reappropriate

Sunday, January 23, 2005

James & Jenn Go To DC (now on DVD!)

So, as I eluded in my last post, electroman and I went to Washington, DC from Tuesday through to Thursday. Electroman had a first round interview and I... okay, I just wanted to tag along and see friends. Get out of Ithaca with him in a sort of belated Christmas holiday. Besides, it was a long drive and electroman felt uncomfortable doing it alone. Nevertheless, the whole trip was pretty much a comedy of errors. And we were, for the most part, laughing along. Tuesday, the day we were scheduled to leave, we were hoping to leave early that morning once we got the car. But, Monday afternoon, electroman calls me at work. Turns out, Mr. Knight, his usual barber isn't in the shop. It was MLK day and a blizzard, but neither of these factored into our plans, so electroman found himself the day before the big road trip with a big, badass 'fro that just had to go. We tossed around a few solutions but the only one that seemed to make sense was to wait around in Ithaca with the car until Tuesday at 1:30, when Mr. Knight was scheduled to come back in, get the haircut, then book it to DC to try and make it in before midnight. Which is exactly what we did. We stayed primarily in northern Maryland, in a Days Inn that was surprisingly nice. Electroman knows I have this undefined elitist snobby crap going on where a certain level of nastiness will perturb me, so we were both a little worried, but it was clean and spacious and not bad at all. Besides which, the people were nice. We intended to hang with Wizard on Tuesday night, but because of the aforementioned barber drama, we didn't make it in until 10:30pm. Still enough time to hang but Wizard, because of his own familial drama -- he may or may not get into it in his blog -- he didn't feel like going anywhere. We made arrangements to see him the next day at work for lunch. Wednesday morning was another blizzard day in DC. Subsequently, it took us approximately an hour to drive from College Park to White Flint (I only know how to navigate DC using the Beltway, incidentally), a drive that should take about fifteen minutes. Didn't help that we had no idea where we were going other than 'White Flint mall'; we were even using a pocket metro map to figure out where all the 'burbs were in relation to each other. I should mention at this point that electroman was wearing his suit for his interview. He actually doesn't own a jacket that works with his suit, so in the blizzard, he was waking around in only his suit jacket... Making it to the mall, we met up with Wizard and went to the Cheesecake Factory -- I've never been there before. And GOD I would love to go again. Friendly staff and amazing food. And my favourite desserts: cheesecake!! We left the mall later than we wanted to, and ended up giving ourselves roughly an hour and a half to make it to M street. I planned on going the Natural History museum to wait for electroman. We parked at the Grosvenor-Strathemore metro station (keep this name in mind! we didn't!) and hopped the metro, making it with plenty of time to Dupont Circle. I gave electroman the cell phone in case he couldn't find a cab and needed to call his interview people that he would be late, and I continued on to Federal Triangle. Meanwhile, electroman got out of the metro, and couldn't find a cab in sight. (Insert crude black man getting a cab jokes here). He ended up walking something like eight blocks (eight DC blocks, not eight NYC blocks) in the blizzarding snow, with no jacket on. By the time he got there, he said his hands had gone past numb to just hurting, and he couldn't move them until he ran them under lukewarm water for several minutes. If you want to know more about how his interview went, keep yourselves posted on his blog. Back in the Natural History museum, I was enjoying the galleries, checking out the insect zoo, the dinosaurs, and other wonderful exhibits. It seems like having free museums actually invites tweens to hangout -- which, according to my experience, is actually a bad thing. These kids aren't learning; case in point: there was this typical Neanderthal exhibit in which there were some semi-naked Neanderthal mannequins undertaking a ceremonial burial rite. As I read the plague, no less than twenty tweens wandered by and each screamed 'ewwwwww!' and other ignorant stuff at the sight of the poor plastic Neanderthal woman's exposed boob. Some proclaimed that they were cooking and eating the Neanderthal corpse, others wondered "why is that guy so hairy?!?". None bothered to stop and read the plaque. At around 4pm. I realized that I was supposed to call electroman to arrange to meet him in the Natural History lobby. I grabbed some quarters (and a yummy chocolate gelato!) and went to the payphone. And then spent twenty minutes struggling with the payphone trying to get it to call the Ithaca area cell phone, which apparently Verizon payphones have a hard time doing. After realizing it wasn't going to give me a rate if I just dialed the number, I tried calling collect, and even tried to call and pay with my credit card. They take MasterCard and AmExpress, not Visa, by the way. Luckily, we had made tentative arrangements at Dupont Circle before electroman got out, so I just hung out in the lobby and eventually he showed up. We had roughly two hours, by that point, before meeting SWK and ricecracker, from YW. We've never met, but we've spent time chatting on IM, and SWK is a Project Entropia hunting buddy. They live in the Arlington area, northern Virginia. Electroman insisted on going back to the hotel first to change -- and I don't blame him, he had nearly gotten frostbite due to the lack of jacket, and no one wants to wear a suit to a casual dinner. We made our way back to White Flint on the metro, and got off at White Flint station. We got out of the metro and looked around -- but things didn't look right. Immediately, we realized that we had gotten off at the wrong station, but we couldn't remember which station we HAD gotten off at. It took a minute to remember that we had passed the Strathmore conservatory thing immediately before getting to the metro station where we parked, so we got back on the metro, went back a stop and went to the car. We had parked the car in the parking garage, and gotten a little lost getting to the exit of the garage. Now, upon returning, we couldn't seem to find our car anywhere. Electroman started to think that the car had been towed, but I was certain that wouldn't've happened. We ended up wandering through the garage for twenty minutes before finally finding our car by backtracking the way we had wandered the first time when we had gotten lost looking for the exit. Getting into the car, we made our way to the exit, where we were told we actually COULDN'T pay with cash, and that we would have to get a Metro SmartCard, minimum balance $10. To pay for $4 worth of parking. By the time we were sitting out on the street, it was 6:15 and we had roughly 45 minutes before we had to meet SWK and RC. Grumpily, electroman conceded that there was no way we could make it back to the hotel in time for a freshening up and a change, and still even be remotely on time for dinner. So, after getting a little lost, we got onto the Beltway and made our way to Northern VA. And made our way. And made our way. Stuck in rush hour traffic, it took us another hour and a half to get to the Arlington area, and then we spent more time getting a little lost on the way to SWK and RC's place (we ended up calling SWK like six times, trying to find our way -- sorry! sorry!). Getting there at last around 8:30 or 9pm, SWK and RC treated us to a great curry dinner at a local Indian restaurant, and we chatted about YW and other topics. We went back to their place and watched this ridiculous and funny movie called Kung Phooey, a Canadian Kung Fu genre spoof. SWK and RC are great people -- y'know, I even want to use that 'salt of the earth' thing, even though usually that seems to evoke images of rosy-cheeked middle aged people. Still, in this case, it's apt. Electroman and I were pleasantly surprised that there are still nice, intelligent people left in this world, given all of the latest drama with some of our other "friends". We definitely want to hang again, if they'll have us, next time we're in DC. Anyways, after that, we headed home. We had hoped to hang with Wizard again that night, but because of the same drama he was dealing with in the previous night, he didn't end up wanting to hang out that night either. We didn't end up seeing him again while we were in DC. Got up semi-late, called Wizard to confirm that we couldn't go so far out of our way to catch him for lunch, especially because he got off at 1pm. We went to Ikea and splurged on a beautiful new coffee table, and headed home. We stopped along the way to see House of Flying Daggers, and got in near midnight. There was an irritating conflict with a toll person on the way home. But let's not get into how electroman nearly beat the guy's ass. Let's concentrate on the nice pleasant memories, shall we? Ahhh... yes, thus concludes the comedy of errors that was our longest roadtrip to date. It's kinda nice to be home.

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