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Arlington, VA: A Gateway To (And Getaway From) D.C.

Spring is the best time of year because it holds the promise of a long, luxurious summer and it’s still possible for me to walk outside without immediately forming a sweat ‘stache. The days start getting longer, the birds start chirping sweetly, and suddenly that motivation I’d been missing all winter because I was busy being SAD attacks with renewed zest. Read the rest of this gem…

When You Wish Upon a Tree

Yesterday I lost everything.  Well not everything, everything.  I still have my health, my family and friends, and all of my material possessions.  Except one.  My external hard drive.  Actually, I still have the hard drive – or rather, the piece of plastic shell with an attached USB cord that you would look at and say, “Yep, that’s a hard drive.”  Except it’s  not.  Because yesterday it decided to eat my life.

It had things on there – important things, at least to me, that I will never be able to replace.  Photos from my trip to Costa Rica and paragraphs I added to my 9-page novel in bouts of drunken inspiration.  Those kinds of things.

Before you say anything, I realize the perils of using a backup system as my primary means of storage.  Now, more than ever.  So that’s fine.  Blame me.  But do we ever get to question – just every once in a while – why a $100 piece of electronic equipment can’t even last AN ENTIRE F*CKING YEAR WITHOUT GOING TO SHIT?!??!??!?$!*#&(!*!*&@^!(@&*~)

I’m just wondering.

But I’m actually not as upset as I feel like I should be.  I’m freakishly numb about the whole thing.  Maybe it’s because I’m still holding out hope that the  information can be saved.  Maybe Justin’s stick-it-in-the-freezer trick will work on the 8th try or my mom’s super computer-savvy boyfriend can figure it out.  If not, I can just defrost it and boil it up for dinner tonight – the makings of my soul served up on my favorite white platter from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It’s low-cal, too.

In reality, there are many worse things that could happen.  And punching my fist through a wall – which is what I’d like to do but its such a guy thing to do and I kind of like my knuckles anyway – just isn’t going to fix it.  I was reminded of this when I wandered into a sculpture garden off to the side of the pedestrian mall in front of the capitol building in D.C. last Tuesday.

It mostly had strange statues…

Hirshhorn Museum Statue

And one I wouldn’t mind being for a day…

(I only still have these pictures, by the way, because I’m about as neglectful at deleting things off my memory card as I am about backing up my hard drive.  Maybe if I’d spent as much money on memory cards as I did on the hard drive, I’d still have my Costa Rica pictures.)

But the garden also had a tree.  A wish tree.  (I’m willing to overlook the fact that this tree is an art installation by Yoko Ono, the woman who could arguably be blamed for the breakup of the Beatles.  Because the tree is cool.)

Theoretically, spectators are supposed to whisper their wishes to the tree.  The sign didn’t say whether the wishes were supposed to come true – it just said to whisper them.  Apparently some people didn’t feel that was enough, so they scribbled their wishes on pieces of scrap paper and stuck them on the branches of the tree.

Some wishes were straightforward, general pleas for survival.

National Wish Tree

Some were a little more specific, a little less necessary for survival.

Some were simply a sign of the times.

And others were hauntingly cryptic.

But the point is, not one of the scraps, as far as I could tell, asked for a magically repaired hard drive.  I suppose it is a little shallow.  And definitely not worth the paper.

But if I were there right now, I still might whisper a little wish to the tree.  Nothing as ridiculous as asking it to magically repair my hard drive, of course:

Dear wish tree,

Please help me rewind time and have the sense to back up all of my data like everyone always said I should before my hard drive inevitably crashes, effectively destroying months of hard work and memories.  Thank you.

National Wish Tree, Yoko Ono

Sounds reasonable, no?

The Bigger, the Better. Right?

Several days ago we packed up the in-laws and my cold germs and struck out on the road for our nation’s capital.  Not one of us had ever been, and considering Justin and I live a ridiculously-close 6 hour drive from D.C., we decided that now, while the air is brisk-not-cold and the leaves are golden-not-gone and the sky is blue-not-gray, would be the perfect time to lay eyes on the sites that until recently I’d only recognized from high school history books, the occasional news story, and rerun episodes of the Simpsons.

We took a night tour of many, many of the landmarks for which D.C. is known.  Here are my gut reactions to a just few of our Capitol’s most famous monuments:

Abraham Lincoln – Cold, intimidating, foreboding.  This is the guy who was supposed to be the chummy, honest Abe?  I realize that many people – especially Americans – especially male Americans – equate size with grandeur, but really.  This nod to our nation’s 16th president strikes me as almost… overcompensating.  You know, like the 52-year-old man with a comb-over driving the cherry red T-bird through rush hour traffic.  I mean, he abolished slavery, for crying out loud.  He doesn’t need a T-bird to prove his accomplishments.  It just seems to me that the Abe I knew – the one I learned about in elementary school – would’ve wanted to be more… I don’t know… approachable?

Lincoln Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Lincoln Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

World War II – Beautiful, peaceful, symbolic.  Fifty-six pillars stand in 2 semi-circles surrounding a large fountain.  It represents the 16 million people who served in the military during the war, as well as the 400,000 lives lost.  I’d like to have lunch there.  You just have to see it.

WWII Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

FDR – Touching, quiet, understated.  This was my favorite memorial.  It’s like walking through a timeline strewn with his quotes and different symbology and statues representing the tough times through which he led our country.  It was a truly moving display, and I’d like to see it again in the daylight.

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

FDR Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Washington Monument – Phallic.  Need I say more?

Washington Monument

If you’ve never been to D.C., I highly recommend a visit.  It helped me appreciate some of the things I learned in my history classes so long ago.  I just have 2 pieces of advice if you do decide to go:

1.  Don’t visit the Holocaust museum first thing in the morning.  It will definitely bring you down.

2.  Do ride the Metro – it’s public transportation at its finest, and the best way to study the locals in their natural element.

D.C. Metro

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.