Monday, September 12, 2016

Washington, D.C.: Arrival

Metro escalator up into D.C. June 2016.

The pick-up

I arranged with Suzanne that upon arrival in D.C., I'd take the metro from the airport to the Metro Center stop, then she'd pick me up in front of the National Portrait Gallery after she got off work.

Escalator memories

Emerging from the belly of the metro, into the light of the capital, it made me smile. There was the appreciation that I'd arrived, of course.

In 2007, a metro stop, don't remember which one, had a "singing escalator." Something to do with the mechanics of this escalator's movement up or down + the acoustics in its surrounding tube created an enthralling musicality that might come from a flute or maybe a high-note string instrument.

In the early 1990s, when my daughter was about 13, I brought her to D.C. with me for a business trip. It was she who had to figure out how to get our metro tickets. Decades later, the metro now has cards, and I needed the assistance - again - of someone to get the process sorted.

Daughter in D.C. The Sulky Years. Circa 1992.

And I never think about D.C. without remembering the priceless photo of said daughter as she shot heat-seeking-missile eyes at her mother during a turbulent moment. Ah, the adolescent years.

The Chinese encounter

I had time to kill before Suzanne picked me up, and I was thirsty. I went into a McDonald's, which was hopping. I ordered my drink and found a table, where I intended to nurse the drink and establish my "customers only" qualification to use the restroom.

A small, spare woman sat next to me and I smiled at her. This opened a door, apparently, through which she bounded into my "house," as if we were best childhood friends who hadn't seen each other in years. However, she was originally from China and spoke very little English, and I, of course spoke only one word of Mandarin "ni hao" - hello.

But suddenly we were both looking at our smart phone translators to have a conversation. She took a selfie of us. At first, it was fun! Then she wanted to tap our phones together to exchange contact information. Yikes! Wait! What? Am I a mullet in D.C. and about to be sucked into some scam designed to relieve me of my money? Even if not, this relationship was getting a little too intense for me, so it was time for me to go.

I still have my version of our selfie, though.

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