Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Day Seven: Monday I woke up knowing it was my last day in DC, but knowing too that it was my vacation and I didn't need to feel pressure to finish the town off cause there was no way I could accomplish that. So I had lunch at a downtown pub with Stephen and a friend of his from work and then walked back to the National Gallery. I went in the East Wing this time and saw some amazing contemporary art. But as fantastic, abstract and surreal as it was, I had to return to the West Wing to have one last look at Degas et al. So I did. And then I went Christmas shopping in the Gallery's store.

After having satisfied my capitolist consumer fix, I returned to the capitol to lazily lay in a tree and listen to music. I had planned on cooking dinner for Stephen, Ryan and Kristin that night (after the debaucle the night before) and had a little time to kill before returning to Stephen's townhouse to start up the fire (so to speak - I don't actually cook with an open fire. The open stove proves dangerous enough).

Dinner was delicious even though someone who shall remain unnamed bought the wrong kind of soup for me to add to my famous recipe (I actually only know how to cook two dishes and don't deal well with change). Then Stephen and I went out for one last night on the town to see the monuments.

The monuments at night are almost cooler than they are in the day for several reasons. A number 1. It is literally cooler as the sun is down and the air blowing off the Poltomic is nice B number 2. There are fewer tourists and C number 3. It just looks rad with the lights against the night sky.Stephen made me read Lincoln's second inagural address since I'd skipped it the first time around due to crowds. We also saw the Korean War momument which was eerie at night. The Jefferson, Stephen's favorite memorial, was still serene and larger than life.

It seemed appropriate to end my trip with a visit to the monuments who so startled me when I first flew in over the city. Kind of like my fixation with cacti and palm trees here in Texas (absent in Missouri), the monuments always seemed like a fairy tale about some place where cool stuff happened that somehow affects me now. But as Al Franken notes in his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, "politics can be vicious and dirty and cruel. Or... it can be part of what makes us human." The monuments were a larger than life reminder to live as such. To live as if dreams really matter, democracy matters, human lives matter and dreams really can come true.

And that, my friends, concludes my trip to DC.

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