When I was in graduate school, I dated a Catholic (with both a capital C and a lowercase one) girl. She gave me a book one year for a gift. It wasn’t just any book; it was a book she had read while she was still in high school. According to her, it was a book that changed her worldview and gave her insight into a topic she never expected to be interested in. Having attended Catholic school and grown up in a suburban Midwestern town, she knew very few Jews. In fact, when we met in 1996, I was the first real Jewish friend she had ever had. Fortunately, she was smart enough to know that we didn’t have horns or anything like that, but she still knew very little about the religion or the culture or the people. I am pleased to say that she is quite knowledgeable now, thanks in part to me, but also thanks in part to this book. Of course, that book was Leon Uris’s Exodus.
I dutifully read the book, and thought that it was very interesting. I must confess that I remember very little of the book 12+ years later. I do remember that I enjoyed it, and that I was glad that she had read it and understood a little better the importance to the Jews of a homeland, particularly after the Second World War and the atrocities that were afflicted upon European Jews. I am blessed that I was born in an era where anti-Semitism is at an historic low. True, there is still hate related crimes against the Jews, and, perhaps even worse, anti-Semitic sentiment still reigns, but fortunately, I have never really been personally exposed to serious anti-Semitism. I am also fortunate to have been born in the US, where arguably, I am more protected from anti-Semitism than almost anywhere else in the world. I also consider myself lucky to have been born in an era where the State of Israel has asserted her right to exist, and although too many people still die (on both sides), and there are still too many bombings, there isn’t war and the serious constant threat like from 1948 thru 1967. I have been blessed to have lived and toured Israel at a time when peace was the norm, and attacks were not…at least where I lived in Jerusalem. My friend SK may feel differently; she lived in the north and had to sit in her bomb shelter almost weekly.
I finally got around to watching Otto Preminger’s insanely long movie adaptation of Uris’s book (which was no slim novel itself). In a nutshell it was exactly what I expected. Bad acting, poor sound, obvious dubbing, and too many shadows of the cameraman (most obvious in the scene where Ari and Kitty kiss for the first time as they overlook the Valley of Jezreel). Nevertheless, it fascinated me to watch this epic unfold on my television (I can only imagine what it was like on the Big Screen). It amazed me how propagandist it was (was the book so much so as well?). How could anyone walk out of that movie and not say, “hell yea the Jews deserve their own land…and what’s with those awful Arabs? They were invited to live in peace and said no. F’ them. It’s their own fault.” Of course, the reality of the situation between the Jews and the Arabs was (and still is) much more complicated than Otto made it out to be, and there were other, centuries old forces at play.
I’m not ashamed to say that I got caught up in the moment of the movie, and I kept thinking, how exciting and romantic it would have been to be living back then, just before the birth of a nation. To be among the first generation who created a fertile, vibrant country out of sand and dust. It reminded me of what the Jewish people had to go through to get the world to have any sympathy whatsoever to allow the partition to happen, and what these same people had to go through in order to survive in an arid land with enemies on all sides. Just like the American experiment has baffled economists and historians, so, too, has the survival of Israel baffled all the naysayers. Logically, the country shouldn’t have survived the War of Independence, let alone any of the other wars. And yet, somehow it has. We could talk about God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We could talk about God’s promise that Jerusalem would never fall. We could talk about a myriad other explanations, but no matter what, the bottom line is that the State of Israel did survive, and she has prospered.
I think that the part of all of this that has been gnawing at me lately is that back then, I think everyone knew what they were fighting for. Ari claims to have dynamite strapped to the Exodus’s engines. If the British try to take the ship, he will detonate it, killing every Jewish man, woman, and child, as well as the British soldiers. When the Haganah commander finally decides that all children under 13 must return to Cypress to ensure their survival, he is reprimanded by those very children’s mothers. They would rather see their children die struggling to reach Palestine, then die behind barbed wire like some caged animal. I have heard stories that the #1 bus in Jerusalem (which takes you from town right to the Western Wall in the Old City) used to have grenades regularly lobbed into it. Back then, so the stories go, someone would immediately throw themselves upon it, sacrificing themselves to protect the rest of the bus. There’s another story I’ve been told about a soldier during the War of Independence. He was part of a demolition crew, and they were ordered to destroy a key bridge, lest the Arabs use it to get their forces across. After the explosives were set, it was discovered they had no detonators left. Knowing full well the importance of destroying the bridge, the soldier stayed behind. After giving his unit enough time to get to safety, he ignited the dynamite by hand, taking out the bridge, and himself with it. I’m not so sure that modern Israel has this sense anymore.
The Survivors—those who lived to tell the horrors of Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, and the other concentration camps—are dying. There are only a handful left. Likewise, those still alive who fought in the Haganah, the Palmach, and the Irgun are also growing fewer and fewer. The old soldiers who created the Israeli Defense Forces, the army that every other army studied because they did the impossible on a daily basis have all long since retired. The last war in Lebanon is an example of how things have changed in Israel. Ignoring America’s strong hand in the goings-on in that war for a moment, it was still clear that IDF command were at a loss of how to organize and lead a major war. This is not necessarily their fault, and ironically, it can be seen as a good thing: while almost every IDF soldier has seen some sort of combat, none, until the last war in Lebanon, had actually been to war. Israel’s current army is a mere shadow of the once fearsome army that broke the rules and impressed even its bitterest enemies. People today have forgotten what their fathers and grandfathers fought for.
This is not an argument about land for peace or anything like that. This is an argument of patriotism, of familiarity, of comfort. Israel is now 60. By strict definition, that is 2 generations. People of the current generation have forgotten what it’s like to struggle daily for Israel’s very existence. I don’t mean to negate or diminish the current situation of suicide bombers and rocket attacks from Gaza, but I would argue that this is not the same as having to stand guard 24 hours a day so that your kibbutz isn’t ambushed by the enemy. With all due respect to those who have lost loved ones in recent times, today is very peaceful compared to 60 years ago. And this has created a generation that has taken Israel’s existence for granted. Today, no one fights for Israel’s right to exist, or for its right to exist as one piece of land and not two states. Granted, there are still extremist Arab groups that still want to see the destruction of the Jewish State, but with the Jordanian and Egyptian peace accords and the official pacts, accords, and talks with the Palestinian Authority, it is becoming much more rhetorical than literal.
I am a hopeless romantic, always looking for an adventure and excitement. As with most things in my life, I was born too late. I doubt that I will ever find myself telling my grandchildren stories that grandchildren and even great grandchildren today hear from their grand- and great grandparents about what it was like in the late 1940s in Israel. I worry that I might actually have the opportunity. I believe that now is the time for the IDF to look at how it operated back then and learn from itself. If there is a 2 State agreement, I am concerned that our biggest fears will be realized and that there will be another war for independence. It took the United States 2 wars to convince the United Kingdom that we were serious about severing ties with the Empire, and it seems likely that Israel, too, will need to once again demonstrate her resolve to survive in the inhospitable climate in which she resides. Unlike the US, every war that Israel has fought has been for her very existence and independence, and a future one will be no different.
I pray that there won’t be, but, God forbid, if there is another Arab-Israel war, I pray that the old attitudes and feelings of pride will return to the Jewish people, and they will recognize and understand what they are saying as they sing HaTikvah:
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
I woke up on Saturday, and after (carefully) showering, I removed the old Band-Aids, cleaned the wounds with my hydrogen peroxide, and then got a good look at the new me. It’s actually kind of hard to see anything different, since there are sutures where the moles used to be, so there is still something holding their former place. I did notice a big concave area on my nose where the mole used to be. My dad says that it will fill itself in, but I told my older sister I may need to use putty to fill it in for her wedding pictures.
I laid pretty low Saturday. I went to McDonald's for lunch and then, since I was in the car anyway, headed up to Arundel Mills Mall. I was 2 hours too early for a movie, but bought a ticket for National Treasure anyway and walked around the mall. The movie was exactly what I expected, so it was quite enjoyable. The only problem was the guy sitting next to me with his grandson. I was terrified that the kid would be annoying, but it turned out the kid was riveted to the screen; it was the old man who fell asleep during the previews and didn’t wake up until about ½ way through the show. He was snoring!
On my way home, I called Windstorm, with whom I had already made plans to go out to eat. She said that she was too tired and wanted to sleep, so I called the ‘rents to see what they were doing for dinner, but my mom said that they had already finished eating left-overs. Then I called Windstorm back to talk her into going to dinner with me as we had planned, but she was on the other line making plans with other friends (typical). So, while I would normally be mad at her for standing me up when we had already made plans, I was OK with it for 2 reasons: 1) we went out to dinner a few weeks ago when she was here, and she hasn’t seen those people in a very long time, and 2) I really wasn’t in the mood to be social anyway. But I still gave her a hard time, so I’m sure she thinks that I’m mad at her about it, and I’m really not; I think that we both made the right choice and it’s all good. Actually, she didn’t get home until after 2 am, so I know I made the right choice. I got some Chinese carry-out (Beef Chow Foon), went home, and watched British comedy on Maryland Public Television until I fell asleep.
I was so cold. I could see goose bumps all over my arms and legs. My teeth were chattering, and I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. I was surprised I couldn’t see my breath. That I was sitting naked on my couch probably didn’t help. Finally, a commercial came on (I was watching Space Balls on The WB), and I got up to turn on the heat. As I walked toward the thermostat, arms wrapped round my frigid body, I realized that the sun was blazing behind my closed blinds. As the mechanism that controls the furnace neared, I had a flashback to several hours earlier. I was lying in my warm bed, snuggled under the covers, trying to pry sleep from my weary eyes. I had the radio tuned to WTOP to ascertain the coming day’s weather. As the memory played across my mind’s eye like a community theatre presentation doesn’t, I recalled that it was supposed to be in the 70s.
I couldn’t believe that I would waste the last of the Indian Summer days shivering in the altogether indoors. I bypassed the thermostat and headed straight into the bedroom, where I had already laid out my outfit for the day: blue jeans, an old crew tee shirt from my days at sea, a flannel button-down lumberjack style over-shirt, socks, and underwear. My combat boots were laying at the foot of my bed where I had left them days earlier. I quickly dressed, brushed my teeth, and walked out into the beautiful, warm sunshine that is so uncharacteristic of early November in DC.
After I started the car, I sat for a moment baking in the heat of the closed-up car. I closed my eyes, and for a moment, I felt like Ella and Tigger; I understood their obsession with basking in the sunlight, feeling the heat ooze into every pore, nook, and cranny of my being. Before I could ease myself free of this reverie, I was jolted back to reality with a dull clang of metal hitting asphalt. I got out of the car and discovered some odd metal contraption on the ground beneath my car, vomited out like a metallic hairball.
I figured that with this piece fully removed from the car (now I understood what had been making that odd noise for the past several weeks), it would begin to feel better. Nevertheless, I wanted to have that vet of cars—the mechanic—tell me that everything was OK, so I got into the car and drove all the way to Boteler Automotive in Beltsville. Half way to the mechanic’s, it occurred to me that I had no way of getting home. Too late, I was committed. Besides, the brakes have felt sluggish, and it needed an oil change. The only thing to do was to walk back to the Metro.
Hmm, I just noticed that every time I have one of these long, crazy weekends, it seems that Shining Starr9 is involved somehow.
Anyway, today started out OK; I got a late start but who cares. I went over to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland to use the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. I was looking for an article that Bobzilla suggested I look at. Wouldn’t you know, there was a football game going on. Now, as all of you know, in an ironic twist, I am not a sports fan, least of all college sports since they always come before academics, and I think that this country just doesn’t have its priorities right when it comes to education. So, I had to park a freaking mile away and walk and walk. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, so it wasn’t all that bad in the end.
I finally made it to the Library, got the journal I was looking for with no hassle, and read the whole article without falling asleep, which was no easy feat. This last bit is actually unfortunate; it was really an interesting article demonstrating how British music halls moved from sometime performers running the theatres and circuits to professional businessmen running the corporate business. He, the author, argued that this shift was simultaneously occurring in British big business and that the parallels are indicative of trends in late nineteenth and early twentieth century business practices. Sadly, he writes like an academic and it was just very boring to read.
As I was leaving the Library, SugarDaddy called me and said that he was interested in going out later in the evening. I told him my plans and he said that he would definitely be interested.
I met him at the Freer Gallery of Art, a Smithsonian Institution museum, to see an independent film called The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. He was a Chinese magician, juggler, acrobat, who played in vaudeville houses around the world. It was really good and quite interesting. I think that a lot could be done on him if he really is as important as the filmmaker (his great grand-daughter) says. I think I need to look more into him!
The film was preceded by two shorts, the first of which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. There is some guy preparing a dead woman for her viewing (I’m assuming) and a young boy is watching (I presume that he is the son). The mortician finishes clipping the corpse’s nails and washing the body. Then the boy asks to be alone, and when the mortician leaves, the boy picks up all the nail clippings. The scene cuts: it’s dark, so I assume it’s later, perhaps that night and the funeral is completed. We see in the darkness that we are in a kitchen and the boy comes in and opens the refrigerator. He is clad in sweats and tee shirt; I guess I’m meant to believe that he is ready for bed. He digs through the fridge, finds something wrapped in foil. He fixates for a moment on the aluminum-covered package, and just as he begins to open it, he scratches his head. (I wonder if this was planned or if he really had to scratch his head and the filmmaker just liked it.) He finally gets the foil off and it turns out to be a huge turkey leg. He begins to eat it slowly, then a little quicker. After another scratch on his noggin, he starts attacking the turkey leg, biting off pieces quicker and quicker. He never swallows or chews any of it. When his mouth is completely full he stops, leans his head back on the open refrigerator door, breathing heavily and wheezing. The credits roll.
The second short is actually by the same woman who wrote The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (she is in the audience this evening incidentally). Before the films began, the filmmaker gave us a little background on this particular piece. She said that it was written and filmed shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. Because she was still working on The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, this piece is heavily informed by that research, and it is a sister piece, so she is grateful that they are being shown together. The short is called Blue Skies, after the Irving Berlin song of the same title (from the play Betsy in 1926). This piece begins with a close of up of someone’s eye as tears pour out. The sound track is nothing more than this person sniffling, whimpering, and, making all those other irritating noises. Then the view cuts to a close-up on the person’s mouth. Then, to break the monotony, there is a knock at the door, and a white woman enters, goes to the crying person who we discover is Asian. The white woman pours water into a basin, and soaks some cloth. She wraps the crying person’s hair up, and begins to pull out clothing from drawers. She then helps dress the crying person, who is no longer crying, and finally pours a drink, the Asian person doesn’t drink until the white woman first sips it. There are scenes of the Asian person donning make-up: eyeliner, lip-gloss, and paint for eyebrows. The screen goes black, and with the sound of an old-time spotlight turning on, we see bright blue skies. Our Asian person, who turns out to be what I can only assume is an onnagata, appears and begins singing (well, lip-synching actually) Blue Skies as the credits roll.
After the movie, SugarDaddy and I decided to head out to Cleveland Park and have dinner at Ireland’s Four Provinces, or the 4-P’s as us yokels call it. I’m really not a big fan of the 4-P’s, but I haven’t been there in ages, so that’s where we go. Well, as is usually the case with Irish bars, there was a live band playing (The Sean Fleming Band to be exact). They were mediocre, but we stayed very late, and I consumed lots of beer. All in all it was a fun time.
Anyway, it’s almost 4 am and I need to go to sleep…peace out y’all.
I finally got around to watching Suicide Kings last night. LtL gave me the DVD back when he was cleaning out his apartment (see busy weekend part 2) to head south. I had a quiet evening last night, just washing my clothes, so I decided to stick the disk in and see what it was all about.
I have to say that it was quite engaging. I was surprised with the double-twist ending. I thought that I had figured it out twice, but I didn't expect the revelation. Then at the end, when the twist came, I was quite surprised. Overall, I thought that it was a very tight script, and enjoyed all of the actors' performances (even Christopher Walken who gives me the creeps). In fact, Walken should be doubly commended for his performance; a good 95% of it was him duct-taped to a chair, so there is little physical acting. I also have to say, after watching the various possible endings for the movie, the final one is the best and truest to the overall feel and tone of the movie (I think that that is pretty much what the director said, but he liked the first version of the ending best).
There are one or two scenes that are a little slow, but are actually important for the story. Also, by the time you start waving your hand to hurry it along, the action has started up again, and you are pleasantly back to the action. Also, I had a little problem with the wobbly camera effects. I know that it's supposed to be "artistic," but it just makes me a little queazy. Fortunately, it wasn't throughout the entire movie.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this flick, and I give it a thumb and a pinky rating.
I went out with Shining Starr9 last night. She made me do things I should not have, but I have to say that TGI Friday's has the best ribs in the world. Anyway, after dinner, we went to Lady Godiva's dragon lair, and we watched one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. It was the 1985 classic, Ribald Tales of Canterbury starring
All I can say is that it's totally worth watching this film, if not for the explicit scenes, then at least for the awesome soundtrack (Shining Starr9 said that it reminded her of that old game, The Legend of Zelda). And I must admit that the costumes were quite nice (not quite as close to period as the filmmakers would have you believe), as is true with the sets. I would say that the one thing better than the soundtrack is the (painful) quality of the acting. In sum, Jo Cose (who is not a maven on video porn), gives Ribald Tales of Canterbury two thumbs up!
All I can say is that it's totally worth watching this film, if not for the explicit scenes, then at least for the awesome soundtrack (Shining Starr9 said that it reminded her of that old game, The Legend of Zelda). And I must admit that the costumes were quite nice (not quite as close to period as the filmmakers would have you believe), as is true with the sets. I would say that the one thing better than the soundtrack is the (painful) quality of the acting.
In sum, Jo Cose (who is not a maven on video porn), gives Ribald Tales of Canterbury two thumbs up!
Today I am awakened by the clang, clang, clang of church bells (a setting on my clock-radio), but I was already on the way to rousing. I am very excited. I have never been on official travel before. I have never seen Orlando before. I have never flown in a non-commercial jet before. I have never seen Kennedy Space Center before. I have never seen a launch before. I am not very excited, I am over excited, and so I have woken up earlier than I need. It is 7 am, and I do not need to be at the airport until 2:45 pm. But I have lots to do.
It is 10:00 am and I’m showered, shaved, packed, and have eaten breakfast. I’m bored now, but it’s too early to go to the airport. So, I watch TV, talk on the phone, and finally make lunch. At 1:00, I leave for the airport, and of course, there are delays on the Red Line. I should have left earlier, but I make it to the airport, and the correct hanger, with about 10 minutes to spare.
We board the Cessna, an 8 passenger private plane that looks like a miniature Air Force One. It has the blue stripe along the fuselage and in big, bold letter is written “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” We are in the air and the land is falling away before you even realize it. It is amazing how fast these little planes go.
As we approach Kennedy Space Center, I can see out the cockpit window, and the runway looms ahead. I am told that it is the one that the Space Shuttle uses when it lands at Cape Canaveral. Even before I began working at NASA, I was a rabid, zealous, one might even say passionate, fan of the space program, and there is something awe-inspiring about landing where the Space Shuttle lands. We taxi off the runway and stop right next to the MDD, the Shuttle Mate-Demate Device, a machine that lifts the Shuttle off the 747 when it is ferried back to KSC. That, too, is amazing to see.
After getting to the hotel, checking in, and dumping our luggage, we are off to Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar—-a local restaurant-—for what we are told is one of the best places to eat in Cape Canaveral...if this is true, I can’t imagine what the rest of the restaurants in the Cape are like. I had blackened mahi-mahi. Most of the group had drinks before dinner, and about 3 bottles of wine were consumed throughout dinner. It will be a long night, so I choose water. A couple was our hosts for dinner, and they drove us in their cars to the restaurant. A word to the wise: if you have big, smelly dogs who shed all over your car, vacuum and fumigate before inviting guests to sit in it. I had to breathe through my mouth, and I still have dog hair on my black shirt.
After dinner, we return to the hotel to freshen up, and then it’s back to KSC to see where the MESSENGER mission will be observed, meet the director and his deputy, and listen to a lecture by the PI for the MESSENGER. All of this was very interesting, and the lecture was fascinating. I have forgotten how exhilarating it is to hear someone speak so passionately about their love (this is somewhat common in academia, but extremely rare in government. Think about it, how many people are impassioned by pushing paper and thinking up acronyms?). There is a nice spread of food laid out in the lobby, and I have some meatballs, a chicken wing, several stalks of celery, and copious, myriad, one might even say lots, of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Finally, around 1 am, we head out to the observation field. We are about 1 and half miles from the launch site, and next to the media with their cameras and cool vans. It’s not a very nice night with Alex off the coast of the Carolinas, and while we can see the Delta rocket lit up on the launch pad, the sky is overcast and foreboding. Needless to say, at T –4 minutes (and 2 minutes remaining in the built-in 10 minute hold) the launch is scrubbed due to anvil clouds (I am no meteorologist, but it seems dreadful, and I have images of Thor banging his hammer on these clouds). We are all upset and shuffle dejectedly onto the bus to return (again) to the hotel. I hit the pillow just before 3 am.
I am up at 8:30 and head upstairs to breakfast. Then it’s off to the lobby to wait for the rest of the group. I see the Leader in the lobby, and he tells me that we have permission from the office to stay tonight and try to see the launch again. As the folks come down to the lobby he tells them this and, to my surprise, there isn’t as much excitement as I had anticipated. The other guy from the office tries to contact the pilots to see if they can stay (for if they can’t, there’s no need to even discuss the possibility). In the meantime, we head back to KSC for our tour of the facility.
We drive all over the Center. We get up close and personal with Atlantis, and are able to watch technicians work on her as they double-check all of the black tiles that cover the belly of the Shuttle. We go to the huge 540 ft. building where they mount the Shuttle to the External Tanks. We see the original Launch Control for the Apollo missions (this is also where they filmed the Mission Control scenes from Apollo 13). We get right on the launch pad where they launch the Space Shuttle. Then we have lunch, and make our way back to the plane.
We all get on board, stow our bags, and strap ourselves in. The pilots taxi us out to the runway, and as they begin final preparations for take-off, they get a call from the tower that the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is closed and there is about an hour and a half delay. We aren’t leaving now until about 6:30 pm.
I take advantage of this time to get a lecture from one of the pilots on all the controls of the cockpit. I am as ecstatic as a kid in a candy store. I don’t get any of it, but it’s so cool. Because I’m in the cockpit, I’m not privy to the conversation happening in the cabin, but apparently the folks have changed their mind, and figure if we are going to be delayed so much, we might as well push on through and try to watch the launch again.
The pilots return to their hotel to get some more rest, and we return to ours to squat. We do not get rooms, and after relaxing in the lobby for about an hour, we head off to a movie. We see The Village. It’s not bad. Then we are off to the Outback. Finally, at about 12:30 am, the bus returns again to pick us up and we head out to the site where we were last night to watch the launch again.
Tonight it’s a clear sky. We can see stars. We can see the craters on the moon through binoculars. We sit and talk to the pilots. We sit and talk to KSC employees. We sit and talk to some media folk. Finally, the moment has come for Mission Control to make a decision. We hear over the speakers, “Green across the board, MESSENGER launch is a go.” We head up the hill and watch as the lights around us are shut off. The voice on the speakers says, “T minus 5, 4, 3, 2.”
Night becomes day as the boosters (6 of the 9) spark into life. The light from a mile and a half is effulgent, lustrous, one might even say bright. It burns the retina. The air is still, and the plume hangs in the sky like a white, puffy worm. As the rocket ascends higher and higher, we hear, softly at first, and then louder and louder, the sound traveling across the expanse. As the sound waves hit us, I can feel the fabric in my shirt and pants ripple with the force. Before you can even blink (or the burn on the retina fades), the rocket is almost out of sight. The fire fades as the fuel is spent. Just as the flame disappears, the other 3 boosters ignite and we can just see the original 6 disconnect from the rocket. Then all is night again, and the sky is lit by the moon’s shine alone. The plume still hangs in air, defying both gravity and wind.
After a moment, we board our bus for the last time. We all nap during the 20 minute ride back to the runway, and finally we are aboard the plane again. The wheels go up about 3:10 am. Almost everyone sleeps. I, however, stand just behind the pilots, and enjoy the view out the cockpit window. I see a lightning storm below us off our starboard side. We see a bright light in the sky that I insist is a UFO; the Leader informs us it is more likely the International Space Station, which can be visible from the ground (but we are 40,000 ft up, so it is more visible). Finally, we see the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that connects Maryland to Virginia. The wheels are already down, and we are about to touch down. Alas, the pilot tells me I need to go sit down now. But what an exciting opportunity (one few but pilots get to witness). We arrive just about 5 in the morning, and by the time I say good-bye, get the bus to the Metro, get to Gallary-Place/Chinatown (only to discover that the Red Line, which has been running for 15 minutes, has a 15 minute delay), get to my stop, walk home, get undressed and crawl into bed, it’s 6:30 am.
I set the alarm for 11:30 am and try not to think about having to go to the office later this afternoon as my head falls to my fluffy, comfortable, waiting pillow.
So, a little background first.
My sister has a Honda Civic that decided in May to stop blowing its chilly breath on those who dwelt within its confines.
It turned out that the compressor died, and it would cost over $300 to fix. She is planning on moving far away at the end of the summer, and the car is too old with too many miles to make the trip. She wanted to buy a new car. But, it is just as silly to buy a new car and put a ton of miles on a brand new car right away. So, we convinced her to suck it up and hang on to the car until she moved, and then buy a new car there.
Well, as it got warmer, she had a harder and harder time driving without A/C. You must bear in mind that she is a bit of a princess and doesn't like to sweat (or is it perspire?). Anyway, as I am the nicest one in the family, I graciously offered to trade cars with her for the summer as mine sits all week in its parking space and really only gets used on the weekends...also, sweating doesn't really bother me too much (once you have worked an entire summer in an unairconditioned scene shop in Miami, FL, sweat and heat don't really bother you!).
So, last night it poured to beat the band (an odd expression really, don’t you think?), and as it is a law here to have your headlights on while the wipers are on, I had my headlights on. Well, I guess you see where this is going, but I shall finish anyway. I got out of the car and went up to my buddy’s apartment to tell him we needed to get going. We decided to stay and watch a movie (Repo Man) and order in. Well, after eating dinner and finishing Repo Man, we walked out to my car to discover that the idiot who had been driving left the lights on! So, we called AAA and they came and gave me a hot-shot. It started right away, but it was still an awful experience, and I was so embarrassed.
I didn’t get home until almost midnight. I decided that as it is Friday today, I could afford to come in a little late. So, I set my alarm for 6:15 (instead of the usual 5:45), took a nice long shower, watched Matt Lauer, got dressed slowly, lallygagged to the Metro, and still made it to work with a few minutes to spare. I don’t get that at all.
I have errands to run today, so here’s hoping that the battery didn’t die again!