Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 338 - October 4th

The night of drinking earned me a slow start in the morning. I tottered upstairs from the basement where I have my own room and joined Shelley and Steve. They'd already read 2 of their 3 morning papers and I found the refrigerator stocked with the makings of a small feast in preparation for tonight's dinner party, all before I'd even washed my face. I aim to be as functional as them one day. But for the time being I am 22 and I had had a fair amount to drink last night. We talked about the protests in Hong Kong while I ate breakfeast (they were fasting) before they bustled off to synagogue.

Luxurious mornings are the best times and I was going to revel in this one. No waking up in yesterday's sweat, no packing up, and no journeying except between the refrigerator, my guest bed and the computer. Eventually though I did make afternoon plans so I wasn't a complete bum. The outside world was beginning to change as fall began to settle over the houses, trees, people. The hum and motion of city life didn't bother me as it had last night and I found myself even enjoying it. There is a certain freedom to being able to ignore the people around you--not from malice or negligence but simply because there is a tacit social subtext that reads: We're all just trying to get where we have to go and do what we have to do today.

For myself, I was meeting with Andy, a friend from college. We sang together in our a cappella group Momo and The Coop. He recently moved to D.C. We met at Gallery Place. Andy is all-American, a strong, strong kid with a deep voice, short blond hair and enormous biceps. He has the best boyish grin and the gentlest of countenances. We had lunch together at a Potbelly's then strolled about the National Mall talking of all manner of things and thoughts we've been having, probably my favorite activity with friends. I've missed being around those who know me already and the simple exchange of theories and dreams and ideas drifting between us. The National Mall is not what I expected. For some reason I held the image of gigantic stone slabs instead of the lawns of trim grass that it really is. City people were jogging and napping on grass, pushing strollers, gazing upwards at the Washington Monument and its majestic circle of flags, and walking. The day was blustery enough for flying kites. One man in particular was grappling fiercely with his kite, taking it on a nosedive then swiping it upwards again a foot from the ground, narrowly swerving around disaster.

The pair of us walked West towards the Lincoln Memorial. Two hundred others milled about the steps and feet of Mr. Lincoln's craggy figure and solemn face. As enjoyable as it was to be dwarfed by the great man's image, I liked even more the back of the memorial where it was sunny and quiet. Only a few people trickled back there and, leaning back against the white marble, I better felt the warm circle of friendship I was in. We imagined Lincoln animating at night and coming out here to sigh on the back steps of his temple, annoyed to be entertaining so many gawkers.

When it was time, Andy and I turned our steps back the way we came. I bought a creamsicle and ate it in front of the White House where Mr. Obama and his family live. Everyone is making a fuss about the Secret Service right now but I wonder how much of an overreaction it is. I mean, his motorcade escort can deploy miniguns from the top of the SUV's. I think they're pretty good at their job. Mr. Obama wasn't even home with his security detail when the recent intruder Omar Gonzalez breached the White House.

Andy walked me to the metro and I headed back to Shelley's house for the dinner party. Shelley, Steve and Bubbe got home around 7:30 and Shelley began setting out a traditional Jewish meal to break the fast. New York bagels, salmon, tuna, herring in cream sauce, cream cheese, fruit, mushrooms, cookies and coffee. Guests began arriving and soon the house was buzzing with 10-15 people. Shelley's grandkids were running around. The boys and men kept disappearing into the other room to watch the baseball game then returning to the living room during commericals where the women were socializing and to get more food. The game was actually pretty intense. The home team The Nationals were facing off against the San Francisco Giants. At the last inning the Giants managed to tie up the game and nearly made a second run before the game went into 9 more grueling innings. It felt good to socialize in a group setting again. I went to bed full, warm and happy. 

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