Thursday, April 16, 2009
Yesterday was cold and rainy, and today the sun was shining through a cloudless sky and it was warm enough for shirtsleeves. I decided to take a break from the Mall and go to Georgetown for a meander. To get there, I caught the GUTS bus at Dupont Circle, one of several routes between the university and various neighborhoods. It's free, but if you don't have a university ID, you have to sign the visitor log, on a clipboard. Who know what they do with it at the end of the day. I wrote that I was going to visit the Literature department. I figured if anyone chased me down for questioning, I could wave my BA in comparative literature in their faces. I might have to find it first; I really can't remember where I put it.
Lots of red in Georgetown. Red buildings, red-faced joggers somehow not twisting their ankles on the uneven red brick sidewalks. I walked through the Healy Building on campus, which has a grey brick exterior, but a red brick interior. It also has an interior courtyard with a fountain, which was gushing pink water. No idea why, but there were a couple of maintenance guys with their maintenance golf cart standing by and poking around in it. I really didn't do much other than amble around. First on campus, then along the C (Chesapeake) & O (Ohio) Canal, then around the town itself, and then down Q Street back to home. The campus has lots of green grassy areas with benches, for people like me who haven't done their research before arriving and need to sit and read for a bit. It was such a nice day I kind of wanted to just take a nap on the lawns. Instead I got a cup of homemade ice cream (mocha chip), and then found a dollar bill on the street. Seemed kind of appropriate to place.
Georgetown is full of historic homes, but I wasn't really interested in looking at any of them. The only touristy thing I sought out were the Exorcist Steps - where Father Karras meets his end. I haven't actually seen The Exorcist, but wikipedia told me what I need to know. It's a pretty steep flight of steps - and if the horrid gaspy wheezing squeaky noises being emitted by GU's most motivated athlete after she crested the last step is any indication, coming up them is just as murderous as going down.
Hungry after all the walking, but too lazy to make anything, I went back to Ben's Chili Bowl for dinner (veggie burger topped with veggie chili and a cherry milkshake). Chili is the great equalizer. Ben's is full of pretty much every strata of society, happily noshing away, elbow to elbow, and a surprising number of them very well-dressed. I don't think there's anything healthy in there, either for humans or the environment, since the only non-disposable item appears to be the red plastic baskets food is served in. Doesn't seem to stop anyone, me included. The line was going out the door when I arrived, and the woman in front of me remarked, "Yeah, it can be hard to get in to Ben's." The place operates on chaos, behind and in front of the counter, yet everyone is served in due order, and in good humor. There's different rules for ordering food and paying for it, depending on where you sit. The easiest thing to do is find room at the counter, because you can order directly there, without bothering to stand in the interminable line at the front used by both others dining in and taking out. Plus you get to watch the behind the counter madness, with an army of workers working the food stations, dishing up red baskets of greasy grub, communicating over the dull roar with customers standing behind those seated at the counter, all the while managing to not crash into each other. While I was waiting for my food one of them made some small chit chat asking how I was doing while he was filling some drinks. Turned out it was the owner himself, which I didn't find out until later. I ended up chit chatting in turn for a bit with the guy next to me. He had recently moved to DC from NYC, so we discussed Louise Bourgeois and shared some tourist tips. I knew more than he did, but I find that's usually the case. Someone visiting Oakland could most likely tell me all sorts of stuff I don't know about.
Phew. I'm pooped out tonight. I'm supposed to be researching the Library of Congress, but all I've ended up doing is reading about 1970s horror films on the wikipedia.