Saturday, November 24, 2007

from D.C.: southern comfort

I am in the south. I think of it as such. Even though it’s really quite cold here today, in my mind D.C. is bringing up the south.

We ate breakfast foods at our favorite local place. And I had what I would never have back home – poached eggs on muffins and fried green tomatoes, with a splash of tomato hollandaise. And a huge side of cheese grits.

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And then we traveled more south. Of the border. To the quiet of Virginia. And the pretty streets of Alexandria.

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But it was cold. We headed toward Misha's for coffee. It's a place where you can read and take in a steaming sip of a brew, with bites of pound cake. And chocolate chips. Or carrot cake. He's eating carrot cake.

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A walk down to the Potomac, then up King again, to catch a ride back to D.C..

Looking out, we watched the full moon come out from under cloud cover, right over the Capitol. Not a good enough photo for Ocean, but something worth mentioning nonetheless: this city is elusive to me. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the moon on a foggy night, monuments appear and disappear as I move from one set of blocks to the next. People, too. Tagged, always tagged with I.D. cards, they move quickly. In and out of buildings. Nothing is out in the open. It is a city of secrets. Of Pentagon and FBI and Supreme Court private discussions. Of the everyday lives being hugely touched by what goes on behind closed doors. Soldiers on the metro. A man sweeping a gutter in Georgetown. Another shouting to the bus that refuses to come at a stop on 14th street.

An ambulance screams across M street. And another. Visitors, like in Paris, there are always visitors. Asking for directions, for places to eat, for bars to drink in. Could you tell me?... Could I? Do I know this town well enough to pass judgment? It’s getting to the point that I do.