As I stood on line Monday night at a Haagen-Dazs just two blocks from the Verizon Center arena in Washington, D.C. (Hall and Oates were playing that night, who knew they could still fill arenas???), I struck up a conversation with a family of five that were all wearing yellow T-shirts saying “Wilson Family Takeover 2017.”
Using my Einstein-like powers of deduction, I figured they were all here for a family reunion. I was right. After talking for a minute or two, I decided to take a shot.
“Now that you have taken over things, any chance all you Wilsons can go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and take over the White House?”
The dad laughed and said “Man, I would love that. The whole family would love that!”
We laughed, the kind of laugh those who are doomed can share.
Yep, my wife and almost-3-year-old spent the last two days in our nation’s capital, where I had some version of that conversation at least four times. There is so much awesomeness here in Washington, one of my favorite American cities. But even as we walked around and visited the sights, I couldn’t stop thinking that a lying, arrogant man with no morals and no high regard for anyone but himself, who would sooner die than admit he was wrong about something, lives in this town.
I know, I know. It’s temporary, and the city truly is fantastic. It just put a slight damper on things, that’s all.
A few thoughts on a few fun days in the land of the Capitals, Wizards and Nationals…
— Sightseeing stuff first: As I’ve been to D.C. many times before but not in five years, and knowing we only had two days, I wanted to see the “new” monuments first. Was super impressed with the architecture and simple power of the World War II Memorial, and the powerful words engraved on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial were also terrific (my favorite MLK quote I saw there: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
— Also spent too short a visit at the National Air and Space Museum. Our little guy was a little overwhelmed by it, too much to see and do. But we saw a way-cool exhibit on the Apollo space landings and got to walk around inside a rocketship. Which was cool.
— The highlight of the trip, though, had to be Nate’s reactions to the D.C. Metro. He loves the NYC subways but this was something totally new and exciting for him, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been as excited by anything as he was to ride the “subway trains,” as he called them. He would yell “doors are gonna open!” when we pulled into a station, then yell “some people getting on, some people getting off!” He loved spotting another train passing on the opposite side of the station and waving at it, and even Tuesday night, exhausted, he squealed with delight at almost every stop.
Seriously, we should just move into a subway car. Kid would be ecstatic.
— Never in past visits to D.C. have I noticed so many Nationals caps, jerseys and shirts. Having a first-place team tends to bring out all the front-runners.
— One of the occasional perks of having a cute kid: Waitresses do nice things for you. Breakfast at our hotel restaurant, with the full supply of pancakes, waffles, etc., was supposed to be paid each day separately. But after Nate was done flirting with our delightful waitress Tuesday morning, she brought over a voucher for free breakfast for us. Totally unexpected and so generous of her.
Glad my kid smiles at people…
— Finally, a hidden gem you shouldn’t miss if you come to D.C.: The National Building Museum. My wife thought we would like it and she was right; it has lots of play room and activities for kids, dealing with blocks and building and design, and there were several very cool exhibits for grownups. Totally worth your time.
** Finally today, my good pal Abel is proudly from the Detroit area, and stuff like this burns him up. But it’s not just a local thing, it’s a greed thing that so many cities and sports owners have pulled over the years.
The city of Detroit is trying to lure the NBA’s Pistons back, trying to persuade them to leave the suburbs where they currently play and move into a sparkling new arena downtown, set to open this fall. To do that, the Detroit City Council recently approved $34 million in payments incentives that sweetened the offer, and the Pistons will indeed be moving.
As if that isn’t ridiculous enough (really? we need to PAY sports team owners city money?), check this out: The money that is going to the Pistons and their billionaire owner Tom Gores was originally earmarked to help improve the city’s schools and parks. The schools in Detroit are $500 million in debt, but by all means, let’s give a pro basketball team some money.
Shaking my damn head. Detroit City Council ought to be ashamed of themselves.