Monday, November 16, 2009

Washington Bound and Flying

Woke up at 2:30 in the AM, left at 3 AM and got to the God forsaken Nashville Airport at 5 just so I can have the privilege of taking my shoes off for a complete stranger. In other words if you have a 7 o'clock flight you need to leave yourself plenty of time to get through security and then sit and wait for 90 minutes. At least the drive down was uneventful and we got to listen to such classics as "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Two Tickets to Paradise" on the drive down, both good signs.
Parking on the other hand seemed more difficult, no wonder you have to arrive at the airport so early seeing that the parking is designed as a labyrinth that would have had the Minotaur screeching into the night. Long Term, Short Term, where the fuck is Economy, twenty circles later we find it despite all the road construction and misleading arrows that seem to be pointing into space rather than a general direction.Nashville airport requests that you arrive 90 minutes early to get through screening which takes about 10. It might take longer if you are on a heavy iron diet or have ate some change the night before. Which means you get to sit or buy things while you wait because you are trapped in this damn place until they cattle herd you into your seat which is an apt description once you walk down the troughs only to find yourself in smaller and smaller confines.

We landed in Baltimore Airport after a rather uneventful flight other than trying to find our seats and being told by two guys wearing similar 80's Rock Star outfits that a couple of friends wore on Halloween that "There are no assigned seats, its Southwest Airlines Dude". I guess this is known too everyone but me so we take our seats in the ass of the plane so we can feel all the bumps. Which is lucky seeing that the random numbers that we had printed on our tickets would have had me seating in between Bret and CC and Ana's ticket had her sitting next to a 300 pound man wearing bibs and a John Deere hat who was presently taking up most of the three seats in the row.
Landed in Baltimore, peed, got to the baggage carousel and found our 600lb lead encased Brazilian Steamer Trunk that would in the days to come would try to drag me down 4 flights of stairs and would constantly try to bank to the left or the right. The wheels are just a trick that they use to sell the baggage making you believe in the illusion that you are going to easily drag this thing anywhere and everywhere you go. What you don't think about is lifting it onto trains, subways and buses with 30 people shoving you into the doorway. You think about gliding across that smooth terminal floor like on TV, confident in your baggage choice. The bag wasn't mine, it was Ana's, my $3 Goodwill Store bag would have been a much worse choice for the conditions.
Caught a shuttle to the Amtrak station so we could take the MARC train into Union Station, got behind two girls from Miami who had taken over care of a blind man who had arrived with us from Nashville. I had bumped into him earlier in the bathroom while I was washing my hands and he was trying to put on a tie. He asked me if I had any experience with a tie and I told him that no, I hadn't in awhile. He said he had only learned to tie one the day before and that now he was having trouble. He looked to be about 27 and was having a rough time of it to be sure. Now that I look back on it why would a blind man stand in front of the mirror to tie a necktie. After two or three attempts a voice came from one of the stalls that he could help, in a minute or two after he finished his business. I gave the blind man the only necktie advice that I know, after you get it tied don't take it off and undo it but rather loosen it up enough to pull over your head that way you don't have to tie the damn thing again.
We caught back up with the blind man at Amtrak and two Cuban
girls from Miami who had taken charge over him. Helping him with his tickets and out doors and over the tracks, trying to put him on the wrong train running him into doorways. It was only after we boarded the MARC toward DC with our 200lb albatross crammed between the seats and me seating Indian Style on top that we learned why the girls were there, for the Michelle Bachman protest on the Capitol steps later that afternoon. Michelle Bachman is the genius behind such things as Death Panels and required abortions and other radical right wing bullshit that just scares the bejesus out of anyone with half a brain. They just happened to bump into about 5 other people who were also there to protest, so for 30 minutes I got to listen to all those nice, fun, friendly diaper droppings that FOX News puts out every night on the TV. I even got to hear some old jems from the past from one old bastard with neck waddle "You know Obama is really a Muslim" bullshit that just will never ever die. I also got to hear the fun facts that we will never be able to afford health care and what about the deficit which up until January 20th I never heard on Republican complain about. I guess spending a trillion dollars in Iraq was justified but making sure people in your own country who work for a living can afford to get health care and not go bankrupt is just horrible. My point is being stuffed into a aluminum breadbox for 30 minutes with people that you really oppose on almost every level isn't fun but then again this is Washington DC. You can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I will say this for old waddle neck man, he did say he didn't like Glenn Beck because he was too emotional.
We found the Metro Station and ran into a few more people with huge protest signs with shit eating grins. End those crazy socialist entitlement programs now but please Public Funded Police Officer can you tell me how to get there on the Public Funded Socialist Metro....
The Metro is a marvel, huge ceilings and very clean the ticketing on the other hand leaves something to be desired. You have to figure out where you are going to go from point A to B and get the amount it will cost cause not every stop cost the same. Unlike say NY or Sao Paulo where you just buy a ticket and take the ride to where ever you want to go in DC you have to use the same ticket to get out as you did to get into the station. Which means if you got on the train for a stop and during your ride the rates go up because of rush hour then you have to pay more to get out of the station. Actually I think it is just a way to fuck with tourists which it did until we got an all day pass.
After dropping the bags off and checking in to the Days Inn we headed over to Arlington to see the Kennedy Boys and my cousin Robert E Lees old haunt. That and walking around Arlington is peaceful after a day of running after planes, trains and automobiles. As the sun was setting we decided to go to Georgetown via a $1 shuttle that takes you through the town. We stumbled around in the dark, avoiding bums who had the foresight to bring chairs with them and walked around seeing the sights in the ever diminishing sunlight. Starving, we hadn't ate since we left Nashville we zombie walked into a Johnny Rockets and sat next to 6 mall girls all with cellphones and blathering about God knows what. You can't pick up things like teenage girl conversations when you are exhausted and hungry. Tell you the truth I can't understand them when sober and full of energy either. If the word "like" were stricken from the English language most teenage girls wouldn't be able to like talk or like make complete like sentences.
We got a ride back to Dupont Circle and hopped onto the Metro back to our hotel. I sat across from a black bum who kept repeating to the Asian man/woman in a Rascal "You ain't goin to die, you ain't goin to die. I'm going to get you to the hospital". The Aisan man/woman on the Rascal ( I say it was a man, Ana believes it was a woman) was reading a book and finally after 2 stops of listening to this repeated gently eased his/her Rascal over a few feet to get away from the bum. Meanwhile a well dressed Indian woman got up to the doors and the bum started jabbering about foreigners stealing our jobs. The woman closed her eyes trying to block out the ramblings until her stop from which she walked through the doors with grace.

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