Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Morning Commute

I thought about this after dropping Monkeyboy off at sports camp today.

From the time I drop him off until the time I pull into the garage under my office, I pass a lot of cool things. I sometimes take it for granted. Today, I didn't.

Fort Myer - This is the home of the military unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknowns, and that helps solemnize far too many funerals at Arlington lately. It is a great honor to serve here and it draws the best of our best.

(If you want to know more, rent Gardens of Stone. It's a classic. Coppolla directs. At the top of his game. James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Fishburne and a host of others show you what real movie acting is supposed to look like.)

The new Air Force Memorial, overlooking the Pentagon - Words are inadequate here. This is the Capital Area's newest, and most beautiful, memorial park and public sculpture.

The Pentagon itself - pretty gol' darn impressive building, all in all.

9/11 coulda been even worse if it wasn't. That side of the building had been refurbished and reinforced just half a year before the attack. It saved a lotta lives.

The rebuilding effort was inspiring. All of Washington was rooting for the builders to meet their deadline of restoration within a year. Working day and night, they met it and we all cheered.

Unless a local shows you, you won't figure for yourself which of the building's eponymous 5 sides was hit.

The 14th Street Bridge - The one the plane crashed into. The one Howard Stern made the joke about (calling an Air Florida ticket agent live, the next day, to inquire about the cost of a ticket from National to the 14th Street Bridge), which got him fired, which unleashed him on New York and then on the rest of the world. The Law of Unintended Consequences can be a bitch.

The Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin - Beauty itself during Cherry Blossom season. And very pretty all through the year.

The Washington Monument - It's actually a little silly. But cool nonetheless. I kinda like the fact that it's two-tone. For 50 years or so, it was the Washington Stump. Then, later in the 19th century, fundraising was renewed and the great --- and truly impressive --- obelisk was completed.

But the delineation between old and new marble is hilariously obvious. When our national politics are going badly, I look at it as a hopeful metaphor.


dmarks said...

LAst time I went up it, it was "caged".

Moonbeam said...

What a cool commute you have. Wow, what a place to be stuck in traffic along the way, on a clogged road day. I am glad you took time to write about what some of us have never even seen yet in person, and not take it for granted. Cause, its cool!

Your stories are great. Hey, maybe you should start up David in Dc's tour guide a side line. Oh..and the cherry blossoms are gorgeous.

Churlita said...

I've never been to DC.

My morning commute consists of me walking 10 blocks to work in residential neighborhhods and then through the University. Boooo-ring.

mielikki said...

Those pictures, and a certain motion picture I saw this week, brought back a lot of fun DC memories. And I, too thought the marble delineation was painfully obvious. But yet, hopeful.

Anonymous said...

It's a nice town inside the ring..

I wish I had a scanner so I could get some of my black and white photos posted. I took about 7 rolls of film in DC. The stark difference between the inside of the city and the outer reaches is what I found most amazing, what a contrast. I will never go into the "alphabet streets" again.

laura b. said...

The only thing my commute has going for it is the industrial bakery that I pass if I don't take the freeway. The smell in the evening is incredible.

midc said...

Of course the washington monument building is silly thats why its unofficially called "the giant pencil"!!!!!!!!!!!

David in DC said...

dmarks: the way they shrouded the refurbishment of the monument was actually pretty cool. They gave a lot of thought to the design elements of the shroud, whose visible pattern echoed, in oversized form, the masonry of the actual monument. Target sponsored it and, as I understand it, rebuilt, at reduced size, the whole shrouding system for display somewhere near their HQ.

moonbeam: As always,thanks for your kind evaluation. You know how it bouys me up.

churl: sorry bout that. On the otherhand, you don't have to wade through 45 minutes of gridlock in each direction each way.

mielikki: glad to spark happy memories of your visit. As you know, my series of touristy type posts started in response to your then-impending trip to washington. Glad you see the marble the same way I try to.

e-e: the demarcation between nice and yucky is way more complicated than just "the alphabet streets." A principal failure of generations of development policy (or non-policy) is the lack of prosperity east of the Anacostia River.

Parts of P Street, NW are pricey homes and boutiques. I wouldn't send my worst enemy to parts of P Street, SE.

l.b. olfactory advertising is less despicably manipulative than subliminal advertising, but no less effective. Some smells are just soooo damn compelling.

MiDC: Hey, that's the father of our country whose monument you're mocking. Giant pencil, indeed. The obelisk is a symbol of great respect.

Remember our visit to the King Tut Exhibit? We saw pictures and models of obelisks all over. There was no record of any ancient Greeks calling them "the big pencil."

Oh, pencils, as such, handn't yet been invented? I guess that's true. And the exhibit seemed pretty weak on providing a record of the humor of 9-year-olds several thousand years age? Also true.

Hey, who told you you were allowed to have opinions?

Oh, me?

Teach me to open my big mouth. :)