01 July 2008

Love in the time of tourism

Here: A little Love for your Tuesday morning, from a wall on 11th Street.

Today is the first day of July, and Old Man Summer still has some knives in his pocket. Don't make eye contact. Protect your face. He means to do us harm!

The swell of tourists is palpable these days, as the National Festival of Blowing Shit Up draws near. More observations on that to come. But I must say: One amusing aspect of tourist season is watching them interact with the uptight lunch crowd downtown.

And that's no slam on the locals, for I AM one of the uptight lunch crowd. But I try to stay mellow and laugh it off. Because it really is a good show.

Places like the Au Bon Pain at Vermont and L Streets are calibrated for high-capacity, high-speed breakfast and lunch business. All the customers are regulars, everybody knows what they want before they walk in, zoom-zoom, pay the cashier, out. Like an out-patient surgical procedure. Zoom-zoom.

Now, add to the mix a random sprinkling of sleepy tourist families (dad invariably in turquoise or margarine-yellow polo shirt: why, dad, why?) after just bumbling out of their hotels and, blinking in the sun, wandering towards the first visible source of muffins and coffee.

And WATCH 'EM, it's precious: None of these cats notice or understand those golden words that keep civilization alive:


That's what caused the fall of the Roman Empire, you know. As soon as the conquered subjects of Caesar stopped heeding the sign at Bon Pain that says LINE FORMS HERE, the monuments toppled, and the whole game was over.

Nevertheless. It's awesome to see the turmoil that a few visitors with faulty internal gyroscopes can cause at lunchtime. We must laugh, lest we cry...and go on some massive killing spree, and I just don't have that kind of energy anymore.

NO! Enough talk of killing! This post is all about the LOVE!

Speaking of all things lovely, head over to Prince of Petworth, where my latest guest-post is up, glorifying the newly-crowned Mrs. District Of Columbia. We had the great fortune to attend the regional pageant to crown that title (and that of Mrs. Maryland, but we shan't speak of that one).

Beauty pageants are not my typical scene, so it was plenty weird at times. But it was a blast, rooting for our neighbor and good friend Markette, who was in the contest. No spoilers here. Go read the thing.


mouse (aka kimy) said...

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around you a a member of the 'uptight lunch' group...or any uptight group for that matter!!

was just in your glorious town....since I'm no longer a resident, I guess I qualify -but I do try to pass as a native and am definitely taking one's proper turn in line....

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm with Mouse. Though carefully boundaries, you are hardly uptight.

Hang in there with the tourists because after the 4th, we're past the peak of the season. August on the mall is deadsville. I always love it then, even though it's so damn hot.