Well Traveled (Part II)
April 12, 2010 Leave a comment
OK, so where were we? Ah yes, back in the jet age in Washington DC.
Our original plan had been to simply use the Metro Rail to get around, but everywhere we needed to be was just outside the service area. And I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having to tote luggage all over the subway; nothing says, “Hi, I’m a tourist, please rob me and leave me in a somewhat well-trodden area so I don’t go too long without being discovered” like dragging a suitcase behind you. So we decided to rent a car.
Well, now that we were behind schedule, the rental car was looking like a stroke of genius. We were on our own schedule! We could come and go as we please! We were only thirty minutes from our hotel with three hours until the wedding started! What could go wrong.
I blame the British. See, they invaded DC once, you know. And I’m convinced that to make sure no one is ever able to easily do so again, street signs in the city were designed to be as unhelpful as possible.
In Orlando, they wisely assume that anyone driving around is a complete idiot. So you’ll see at least three or four signs saying, “WHERE YOU WANT TO GO” before you even get close to, well, where you want to go. So you have time to get over in the proper lane, take the exit, and actually get, like I said, where you want to go.
In DC, in the time it takes you to read this sentence, you’ve seen the sign for your exit, missed it, and found yourself on a road with no exits and no U-turns leading most likely into Connecticut. Oh, it was breath-taking scenery. Just breath-taking scenery that was nowhere near where we wanted to be.
About half an hour later, we were finally heading in the right direction, and that’s when Google maps decided it had no idea what the hell it was talking about. It didn’t help that each road we were driving on had at least three different names depending on where you were along it, but Google maps seemed determined to send us along each of them at least twice. Rest safe, America, the British are NEVER finding the White House these days.
We finally reached our hotel around 1:00. A whole two hours to get ready for a wedding, including driving time, so arriving three days late was a real possibility at this point. Fortunately, the road our hotel was on turned out to be sort of the main drag through the suburb we were in, and all the wedding locations branched off of it, so there would be no more epic detours. Of course, we’d been awake for about twelve hours by this point, so anything was possible.
However, we arrived at the church with no problems, and the wedding went off without a hitch. It was a full Catholic wedding mass, with all the sit-stand-kneel that that entails. I’m not religious at all, but I know how to be a good guest; their house, their rules. I was not smote.
By this time, after all our adventures, my wife and I were in some serious need of some serious drink, and while we weren’t desperate enough to go after the sacramental wine in the church, we hit the bar at the reception with a vengeance. I was tempted to break my no-beer vow, but they were serving Heineken and Bud Light, and if I was going off the wagon, it was going to be for finer stuff than that. So white wine it was, and it did the trick nicely.
My wife’s family is huge. If they’d have been Noah’s family, there’d have been no room for the animals, there’s so many of them. I struggled valiantly to keep track of them all, but they kept coming like the brooms in Fantasia. I got a couple of names down — lots of variations on Irish names — and managed not to embarass myself too badly. And since most of them had been to our wedding, “Oh, good to see you again!” served me well.
So we ate and drank and danced (well, she danced, I sort of spasmd rhythmically) until we realized we’d been up for over seventeen hours and I still had to navigate this infernal road system they’d cooked up. So we said our farewells and I swear we were asleep within minutes of our heads hitting the pillows. I barely got to take advantage of the free HBO.
To be concluded in Part III.