Like my bus ride.
I took a Bolt Bus, which I found after googling several variations of "Bus, NYC, DC, deluxe, bathroom." Kate thought it'd be hilarious for me to take the bus, and as it's only $20 vs. Amtrak's $150, I figured it might be cost effectively entertaining.
I picked up the bus as instructed in front of the Sbarro on 33rd and 7th.
I'm serious. Sbarro.
There was no assigned seating, so I took a window seat in the middle and prayed no one would sit next to me. I dumped my bag on the seat next to me, put on my sunglasses and tried to look like an unsavory bitch. I must of looked like Aileen Wournos because I was the only soul on that goddamn bus who didn't have a seat mate. I could sense the hatred of those around me, especially Sears siding, Jersey frat boys in backwards baseball caps who insisted up hanging their dry-cleaned dress shirts for the club. Whatever, cargo shorts. We're on a BUS. It's every penny pincher for himself. Had I not dropped $250 on a single meal at The Modern, I'd be on a train with a bar and I realized this as my father sent me an e-mail. "I can't believe you're on a bus. Now I bet you'll see why I prefer the rails."
The Spotswoods are apparently transportation snobs.
I spent the first half of the ride texting my friends.
"Hi, I'm in Delaware." I alerted mon frere.
"Ha! On a bus! Make a new friend."
"I hate humanity."
"They hate you too. Hey, you could find a pen pal! Start a sing a long! Play a group game!"
"I despise you."
I sipped my Sbarro Diet Pepsi as traffic outside of Baltimore slowed to a crawl and cursed road travel. Five hours after leaving New York, we rolled into the ghettos of DC and were dropped off by the West Elm downtown. I called Kate. "Welcome to the Chocolate City, baby!"
Conveniently, we met at the Hotel Helix, half a block from Kate and Jeff' apartment where I could stay with Jeff's employee discount for a mere $50 a night. And upon check-in, the hotel dude flirted with Jeff to the tune of me getting upgraded into a 4 room suite.
We walked into the room and started running around, from the living room through the office and dressing room and bathroom. "We need to find friends! Let's have a party! Hire me a hooker!"
After enjoying some complimentary champagne in the bar, we headed to Arlington to enjoy dinner at Jeff's new restaurant, Jackson 20. I'll upload photos later, but much to my delight and Jeff's horror, his bio was in the elevator. It was very weird to hear everyone call Jeff "Chef" and fawn over him, knowing full well he'd arrive at work the next morning with a list of critiques. Even the folks at the next table recognized him, and as a total food and chef whore, I was in heaven. Jeff instructed someone to just start sending out food and not like I'm biased or anything, but it was all fucking amazing. Should you find yourself in the greater DC area, head out to Arlington and order the chicken fritters, pork chop with grilled peaches and bread pudding. Sweet Jesus, it was a lovely dinner. I think they finally dropped me off at Helix at 2:30am.
Oh! But wait! There's an important component of this story! I'm the recent victim of identity theft. I discovered this when I tried to pay for drinks in a gay bar in New York only to discovered my VISA cancelled. For long and complicated reasons, I had to pay for everything in cash until I got back to California. And the only way for me to get cash was to go to a Bank of American "Banking Center."
I think there are pretty much three Banking Centers in the world that are open on Saturday, and even then only till noon. As Kate slept, Jeff picked me up after he left work, where he had to serve a sit down breakfast to 80 at 6am, and we raced around the city, running red lights, trying to find an open BofA. I got my money at 11:53. I felt like I'd just robbed a bank.
After lunch at some sandwich joint, the three of us walked along The Mall on our way to the Holocaust Museum, where I'd wanted to go for ages. But that Mall walk is a long walk, and the humidity was like, 80%. I'm sorry to report, I was not a trooper. None of us were. We were on our way to the Holocaust Museum and couldn't stop complaining about the "physically and emotionally debilitating" heat.
The Museum was air-conditioned and delightfully gratis. But one needs to make reservations and Kate, assuming Jeff would have to work, just booked two of us. So Jeff just walks up to the counter and claims there was a mistake, and we'd booked three tickets. I don't know the level of karma in cutting 300 people waiting for tickets at the Holocaust Museum is, but I think I may have discovered it on my flight home.
The museum was packed, and inevitably, children pushed their way around and annoyed us at length. If the crowds weren't enough, one family in particular, led my their patriarch we'll call "Orlando State" due to his polo shirt, was completely out of control. And I started to lose it as their obnoxious children played tag in the T-4 (medical experimentation) exhibit. People are visibly upset at the images and information, a few are even crying, it's relatively silent and then little Travis and Randy are running around screaming, "You're it!"
It came close to fistacuffs in the Holocaust Museum, I was so livid.
After a good 2 and a half hours, we headed back for the dreaded walk along the Mall, the highlight of which was a hobo pushing a cart bigger than my house. We stopped at a tourist trash shack to buy water where I discovered highly appalling items for sale, like American flag bucket hats proclaiming "Washington DC!" that some French family bought. This upset Kate a great deal.
"Can you imagine me walking around Paris with a huge pointy Eiffel Tower on my head that said 'Paris, France!' on it?"
We headed over to Georgetown for shopping and a snack at "Quick Pita" before heading back to Helix to meet Sacha for some more of that free champagne. Since Kate just moved to DC a few weeks ago, upon discovering that she's neighbors with Sacha, who's from Marin and works for Georgetown, we agreed to meet up and abuse the hotel's free booze policy. Dinner followed at some place on Columbus Circle, and we took the Metro out there.
The Metro involves very, very steep escalators which, I am embarrassed to admit, scare the shit out of me. I need to fixate of some visual object, like discarded chewed gum, the entire way up and down, I'm so convinced I'll tumble to my demise in a subway station. Kate and Jeff would just plow up and down them, and very much like an elderly relative, I'd stare at my gum and scream, "You guys! Wait! I can't move!"
I didn't get a chance to check out the very dark, old school bar that looked right up my alley and was housed in the Mayflower Hotel, occasional home to Client 9. We had drinks at some Mexican bar and called it a night.
At 6:45am, like the true, wonderful friends they are, Kate and Jeff arrived to drive me to Dulles, miles and miles outside of DC. They dropped me off, Kate still in her jammies, hugged and kissed me goodbye and left.
Which is when I got my boarding pass, got through security and all hell broke loose...