Friday, January 16, 2009

Things to see and do in Washington

The weeks to come are going to be busy out here in Washington. There's a big event, perhaps you've heard about it. It's on January 20th and it's called Incredible-Nuisance-And-Unusual-Gathering-U-Really-Aughta-Think-Intensely-of-Nomadizing; most commonly referenced by the acronym INAUGURATION.

[Okay, nomadizing was a stretch, but "not being around" would ruin the acronym. ]

I am truly afraid of the crowds that will descend upon this city next week. I do not have to work either of my jobs, as most employers do not expect their employees to be able to travel to work that day. Even the bookstore is closed for inauguration day. When a retail outlet closes the doors on a day they could make a ton of money, that says something about the chaos to come. I have four days off of work and was considering a trip to NYC but the budget is busted after Christmas. I also have friends from Iowa coming in for the inauguration so it'll be nice to see them and catch up. The next couple of weeks will be busy.

Tomorrow I have tickets to see the Washington Capitals play the Boston Bruins. I'm sorry to admit I've become a degenerate gambler since I got here and I made a bet on a hockey game with a Flyers fan last month. The Flyers beat the Capitals 7-1 and to pay up on my bet, I had to buy the tickets to the game tomorrow. So, I will be at a Capitals game with a Flyers fan watching the Bruins play my team. Makes sense? No. This is why you should never gamble. You'll be out $30 like me.

The aforementioned Flyers fan lives in Virginia Beach but works in DC at times. I don't really know him that well, but I am so desperate for hockey friends that I overlook the Flyers thing. (Actually, five of my hockey fan friends are for other teams... Devils, Islanders, Hurricanes, Flyers, Bruins. Damn. I need new friends.) Anyway, Flyers Fan is in the Navy and tomorrow he invited me to go with him to Arlington National Cemetery before the game.

He had told me a few weeks ago he was coming up to put flags on some graves at Arlington and today he invited me to come along. Knowing that he's in the military, I wasn't sure how to respond. I asked if they were friends of his and he said a few members of his team were killed in Baghdad in 2007. When he comes up here he always tries to stop in Arlington. It seems like such an intensely personal thing and my first reaction was not to go. He said it was just a quick visit, "nothing mushy," and he asked if I have ever been to Arlington before.

The truth is, I have lived here for six months and I have not been to Arlington Cemetery. I have not been a lot of places yet, for that matter. So, I will work on changing that starting tomorrow. It's supposed to be cold, so I don't think it will be a long visit, but I'm interested to see how things are going to go. My first visit to Arlington will be with a member of our armed forces, visiting some of his fallen comrades. My first reaction was to stay away from this personal occasion. After some serious consideration, I can't think of a better way to see the grounds. I have quite a few friends and loved ones who are in the military or are veterans. I could have taken a tour of Arlington Cemetery at any time as a tourist but I never did. In a way, I am kind of honored to be able to see the cemetery like this rather than in a group of tourists, gazing at identical gravestones while paying my respects. I'm a little glad I haven't rushed out to see the sites in DC.


[F]oxymoron said...

Nomadizing... catchy!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe they shut down B&N!

Chris French said...

next time you log in and check this, think back to Leland in 1982, and email me. :) chrisfrenchnyc / at / g mail dotcom. :)