4th Of July On The Mall

For R.M.B.

How long it take to get home?

If you’re talking about having to navigate the metro, it wasn’t too bad, despite the crush of the madding crowd. We used the L’Enfant Plaza metro station, which has three entrances. The entrance nearest the Mall was mobbed. But we walked about four more blocks to another entrance (the one that I used to leave the metro station earlier that day), which was much less crowded. I was able to get onto the orange line without problem, and from there it was a straight shot to Rosslyn with no transfers. I’d estimate that walking to the metro took 15 minutes and then getting to Rosslyn took another 15 minutes.

But the metro car was packed, and when we stopped at other metro stations (Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Metro Center) people were pushing to get into the car. Even when I got off at Rosslyn, people were pushing to get into the car. I guess at Rosslyn, people had been watching fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial.

I don’t know how I.K. and E.N. fared because they took the yellow line to Pentagon City, but I suspect that they were able to catch a train even before I did. They were running to catch a train that had just pulled in.

I.K. brought some stuff to eat: baguette, multi-grain bread, spreadable goat cheese, roast beef, smoked salmon, seedless green grapes, cherries, olives. I brought cherries, chunks of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (which unfortunately neither I.K. nor E.N. ventured to try), chips, and some cookies from Switzerland that K.C. had given me. E.N. brought lychees (I.K. thought she had said “light cheese”) and ate only one; I ate all the rest! I.K. also brought a game named Loaded Questions, which we played after eating and before the fireworks started.

On my way to the Mall, I picked up a hard copy of The Onion outside the L’Enfant Plaza metro, and chuckled when I read this story: Area Grandmother Tries Indian Food. I showed it to E.N. and told her that it reminded me very much of her. I.K. agreed; he had independently read it and said that he, too, had thought of her. E.N. got halfway through the article, thinking it was for real, before realizing it was The Onion. She said that she had been asking herself, “What newspaper would print a story like this?” before looking at the name of the newspaper. She then read it, now with the understanding that it was a joke, and was chuckling, saying that it really did sound like her. (I’ll note that she declined to eat the salmon that I.K. brought, and the goat cheese was too sour for her. And when she tried Thai iced tea at Sala Thai this past Thursday, she recoiled, saying “No no no no no no…”)

Watching the fireworks on the Mall was surprisingly pleasant this time. In years past, I didn’t have such a good experience — it had been muggy and crowded, and might have even rained. But yesterday, we got there earlier, around 7 PM, and were able to find a good spot on the Mall half-way between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. And the weather was excellent — cool, not humid.

A girl sitting near us had a shirt with this written across the front:
How Do You Catch A Unique Rabbit? We asked her to take our picture (below), and also asked her to explain the saying on her shirt. She had to admit she didn’t know what it meant, but she hoped it wasn’t something “bad”.

The motivation behind such a shirt is that it would make a good conversation starter. If a guy had wanted to flirt with this girl, he could ask her to explain the saying on her shirt, and she could deliver the punchline; and the two could share a chuckle over a silly, clean joke. The joke even has a follow-up joke, so if the conversation faltered the girl could bring up the second joke. So, the shirt is a device offering an easy way to break the ice.

Some of my answers in the Loaded Questions game:

Jessie Owens

The Singularity


Other answers (not necessarily mine): neck (body part currently aching), cytomegalovirus and zoology (longest English word you can think of), panda and emu (animal you most enjoy seeing in the zoo), two (number of fights one got into), six and fifteen (number of books read in the past year), Catcher in the Rye and The Canterbury Tales (book read in school), bad salty lassi (drink that makes you nauseous), a gun and a certain hamburger (product you wouldn’t endorse), McDonald’s and KFC (favorite fast-food chain), orange and coconut (favorite jelly bean flavor).