Friday, August 31, 2007

Mr. Snag Goes To Washington

Soon I slip the surly bonds of the Snag family and head to Washington for a few days. I love the place; the towering skyscrapers, the compassionate conservatives, the shit-covered monuments. There's something for everyone.

My work takes me there every year and I try to make the most of it. Most of my days are spent at meetings and luncheons, which typically feature at least one high profile guest. For example, one year I had the opportunity to hear John Boehner, (R-Crazytown), another Steve Case ("Holy fuck, they fell for it!"). Last year I moderated a panel discussion on "Putting Audiences to Sleep: A Practical Perspective."

Unfortunately, not all is fun and games and in the evenings I often find myself at one of the city's more popular eating establishments, wishing I had the expense account of an investment banker. Nevertheless, I'm usually able to eke out a couple of nice meals, even if I have to pocket the bread rolls for the next morning's breakfast in order to save enough money for some drinks. This year, as I have nothing more strenuous on the agenda than pretending to listen, I hope to get a snootful and stand screaming in faux-Croatian outside the White House until escorted away.

I love the museums too. My favorites are the Hirshhorn, the American Art Museum, and the graffiti exhibit at the Metro's Navy Yard station, although I think it safe to say I will never see anything I love as much as Philadelphia's Mütter Museum and its collection of medical oddities (motto - "Disturbingly Informative").

The only downside to this is I hate flying. It's not that I refuse to get on a plane or have to get drunk or medicated first. It's more a question of spending takeoffs and landings praying to the Supreme Being in whom I don't really believe and who's been hosing me on the lottery for years. (My best friend is convinced he's going to die in a plane crash and the only thing they'll find of him is his charred wallet containing a winning lottery ticket. I do not live my neuroses in solitude.)

I've come up with a solution, though, a theory that reading during takeoff suspends my disbelief in the impossibility of flight. It's this suspension that prevents me from encountering the end suffered by Wile E. Coyote when he looks down after running off a cliff. As if to assert his contempt for atheists, however, God typically seats me next to a human Chatty Cathy who wants to risk all of our lives by talking to me about some nonsense in a way that would cause me physical pain if I was at a tea party, much less shoved inside a cylindrical tube of horror. So, up we go into the wild blue turbulence while I grin inanely at my seat companion and chew on the inside of my cheek for courage.

Meanwhile, my hellish brood will be starting school as I pace the linoleum floors of our local aerostation. As one can imagine, my Lovely Bride is less than thrilled at the prospect of spending the first week of school alone with our children, whose attitudes are nothing to write home about under the best of circumstances. That is, in fact, my one consolation, knowing as the plane turns and banks and I stare with wistful panic at the receding ground below, it is worse down there.


fish said...

Let me know if you want restaurant or bar recommendations. I slum at all price ranges in DC. Also, although it sucks to actually pay for a museum in DC, the Philips Collection is definitely worth the price of admission (I think it is still $10).

Anonymous said...

When I'm in DC, I love to go to Spices on Conn Ave near the Zoo. It's affordable and delicious (Asian food, not all spicy).

Chuckles said...

Spices is ok, Mandos. I went to Soussi in Adams Morgan and was surprised that it was pretty damn good Middle Easter-ish. Snag, if you want to get a drink or even a whole meal with the Genius, I have an email address in my blogger profile. We might even get the AG to show up, if she can get over banning us.