite the bullet and get a Goofy Bubble blower:) You will be set socially for the rest of your exchange time in Europe, not to mention when you arrive at the McIntire School of Commerce next year. Keep in touch.