Two of my wife's best friends are about to have their first babies, and last weekend we went to DC for the baby shower of one and brunch with the other. Both events were lovely and jovial, but the houses, like the people, were just too perfectly appointed. No one in DC is distinguishable from the waist down, because everyone is the same size and wears beige pants and loafers. And the couple who threw the shower has two kids, yet not a stitch was out of place in the whole structure. They had even swept out the fireplaces and set up a series of fat beige candles on the andirons. (Ritual sacrifice, anyone?) Somewhere between that Stepford Sterility and the cluttered hive that is the Laid-Off Lair lies a happy medium worth striving for.
We stayed in the Omni Shoreham Hotel, a beautiful landmark that you know is a big deal because all of its signs are lettered in fusty script. It recently celebrated 75 years of luminary guests and presidential galas, and this weekend it proudly hosted a convention of Outback Steakhouse managers, several of whom sat in the room next door and rent the night with their high-pitched giggling. Said my wife as she held a pillow over her head, "Laugh now, you drunken reprobates. Wait till the kids get up at 6:30 tomorrow. Payback's a bitch."
Eight hours in the car with two kids is a crapshoot at best, but our trip came off pretty well, despite TwoBert's habitual crankiness. There were several highlights, but my favorite came when we were surfing among the unfamiliar radio stations and stumbled upon an All Eighties Weekend. Soon, we started singing along to the old favorites and conjuring alternate lyrics, many of which involved farts. At one point Styx's "The Best of Times" came on, and Robert replaced the chorus ("these are the best ... of tiiiimes!") with "we'll fart until ... we stop!" I heard that and almost ran off the Turnpike.
And nothing puts a spring in your step like the feeling when you've hauled ass up the I-95 corridor, sped through the city like Ms. Pac-Man on crank, dropped of the family, unpacked all the crap, filled the gas tank, skidded to a halt outside the rental place, and handed over your rental agreement--the one with NO GRACE PERIOD scrawled ominously across the front--with five minutes to spare. Makes you want to strut all the way home like a badass. Which I did. Until I stopped.