Wednesday, November 21, 2007

from Washington D.C.: holiday travel

I know that news stories about people traveling around the holidays are supposed to project a mild (or even huge) feeling of misery liking company, a ‘we’re in this ship together’ moment where everyone is stalled, cancelled, or otherwise inconvenienced.

In the alternative, there are those who are inclined toward the sentimental. They read NYT or CNN (or whatever) accounts of millions traveling over the holiday and they mist up.

I find it charming – the idea that millions are heading toward a Thursday table. And that for millions there will be turkey meat and mashed potatoes on that table. (I asked in my law classes how many would be eating turkey – more than 90%; and mashed potatoes? 100% in the larger class.)

Last night the Midwest was shrouded in mists and drizzle and flights left but barely barely and it was close to midnight before I saw my suitcase (filled with pots and wooden spoons) emerge. I was one of the last to see mine rolling down. Patiently we waited. The final handful, in the end -- relieved.

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Today we ate non-holiday foods for lunch. Tofu and vegetables and iced tea in a Tea Shoppe off of Dupont. Yes, do note the iced tea – a beverage of summer, a cool-down drink. It’s warm in D.C. now.

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I brought with me old familiar recipes, standards. We shopped for ingredients, filling a cart and then some. My daughter and I lifted the cart and considered how much of its weight would make it to our stomach.

Outside, a guy was selling flowers – filling in for his brother who was taking a few days off. Each holiday has its colors. These are tomorrow's. (A phone call home: hey, do we need flowers?)

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I considered standing around, chatting up the flower guy. He seemed inclined. But I got sidetracked by Cliff "the Moose" who was handing out/selling Street Sense. He liked my camera, but he liked his own better. Nikon this and that, with Zeiss lenses.
$6000 worth of equipment. Nice, considering I am homeless.
Where do you keep it all?
Locked up!

He showed me his photos. Good stuff.

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On the roof of my daughter’s apartment building, there is a little terrace from which you can watch the sun set. And planes land. With people, coming home for Thanksgiving.

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