DC is a strange place.
I’ll admit I’ve had my misgivings, especially lately as I’ve felt more homesick than ever before. But today was a quintessential big city DC day. That is, in the sense that it was eclectic and unpredictable. Or, more appropriately, it was a day punctuated by smells and sounds of memories of home and happy places. That, my friends, was very unexpected. And, er… eclectic.
Actually, I guess it began yesterday when I stepped out of the metro tunnel to the sound of a saxophonist playing “How Great Thou Art.” That is a song I regularly sing in the shower (tmi?). I was thrilled to end a long day with that beautiful hymn on my mind. It played itself in my mind over and over again all evening as I ran erands to the dry cleaners, the grocery store, and finally to Panera to get soup for my sick husband.
Today as I walked from my office to the metro station, the weather was perfect! I had to work late due to a last minute high-priority request from the Chief, so it was darker than it usually is on my .5 mile walk. It was dusk and a Florida-esque 60-ish degrees. In my skirt and boots, I walked with my coat unbuttoned and watched the sky fade. I enjoyed the faint grey-ish blue-ish of the air around me, the non-distinguishable white noise around me, and the biker who rode his clikity-clakity 10-speed past me. The sound reminded me of days spent riding my bike up and down Fairfax Avenue in South Florida. Right down to the twilight sky and warm-ish, cool-ish air.
Then, as I neared the metro, there were 2 cars that had clearly just collided in the last 30 minutes or so. Yet the drivers were out of their vehicles chatting like old friends. Their cars were both severely damaged, but they talked and laughed as if they, too, thought only of the beautiful evening. I walked on and saw 3 friends walking shoulder to shoulder along the sidewalk across the street. The one in the middle was reading as she walked, being led trustingly by the 2 friends that flanked her. The catch? Both friends relied on white-tipped canes to guide their way. It was the blind leading the very much able to see. Only in a big city.
Finally, in my last moments as I turned the corner by the flower stand and Obama street merchant, I passed a man wearing a tweed cap and smoking a pipe. The pipe tobacco was sweet and pine-y. It lingered and I enjoyed it, remembering many nights in our North Carolina cabin when Daddy blew smoke rings into the air from his pipe. As I got older, I was able to relate that experience to new things, and my reminiscences now trigger thoughts of CS Lewis and his pipe.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t still get homesick or fight for contentment, often losing the battle to tears… But this evening smelled a little like home to me.
And in other news, I had an epiphany! I now realize why we have the phrase, “sticks out like a sore thumb.” I met a man today whose right thumb was at least 2 inches in diameter – I literally think it might be about the size of my wrist. And it was grey. I am ashamed to say I had trouble not staring at it. I am transparent and curious – two traits that do not get along. But now I understand that phrase… Hence, the epiphany…
Oh, and PS – I wrote almost this entire blog on the Metro on my Blackberry while listening to “Give Me Jesus” by Fernando Ortego on my iPod. How’s that for a study in contrasts and modern technology?