Thursday, 14 January 2010
Washington DC: Reflections (Tread Lightly With Awe Inspired Steps)
Eva-Jane and I had a pretty amazing time in Washington DC, I'm not sure but I think it was my favourite holiday of all time because we were so close, sharing so many great historical sights; moving places to visit and experience, as well as great food, relaxing evenings out and my own personal homage to where Henry Rollins grew up; which Eva supported with such a sense of adventure it really drew us closer together and re-reminded me of why she is quite simply the best human there is. Ever.
We pretty much saw everything there is to see in the Washington DC area, from the big famous sites, museums and memorials to the more obscure bits and pieces that dot the place; in fact the only things we missed were President Lincoln's Cottage at Soldier's Home and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Visiting the neighbourhood of Washington DC homeboy Henry Rollins, walking the streets he did (does...when he pops 'home') and getting a feel for the man through the streets he pounded (Eva-Jane and I mused whether, if ever I become famous, people will trot around the streets of St. Ann's and Carlton on their own personal homage and how weird that would be and slightly dangerous as Rollins lived in a pretty nice area and I didn't...) was not my only personal pilgrimage. Thomas Jefferson is one of my great heroes and a visit to his memorial was a profound experience; as was our repeated visits (one in the evening and the other in the day) to the Lincoln Memorial. The visit to the US Capitol was also phenomenal, a real sense of history struck me and the great men and women that had walked and perhaps touched, the same walls and bannisters as I was.
Speaking of touch, unless a sign warns me not to, I have to, as I find touch the most powerful sense when I am looking at amazing sights, via touch I can transport myself, even if only a small piece of me, to the past and to humbly try and experience a small connection with that time, person or place. Speaking of a small connection, I love how the memorial to John Fitzgerald Kennedy is a monolithic arts centre, what a fitting tribute to a great man and as we wandered it's great halls and spaces; it was a profound joy to gaze into the eyes of Robert Berks' benevolent bust that denominates the Grand Foyer.
Of course, we saw in 2010 in DC, in a comedy club of all places, watching the great husband and wife team of Megan Mooney and Eddie Gossling, who had us laughing right into the new year, which I think is as good a way as any to start a new 365 day adventure.
On our last night in DC we went to see a basketball game and cheered loudly for the desperately bad Washington Wizards as they were unfairly beaten by a fine San Antonio Spurs team, of course we stood for the national anthem at the beginning of the game but I didn't know enough of the words to sing along, so just looked very serious and soaked up the great atmosphere at the game. Eva and I had such fun that night and you can see highlights of the game we were at right here.
While we were over there it was pretty damn cold and DC, like any city, has a lot of homeless and we'd see them hanging out in the freezing around our Metro stop Dupont Circle first thing in the morning and then in the same spot when we'd come back late at night, so we'd give them some money and whatnot. Anyway, Eva-Jane and I had a few jumpers and bits and pieces that we weren't going to be taking back to the UK so Eva, being a legend, came up with the idea of giving our stuff to the homeless guys and gals we kept seeing around the tube, so we did. It's funny, I'd have never thought of something like that but Eva just hates seeing things go to waste and has a big heart.
But I have got to have one bitch...forgive me. Eva-Jane and I got pretty pissed off with the behaviour of tourists (from all over the globe, including Americans on their own patch) at memorials, sites of mourning or at museums to pretty horrendous events, like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is so intense and has most people in tears, including me.
While we were visiting these deeply sacrosanct places, I could not understand how anyone could talk while they were shlepping around. I am always silent. Awestruck. If you shut your fucking mouth for once and stopped talking all that useless, time killing bullshit, you might be able to tap into the eternity and humanity that stands before you. Instead, people with their tour guides or headsets, or mobile phones or whatever shit they need to distract them from something far bigger than them, stomp around chattering their idiotic, ceaseless nonsense.
Speaking of tour guides...what is it with these people trying to be funny as they vomit out dimensions and facts that they have memorised. Repeating things read in books. The people who built these places were seeking something much bigger than a paycheque, they were building something that would stand for something, not unsharpened humour that barely conceals your boredom and fatigue.
My advice: tread lightly with awe inspired steps.