It's the middle of September. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by, my goodness. Yesterday I rode the train to D.C. to meet up with my Aunt C. visiting from Arizona. My train left at 7:20 a.m. yesterday from Charlottesville and I arrived at Union Station between 9:30-10:00 a.m. I feel mildly accustomed to riding the Metro in D.C., so I was planning to ride over to Metro Center and switch trains to go to the Smithsonian and meet Aunt C. at our designated meeting time. But alas, as I keep learning with every trip, a little wrench of some sort always gets thrown into the mix; I've come to expect unforeseen occurrences when traveling, especially when I go by myself.
Let me admit this: I was feeling kind of proud of myself when I rolled up to the train I needed to be on, as I'm not a city-slicker, and I was satisfied that I had gone to the right place without having to ask for directions. Then, an announcer came over the echoing intercom and mumbled a really long message. I felt like a new dentist, one that had yet to learn the art of discernment when patients converse with a mouthful of gear and Novocaine. So everyone got on the train anyway. Then the train never moved. Then there were security officers and policemen walking briskly by the train doors. Then I heard the words, "smoke," "tunnel," "Metro Center," and "emergency," and noticed many people swiftly exiting the train. I too got off the train because I began to feel alarmed, and then I walked outside of Union Station. I called a friend who told me how close I was to the National Mall and that I should walk. So I started walking, but because of all the trees, I couldn't even see the Washington Monument, so I called H. at work (oops!) and he helped tremendously by loading up a Google map and helping me get oriented. I kind of felt like an idiot when I cleared the trees and finally saw the monument because I knew where I was. Anyway, I got there, that's all that matters.
I met my Aunt C. on the National Mall and we went to the National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art. I learned that Aunt C. is as much of a drive-by-museum-goer as myself; we cruised through the museums with great speed. I don't have it in me to read all of the little captions with every object, I think it's very tiring.
Highlights of the National Gallery of Art museum (for me): depictions of dessert in art.
A cake painting, obviously.
My Uncle J. called Aunt C. while we were sitting in front of the Capitol Building and told us that there was an Appalachian National Mining Association protest happening, so we thought we'd check it out. I've always wanted to join a protest, and since my brother is a coal miner I thought I would represent.
Aunt C. and I in front of the Capitol Building.
We walked around to the back of the Capitol to see if the protest was still going on, but unfortunately it was not. But there was something else going on (Isn't there always something going on in D.C.?), and we wanted to see what it was, so we were walking toward the gathering of people. Well, one guard in the security guard harem who had a German Shepherd pointed at me with my little backpack I was carrying and yelled, "Search her backpack!" and then a huge officer jumped in front of Aunt C., I'd say his body was about 6 inches away from hers. I thought she was going to run into him, and we were merely walking. He was very cold and mean, told us that we were in a secured area and that we needed to leave. It was very alarming, and I thought his tone was quite unnecessary. He's the security guard that gives security guards a bad name. The upside: no one searched my backpack, so I don't know what the deal was with the other security guard pointing at me.
Aunt C. walking right before the officer jumped in front of her.
We wanted to go to into the Capitol Building, but when we went to their visitor center to get a pass (after strolling through the Library of Congress), we stumbled upon this unfortunate list. A note to all traveling knitters: do not take your knitting projects with you (as I did) if you want to go into the Capitol Building. What can I say, I wanted to knit on the Amtrak, geez.
All in all, Aunt C. and I had a wonderful day together. We shared many laughs and made new memories together that we'll never forget; it was a much needed day for me.