Tuesday, December 1

Capitol Punishment

When visiting our nation's capital, two things stand out: One, the lack of people roaming the streets midday, and the average age of people when you do finally see them. In fact, I now see why visitors to Rome always ask me, "Does anyone work here?" I believe that's due to the numbers of government employees who get out at 2pm (but work saturdays), if that's still the case. Of course, don't ask a Milanese, but I think Romans are quite hard-working. They did away with the siestas and Italians generally clock in a good 11 hours at work. And then, of course, you have to consider the numbers who work in their regular jobs and then work in their other (black market) jobs...but I digress.

Once you get beyond the lack of humans on those huge thoroughfares lining Washington DC, you then notice the sheer numbers of homeless. It seems the homeless really took note of that inscription upon Lady Liberty (see entry below). It's no wonder they dim the lights so low in the subway. Everyone sort of seems like they're taking part in a fine evening cabaret, shopping carts and all. That lighting did wonders for my self-esteem.

But after hanging out at Union Station at lunchtime, I was very nervous to leave the place and go down into the subway there. Judging by the faces of all these yuppies, I was convinced that the moment I stepped out onto the curb, a huge machine would scoop me up for soylent green. Nowhere did I see anyone over 40. And, adding credence to my theory, only the homeless seemed to age here -- perhaps they would soil the food rations?

Now I see why we hold our graying Supreme Court Justices in such high regard. We put them in a special building, robes and all. They can't ever leave their office, lest they, too, get scooped up and made into soylent green. So, they're only replaced when they die -- in fact, come to think of it, those who have 'retired', were never seen thereafter in public.

Let's just say, I was happy to leave DC safe and sound.


cuz liz said...

Perhaps the over 40 set are all sitting at home, after being laid off, trying to hang on to the home they have by not spending money tripping around the city.

Or the soylent green could make sense. :-)

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't this be called "Capitol Punishment"?!

Dave514 said...

who or what is soylent green and who cares?


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Dave514 said...

D.C. is where I learned to discover things as a very young boy. When I was between 10 and 13 I used to come down from boarding school in Canada on my Winter and Spring vacations, to stay with my parents and two older sisters in D.C.. Summer vacations were spent with my Grandfather just outside Montreal on the Ottawa river.

This was all during WWII, when my father was sent over from England together with other temporary civil servants to get brass to make ammo. He was paid in Pounds not Dollars which meant we didn't have a whole of money.

My mother, used to wear a Moonstone broach surrounded by pearls. She would "consult " the Moonstone to see where she would take us three kids that day. We'd all hop on the then very modern and silent streetcars and go from Massachusetts Ave and Wisconsin Ave to downtown and the vast Smithsonian. Each trip there was something of interest to my sisters and something for me. We also took in the Mellon Art Gallery, now called the National Art Gallery, the National Geographic Building, both the National Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral. These and many other places began my journey into my love for history, art, and architecture. I was even introduced to the first lady of the American Theatre, Cornelia Otis Skinner.

So D.C. has a special place in my heart in spite of it's many current problems political and otherwise.


Francesca Maggi said...

Capital - play on words as in our nation's capital...

@Davide - go to link about Soylent Green, one of the cult movies of the 70s...in the zeitgeist of all us Baby Boomers...!
It's brilliant.

DC is a wonderful place(even more wonderful now that the occupants in the White House have changed...ahem!)
I love the architecture which most Italians find a bit too fascist...It's great.

Dave514 said...

Yeah, I remember that movie I didn't see it then and I plan on not seeing again...LOL!


Irreverent Italy said...

@anon - took your recommendation...it's better indeed!

@Davide, you don't know what you're missing! That, along with many of those 4:30 movie specials...like Sssssssss The Fly and so on...!

Anonymous said...

Haha! So you took my advice!!

cas said...

After living and working in DC for the past 34 years, I would concur *cento percento* with your assessment. It's totally a self-important place for yuppies. The grown-ups move to the suburbs to raise their kids, then we leave for less complicated, less intense, less political environs, where *who you know* is not important for your self esteem!!!!