Sunday I spent all day with Katie. In the morning we had planned on going to New Hope, Hillary and her husband’s church, but after we had some White Castle for breakfast, we decided that we wouldn’t be able to get there on time. So we went to Rite Aid and bought some stuff, I don’t remember what, but I do know that Katie had a discussion with the cashier woman, trying to get a proper discount on some chap stick or lip balm or something that goes on the mouth. We went to Rolling Plains UMC, my parents’ church, instead. It’s a mix between Faith UMC, my old church, and New Hope, which is rather lively. I’m not really sure where I’m going to settle as a church home. After church, we had lunch, the parents and Katie and me, and we talked about the French revolution… Well my dad and I did, mom and Katie were only mildly interested at best. After lunch was a nap, than dinner and some time spent in front of a fire at Katie’s mom’s house. She called Katie and told her that if me and her wanted some time “alone” that she’d be away from her house for awhile. I don’t know exactly how to read what it is that she was offering us, but we went there and made a fire. It was the first time I ever used one of those “fire logs”. It’s this piece of fuel, if it’s wood at all I don’t really know, but you chuck the thing onto the fire rack in the fireplace and light the wrapper on fire, and it takes care of the rest. It burns for about three hours. It’s convenient, but I do get a degree of satisfaction of building up a real fire.
Around nine or tenish, back home, I started to gear up to leave for Washington for the March for Life. If you happen to be one of the kind of people who check dates, you’ll notice that this year’s march is two days after the actual anniversary of Roe vs Wade. I think it has something to do with the presidential inauguration being late last week. Dad gave me some long johns to wear, which worked out nice, but I wore some regular underwear too, which I’m still not used to. I felt rather Victorian with so much underwear on. My pack for the trip was my longtime travel companion, the MiniDisc player, a stack of minidiscs that I just grabbed, eye related things, contacts, you know… winter accessories, and Fight Club, the book. Yes there is a book. I started reading Fight Club a couple of days prior, and I’m still not sure if the book or the movie is better. Because I like the movie so much and I’ve seen it so many times I think that the “way it should be” is pretty well ingrained in my mind. I’m not done yet, so I’ll decide when I am. After I dropped Katie off at her dad’s house, I got to Saint Thomas, where the charter buses were leaving from, and quickly discovered I was the very last person to arrive. Whoops. Dad was waiting outside of the buses so he could get on with me, and the first of the buses he tried was full, and on the second bus I found out that it was for Roscrans high school kids. I defiantly didn’t want on that bus. I spent lots of time in vans or in buses with high school kids, for some reason if it was a church related trip, it was so much worse. The kids get all sugared up and caffinated and spend the whole trip being loud and dumb. If there was more profanity you’d think it was a Fun Bus up to a football game. The first bus had some of the Roscrans kids who didn’t listen to their directions and had got on the wrong one, so that opened up a handful of seats, so me and dad sat in the second row back.
I think I had given dad a bit of a warning, but apparently not strong enough, that the trip was hellish. Hellish for a trip that you paid for. I suppose it’d be an OK trip if you were being carted to a state prison, but since we shelled out seventy dollars for it, you’d think it’d be nicer. But I didn’t really complain, I knew what I was in for, this was my fourth trip to the march. Charter bus seats are made for people who are just marginally smaller than the rider. I don’t really think it matters who it is, it’s somehow just smaller. So we’ve got two guys who are 6’ or 6’1” and they’re wedged next to each other on a charter bus. Not too good. Early in the trip, I pulled out my contacts, pulled my hat over my eyes and put on my headphones. Nothing I had really was anything I wanted to listen to. I don’t know why, but nothing was really sitting with me too well. Green Jello’s 333 I took a nap too, so that was good.
The first stop we made was to some bus stop that all the charter buses stopped at on the way to the march, it was different from the ones in years past, but they’re all really the same. So that was an environment I wasn’t too happy in, lots of sugared and caffinated Catholic high school kids being retarded. I went to the bathroom and bought a pint or two of milk. Let me talk about the bathroom situation for a moment. Pretty much every time that I stopped anywhere on this trip, I went to the bathroom. I can’t tell you why or how or anything like that, but I blamed it all on White Castle. If any of you are ever planning on going anywhere by bus, don’t eat White Castle’s food a week before you leave, and I think I had it about three times in the week before this trip. White Castle does a real number on the digestive tract, at least it does for me. I slept on and off until the bus got near D.C..
Every year, the Catholics I go with stop at the National Shrine, which I don’t really understand the place’s significance to the Catholics. They go there for a special mass before the march, I sleep or wander. If I remember right the mass was scheduled for eight o’clock in the morning and we’re pulling into the parking lot at five o’clock in the morning. That means that there will be three hours of sitting around doing nothing, followed by an hour while they’re in their mass. Fortunately, our group was granted a special alter for our own private mass. I thought this would be good, they’d do their thing quick and we’d get on to the Hilton and wait there for all that time before breakfast instead of the Shrine. The Hilton’s lobby is so much more comfortable. That’s not what happened though. We were instructed to be back on the bus at quarter after eight. Three hours anyway. Dad and I staked out a place on the floor in the basement of the shrine, with lots of other sleepy high school kids from other groups. The floor of the shrine is hard, cold marble, and the prime real estate of the padded benches had been occupied since long before we got there. I gave dad my sweatshirt to put under his head while he slept, thinking that I’d just stay up and read Fight Club, but that got hard once I started to get sleepy. So I tried to sleep without any padding at all. Someone stepped on my hand while I was asleep.
We woke up when the biggest group of high schoolers were being rounded up to leave, and it was still about forty five minutes before we were supposed to leave. Dad left for the bathroom and I claimed a empty bench. I was going to give it to him once he got back, but by the time he got back (bathroom routing problems) it was about twenty minutes until we were scheduled to be on the bus. I thought we’d just go back there and finish out naps on the bus.
The bus got to the Hilton behind schedule due to construction problems and the driver not sure if we were supposed to go to the Hilton or the Mariott. The breakfast was alright underway by the time we got there, which was good for me. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to any more speakers than I had to, I wanted a nice chair to sit in and plenty of orange juice. The breakfast was decent for a banquet for the middle class, but compared to an IHOP or Waffle House, not so hot. The fresh fruit platter on the table was probably the highlight of the solid foods. Cal Thomas spoke, and that was alright. Some other people spoke too, but I was spaced out for most of the breakfast.
Afterwards we determined that the march rally point was too far away to walk to. From the old hotel that the breakfast used to be in, it was about four blocks away, and as a bonus the White House wasn’t too far out of that route. This hotel wasn’t even on the map that we were issued every year by the organizers in Zanesville. I noticed this year that the Soviet Embassy was marked on the map. I guess all the important landmarks, in relation to the march, are still valid, but I still think that it’s time to update that map. We took the subway… the visuals on that part of the trip were, unfortunately, the most impressive… unfortunately, because I decided it was too early in the trip to start burning exposures and batteries when the coolest stuff is going to be during the march itself. This year was a bit disappointing as far as coolness went. The cold weather kept the freaky people in, I think.
The subway was cool, but the group we were with told us that they thought it best to stick together, and I convinced dad to go ahead and get on the subway train, they’ll catch up later. When we met up with the rest of the group at the end of the day, they told us they had waited for twenty minutes for us. Whoops. My bad. The ticket system was a bit confusing and I think that I was a bit faster on the uptake than the rest of the group and I didn’t want to get stuck walking around with them like I had the first year. They go right to the rally point to listen to the speakers and I like to see the sights and stop for some lunch sometimes. I’m sure we could have ditched them later, so hoping the early train wasn’t an effort to lose anyone… I’m just impatient and excited. It was the first time I ever got to ride a subway. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t smell like urine.
Once topside, I told dad that we could go see the White House, which we did. Once I got my bearings I navigated us there pretty quickly. After Dublin, I think my dad trusts me a bit more with the cartography led urban navigation. After we saw one side of the White House, and I told dad we had over two hours until the march actually started, we decided we needed a warm place to camp for awhile. We went to a place called “Cosi”. Now let me tell you what a Ohio person thinks when they read “Cosi”. COSI stands for the Center of Science and Industry (if I remember right) and it’s a sort of museum with interactive exhibits for elementary and middle school kids. It’s probably still interesting to me now, but I haven’t been there since middle school. Cosi, as it turns out, is a coffee/sandwich franchise (now one in Easton Towncenter, so I hear). There was some sort of cider on the menu that I had dad order for us, I staked out a table before more people came in while he waited. He came back with some decaf mocha something something instead. They didn’t have any cider. Well, first I want to say that I’m glad he didn’t try and bring me regular coffee. I’d have drank it, and that’d be a problem. I don’t like turning down hospitality and caffeine and me don’t get along very well. Another thing, similar to Starbuck’s so called “decaff”, it had a lessened amount of caffeine, but certainly not caffeine free. I felt jittery for an hour. I read a chapter in Fight Club, and my dad just sat there so I stopped reading and tried to think of things to talk to him about, to keep him entertained. The people making the sandwiches would toss the trimmed off edges into metal bowls for anyone to take, so we ate a couple of those. I ate mine with a packet of butter I had pilfered from the breakfast earlier in the day. In the bathroom (remember the White Castle?), I noticed that they didn’t have gendered bathrooms, which was cool, they just had the Occupied/Vacant system like on airplanes. On the way into the bathroom I passed one of the employees who was heading out. He had a Andre 3000 thing going on so I said, “Pardon me, hey yeah,” on the way past. He probably didn’t even hear me. Now considering the march was the focal point of the entire trip, I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It started about a half hour late, so we were standing on Constitution Ave for a half hour longer than we needed too just stamping our feet to stay warm, than we hiked up to the Capital Building with a quarter million of our closest friends, and than on to in front of the Supreme Court, where the march ended, and the police were trying to funnel all those people from the streets to one, yes one, sidewalk. After the march, dad and I started walking to Saint Dominic’s, which is where the group we came with was meeting up. My hands were freezing cold, so I wasn’t happy. At the church, I ate the same barely warm Domino’s pizza we get every year, and got back on the bus for the ride home, which I believe was largely uneventful.
I was happy to get home and eventually into my own bed. I called Katie, like she asked me to, to tell her I was alive. She sounded very much asleep (did I mention it was 1:30am when we got home?) and likely doesn’t even remember me calling her. It was cute, she stutters a lot when you wake her up sometimes.
I thought of something clever to say
But than again, the words weren’t mine anyway