Once I get out of the Gallery Place-Chinatown metro station, I only have to walk about two blocks in the muggy D.C. streets to reach the air-conditioned walls of AARP. It’s a walk I all at once dread temperature-wise and look forward to entertainment-wise. It goes something like this:
Having escalated (I know that’s probably not a verb, but it should be) from the subway station, I emerge at the corner of F and 7th streets. I glance over at the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, marvel at its beauty for a hot second before I see the crosswalk ticking down in front of me. Crap. A glance at my phone reveals that it is 9:58. I need to get to work by 10. White lighted crosswalk man is counting down: 31…30…29… I quickly walk across the street.
I am walking among many other working folks: dressed in their nice shirts or nice skirts, striding with purpose to work. We’re moving as a collective unit to wherever we have to go. It’s nice to feel like I’m a part of their clique.
My route includes walking past the National Museum of Crime and Punishment and the scene usually looks something like this: throngs of displaced, confused tourists in brightly colored, usually blinding, shirts that say “Bleaker Middle School D.C. 2013.” It’s always a treat to see where the latest hoard has come from this time and which color they thought reflected their school spirit the most. It’s neon pink today.
As I attempt to navigate through the swarms of children and overbearing foreigners (a.k.a. nonnative Washingtonians like myself) who just don’t seem to understand the concept of a single file line, an ominous, yet somehow alluring song invades my ears and just really makes me in the mood for some crime and punishment. To keep the crowds entertained, the museum blares Michael Jackson or Elvis or some other sort of tune that just screams, perhaps literally, that ready-to-wreak-havoc atmosphere that prepares them for visions of crime and punishment.
Once I successfully bypass all of that, I make my way to the “death bricks” as I like to call them, speaking as someone who is inordinately uncoordinated in the foot department. At the end of my last blog, I hinted at how I am perhaps not so steady on my feet. I’m prone to Lizzie McGuire moments.
Well, let me tell you, the “death bricks” are my worst nightmare. They are a half block of a street that is paved with bricks that jut up in unexpected places and force me to ask myself every single day: WHO MADE THIS OKAY??? AND WHY HAS NOTHING BEEN DONE ABOUT IT??? I’m sorry, but I have already tripped enough in this city, and I really don’t want to remake my face. I am heavily considering writing up a note to ol’ Mayor Gray to try to get him to reconsider all brick sidewalks and perhaps go for the more traditional, AND NOT TO MENTION SAFER concrete.
Somehow though, this gripe seems to evaporate as I walk past “The Velvet Cupcakery” and a fro-yo and smoothie shop. I turn onto E street, which is less populated with vagrants in neon shirts or brick sidewalks, and arrive at work. I push open the large gold door, which is oddly heavy and reminds me of the far right door in Lower (you know which one I mean), which prompts me to ask again, WHO MADE THIS OKAY??? AND WHY HAS NOTHING BEEN DONE ABOUT IT???
Tune in next time for more trials and tribulations in the life of a city-girl klutz.
Photos by Katie Levingston/Gavel Media.