During the first couple hours that Mr. B and I part ways on Sundays, I am extremely vulnerable to bawling. I don’t pick up the phone and I go do activities that minimize my contact with people I know so I don’t implode on them. This weekend I happened to be in DC to run a mountain of errands including cleaning out as much of our apartment as we could, looking at new cars, getting Mr. B a haircut, shopping for a new cell phone for him, going to holiday parties, and other activities that almost make me feel like I’m married again.
It was a pretty refreshing weekend (if so extremely busy that we didn’t have time to see anyone) that gave me an enormous break from Philadelphia, because there are very few places in the world where you will see things like this this:
Oh, don’t mind us. Just Tour de France in the middle of Tuckerman Lane.
Even so, leaving the glittering lights of Georgetown and the Kennedy Center behind me on the George Washington Parkway at 4:30 PM when it’s already starting to get dark was the bleakest part of my week. So, I turned on the radio, hoping some interesting news story on NPR (maybe about cats on welfare or organic weaponry in Afghanistan) would divert my attention.
Oh, JESUS CHRIST. Yes, I would please like to listen to how this woman lost her husband to Alzheimer’s and how he became weaker and weaker and how her Buddhism sustained her by teaching her compassion. And yet, I couldn’t turn away from the station. I was riveted, even through the part where she talked about the Doorway Moments, during the last part of his life when she knew that anytime she walked into a room, he could be DEAD. So she would compose herself every time she touched the doorknob of a room where he was located before entering so she could be ready for the possibility of death. ”And it’s not as morbid as it sounds. It was very calming.” ohmygod.
That’s when I turned off the radio and took my own life right there in the car by driving into the Potomac.
I turned on my iPod and listened to the Banana Boat Song five times in a row. And that cheered me right up. Because, it might be about economic injustice and oppression (not to mention tarantulas!), but goddamnit it’s catchy. And I don’t even eat bananas.
I guess I could make this all meta and take screenshots of this blog Before Philly and After Philly, but I don’t want to depress myself anymore. I gotta go. It’s time for me to read more in-depth about that turnover and then, later, deer-hunting season. Which, come to think of it, exemplify American exceptionalism.
The leaves are starting to change and the Russian community in North America is starting to think about turning the heat on in their houses, but not quite yet, because it costs a lot and so we might as well tough in out until the middle of November if possible by wearing the same amount of clothing in our living room as we do in the Siberian gulags. Actually, more, since they didn’t really have clothes in the gulags. I myself am eyeing this hat for when I visit Russian homes between now and Thanksgiving.
Since it was pretty warm this weekend, Mr. B and I decided to visit Great Falls Park to leaf-watch and spend some time decompressing together after being apart for a week (which is much harder than it sounds).
There are a couple of places to view the falls and all of them are extremely pretty and prime gathering places for people with extremely large cameras. There was also, for some reason, A LOT of Asians barbecuing. Anyone know whether barbecue is inherent to the Chinese tradition? Mr. B argued that it stems from Mongolian roots; I argued that only Russians and ex-Soviets barbecue because of the whole shashlik thing. By the way-has anyone ever written a book on shashlik? I know the whole Korean BBQ thing, but I don’t think everyone there was Korean. Ok, this tangent is making me hungry.
It was very sunny that day. But not a lot of the leaves were changing color yet, which gives me hope since it means we can stave off winter for a bit longer.
Mr. B and I live 10 minutes from downtown Alexandria and decided to go this weekend since the weather was so beautiful. Everything was sun-dappled and the weather was trying to cling on to the last of summer like a middle-aged Californian housewife post-Botox to youth.
We had a nice chocolate breakfast:
And walked around the city for three or four hours. Ever have those moments in life where you’re happy, but you can’t express how happy you are because it sounds stupid to be happy about warm weather, beautiful historic architecture, and being with someone who eats the majority of your dried mango slices, but who you love anyway?
Mile 1: I’m going to get skin cancer, despite the fact that I have so many layers of SPF 45 sunblock on that I might as well be wearing hijab. If I get skin cancer, will my insurance cover it, even if it was kind of intentional. I really, really wanted to not sit around the house. I wonder if I get skin cancer, whether I will have to have a face transplant, like John Travolta in Face/Off and Mr. B won’t recognize me, leading to awkward situations around the house. If I don’t get skin cancer, I’m going to get skin poisoning from the lotion.
Mile 2: I have to remember to hydrate frequently. Lots of people die in the desert, just like that. One minute, you’re freaking Lawrence of Arabia, the next, you’re down in the sand with rattlesnakes eating your intestines. I take a huge swig from my water bottle. Although the Mt. Vernon trail is incredibly shady, with lots of trees and not lots of direct sunlight, you can never be too careful. The sun is a tricky bastard.
Mile 4: Holy crap. There are other people biking out in this weather. Lots of other people. And they are way more intense than me. They have special bicycles and special jerseys and are gunning at alarming rates. Which leads me to believe that I’m not working out hard enough. So I peddle harder.
Mile 7: Back to my normal speed. Afraid of heatstroke/heartburn/sweat. The things we hypochondriacs have to deal with. I think being a hypochondriac is a disease.
Mile 8: I’m going to put this song on loop for the next mile, because I can’t get it out of my head:
Mile 9: Time to switch up the music. I’m feeling a little too much like I’m at Golden Gates, the premier Russian restaurant in Philadelphia, where, on more than one occasion, I’ve left, gone to sleep, woke up two days later, and still felt like Adamir Mugu was diligently pounding away in my skull. Speaking of which. Time to reserve Golden Gates for my birthday!
Mile 11: How the hell do these crazy bikers keep passing me? They must be more hydrated than me. Or maybe they are doing speed. Either.
Mile 11: What? Why is this path suddenly going uphill? It’s like I’m on Stage 5 of the Tour de France or whatever.
Mile 12: Only three miles left until Mt. Vernon! I can hold out, I think. On second thought, if I pass out in two miles, Mr. B will have to come get me, and there’s no room for a bike in his Civic, (much less my new leg muscles) so I’m going to do him a favor and turn around. You’re welcome, Mr. B, and you don’t even know it yet.
Mile 13: On my way back to the bike rental shop. Biking through beautiful Old Town Alexandria, the Potomac to my right, the Capitol and monuments ahead of me. This is beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and I’m so lucky to be alive and be able to bike. I love everything about living in this area and being able to bike by old houses with pretty flowers and people leisurely walking with drooping Golden Retrievers.
Mile 15: Back to worrying about melanoma.
Mile 18: Almost there. I call Mr. B to pick me up…literally. I can’t move my legs.
Mile 21: I’m at Reagan Airport, which means I only have a mile to go. I wish I could fly back to the bike shop.
Mile 22: I’m back! The bike shop people: Your face looks red! Me: Like melanoma red, dehydration red, or just exercising red?