My cell phone alarm buzzed at 4:15 in the morning. I was up, dressed, and packed in record time.
Today was the day. The day for everyone in Reading and Study Skills class who had completed their master schedule on time to go spend the day in Washington DC.
We were planning to meet in the public lounge at 4:45 and leave right away, but we didn’t end up leaving until about 5:20, because Laura turned her alarm clock off at went back to sleep. Not that I blame her. No one has been getting enough sleep this past week, what with term papers hanging over our heads, and getting up at 4:15 is just crazy.
What’s even crazier is that we left so early that once we got to DC nothing was open. Yeah. So we ate McDonalds and sat around in Starbucks for a while. The point of the whole “getting up early” thing had to do with getting back early enough for talent night, but then talent night got canceled and we still got up early. Why? No one seems to know. But it added a whole new level of loopiness to the trip.
We crammed all 11 of us into two cars. Our car consisted of… Danial, a 30-year-old guy who likes dogs. . . Holly, my prayer partner who is forevermore getting made fun of for being short . . .Jared, who is apparently good friends with my cousin Conrad. . . Abby, my roommate/bunk-bed-mate who drops things on me in the middle of the night. . . Me . . . Jeff, who I mentioned two posts ago because I needed to get a ride with him but didn’t know his name
The most awesomely random bunch, and I can’t even begin to describe the laughs we had going and coming. We decided we were one big happy family. Jeff reached up front, and said, “here are Daddy, Mommy, and Little Johnny,” tapping Danial, Holly, and Jared in turn. We just about died laughing. We then decided that Abby was Little Betsy, Jeff was Grandpa, and I was Great Aunt Myrtle.
We were pretty squished in there. The other car had the advantage of not having anyone in the front middle seat. Jon and Zack (brothers who are also nephews of Marvin and Dana, who are sort-of my neighbors) were in that car, along with Laura-who-slept-in, Stephen-who-likes-to-dress-Amish, and Linford-who-stayed-up-all-night-to-finish-his-work. I don’t think that car had as much fun as we did, partially because people were mostly sleeping.
It was raining when we got to DC. At first it was kind of nice, walking around in a drizzle from McDonalds to Starbucks and such, but by the time we headed toward the Washington Monument it was getting old. Especially because there is no straight path from the road to the Monument. Instead there is a beautiful winding path with numerous switchbacks that meanders it’s way along. Needless to say I got a bit more wet then I would have liked.
“You know,” said the man who checked our tickets, “If you save these they make a nice souvenir. Take them home and laminate them, don’t use any heat, and they make nice bookmarks. But don’t use any heat! Just use contact paper or something.” We laughed about him the rest of the trip. “Laminate it…but don’t use heat!”
The tour guide was the exact same guy that took my family up when we went to DC last year, and as far as I could tell he said the same things to us. Everything he did, from getting little kids to push the buttons to take us to the top, to telling us to look down the crack between the elevator and the floor when we got out, was precisely like he did last year.
It is useless to try and describe the beautiful city or the amazing things seen at museums. But I got the same feeling I got last year, of just wishing I could meander through it at my own pace for a year and see everything I wanted to see. There is so much there.
After walking around in the rain and cold wet snow visiting museums all afternoon, we headed back to get our cars. Jon and Danial led the way, since none of the rest of us knew where they had parked the cars, so we were exceedingly confused when they led us into a fancy looking hotel. Apparently you had to go through the hotel to get to the elevator to get to the parking garage. I’m not sure why.
All 11 of us crammed into one elevator. It was awesome. When we exited the garage, we all gave a cry of exclamation. “Hey! I recognize this place! This is where we got lost earlier today!” (our gps totally failed) Union Station was our last stop, where we ate lunch/supper.
We parked in the garage and got into the elevator. The doors closed. “Which button do we push?” asked Jon. The doors opened again. Several more people were there, waiting at the other elevator. We asked them if they wanted to come in. They declined because it was too full. There were 11 people in there after all. The doors closed. Then they opened again. We burst out laughing, along with everyone who was waiting for the other elevator. The doors closed again. Then they opened again. We all just about died laughing. Finally, finally we made it down.
There were a gazillion restaurants and a lot of them were giving out free samples. This one Asian lady handed us bits of chicken on toothpicks, demanding that we take them, and yelling “yummy yummy yummy” exceedingly fast. We walked around and came back, and she did the same thing. “You know,” said Jon, “If I was homeless I think I would just come here and walk around in circles till I was full.” But apparently it was a good advertising tactic because most of us ended up getting food from that restaurant.
We all had to squish back into the elevator to go up. Abby nudged/shoved me further in when I wasn’t expecting it, and I went crashing into Stephen. I apologized and laughed at the same time. Stephen cleared his throat. “I believe in segregated seating,” he said.
We all squished back into our cars and began the long drive home, even loopier than before. Conversations that should have been deep were rendered pretty much ridiculous because people *coughJaredcough* said things like, “Well, you see, if there’s no connection, then you don’t connect to them.”
Strange conversations continued until we dropped off to sleep one by one. I just remembered another hilarious thing that happened on the trip. We got out of the car and Holly had this terrible orange-ish brown-ish pink-ish stain on her dress. “What is going on?” said Holly. “Wasn’t me,” said Jared, who had been sitting beside her. “That is so weird,” the rest of us agreed.
We pondered the stain for a while. “Oh, I get it,” said Holly finally, “I had candy in my backpack” Because, of course, the rain had totally soaked through Holly’s backpack, and she held it on her lap while we drove. We laughed and laughed. It was so funny. We unanimously agreed that this was a trip we would never forget.