Jo Anne and our niece, Kate, arrived late Tuesday night. Actually, it ended up being Wednesday morning thanks to a monster thunder storm delay. They came dragging through the door at about 2:45 a.m. and Jo Anne was up at 8 to babysit the kids. Nothing like trial by fire! John and I went down to DC to meet up with two old friends (well, the friends aren't old per se, but it has been a while since we saw them) at the Pentagon.
After I gleefully told John, "I'm not even bringing the camera! Can you believe it?" I thought he'd be thrilled because he hates it that I'm always taking pictures. But, no. He told me he wanted me to bring it because he wanted to take pictures of his friends. So we took turns carrying my heavy camera case all over the place. We must have walked for miles. And, after all that, I forgot the damn memory card. He wanted pictures of his friends he hadn't seen in years. Of course.
And the Pentagon. Wow. I'd never been there before, and I'm not really sure I'd ever like to go again. I'm glad I saw it, but it is....intense there. Crowded. Busy. Serious. Lots of looking over your shoulder to make sure a general isn't right behind you. Very much with the rule-following. Not much with the senses of humor. Two different people told us to stand on the right side of the escalators. So, should you ever find yourself in the Pentagon, do not stand on the left side of an escalator. And try not to make too much eye contact. Maybe I've been too immersed in the preschool set, but it felt a bit awkward for me to be there. I felt like I didn't know how to stand, or where to stand, or what to do, or who to look at, or what was okay to talk about. Could I laugh? Would that be out of line? Should I smile at that general? Was it bad I wasn't wearing a business suit?
And the hallways. They go on and on forever. And every hallway looks the same, and yet different from the last hallway. I was a mouse in a maze. I felt like I was in one of those dreams where you don't ever get anywhere, but just wander around and around. With lots of people hurrying by you without smiling, annoyed that you are walking too slow. But yet, it was cool. It was neat to see it, and get a feel for it. It is an important place and they have lots of responsibilities and pressures. It makes sense that everyone is serious. But still.....strange place. Like a bubble, somehow. A bubble of mazes with tons of people scurrying about importantly. Kind of like an ant hill, actually.
Then, we sat in DC traffic at rush hour for a while. Then Baltimore traffic at rush hour for a while.
But guess what? I was SO happy to have a day away from my usual life. I was happy to stand awkwardly next to three-star generals while hoping I wasn't making an ass of myself and stepping on their polished shoes. I was happy to sit in that traffic, talking to John, listening to music, eating Salt and Vinegar Pringles and making crunch noises at funny spots in the music.
When we got home JoAnne, who was tuckered out from all the child-wrangling, said to me, "You must be tired." And I looked at her like she was crazy. "No. YOU must be tired," I said. "I haven't been taking care of children all day. My day was a piece of cake! I'm invigorated." And I was.