Washington is the perfect place to go to nurse a New York
hangover. It’s quaint and it’s pretty and it’s almost devoid of tourists. I
don’t know if that’s because I’ve come at some freak non-peak time of the year
– all I know is that it’s been glorious.
The funny thing about Washington is that everything is so majestic
– it really is – all the buildings, the IRS included, but as a whole, it’s got
a kind of little home on the prairie feel. Even the White House, which I
imagined would be quite austere, actually was a lot like a white HOUSE. I mean
it’s amazing and regal and any other synonym you can imagine – I’ve just used
the synonym function, there’s not much more – but you get the feeling that it
is a home. Someone lives there and snores there and goes to the toilet there
and brushes their teeth there. They’ve only just built a fence – just a prop
ladder against it and you’re over – and according to the tour guide from the
hostel, this was only because a few people tried to do knock and runs. I shook
my head and tutted with the rest of the group and wished I’d come before they’d
It was drizzly the whole of yesterday which was fine with me because all
I wanted to do was go to straight to the Smithsonian. I’ve wanted to go to the
Smithsonian since it was referenced in a poem we studied at uni. It was
probably very bad because I just googled it and nothing came up. But it’s a
tongue twister and the Hope diamond’s there, and Dorothy’s shoes too.
I walked through security at the Smithsonian and the security guy
had a stick that he kind of trawled lazily through my handbag while talking to
someone else, then pushed my bag to the side and yelled NEXT. Just to clarify,
this stick had no camera or detector or anything surveillancy at all, it was
just one of those plastic sticks they use so they can’t be accused of rifling
through your personals with their bare hands. So clearly it’s ineffective when you don’t look, no matter how much swirling you do. I certainly hope this security procedure is not used further down the road. That swizzle stick routine might work at Hogwarts, but it’s not going to cut it at the White House.
p.s. There is an older lady in my dorm that insists on talking to
me with one half of her dressing gown open. I would use the word confronting,
but I’m reluctant to considering I also used it to describe Auschwitz. Probably
breast I choose another adjective.
P.p.s. If there’s a pole here, it’s got a flag on it.