Monday, November 11, 2019

Waldo Goes Home

To those of you who guessed I’m in Washington, DC — you get a gold star! (Granted, the license plate kind of gave it away.)

As I write this on Sunday evening, though, I’m sitting in Dulles Airport on my way back to London. By the time it posts, I’ll be home. This was a two-day transatlantic trip, which would horrify Greta Thunberg, but I justify it by arguing that my day-to-day carbon footprint is pretty darn small. (No car, no kids.)

I came to the states because one of my friends from the Peace Corps, Liz, turns 50 this week, and her friends threw her a surprise birthday party. I heard about it maybe 6 weeks ago, and I thought, “You know, I haven’t seen Liz for four years and I haven’t been to DC in nine. I’m going!”

I never mentioned it on the blog because, obviously, I needed to maintain the element of surprise. And it worked! Liz suspected the party but she didn’t expect me or a few other friends who traveled from a distance. I think she thought I'd lost my mind, to be honest.

The party was a blast, with a “Scooby Doo” theme — apparently Liz’s favorite cartoon. Who knew?! And I got to see several other old friends too — Kevin, who I know from way back in middle school, and his husband Brent; Kelly, another Peace Corps friend, and her family; former blog pal, now real pal Reya. It was a fab trip, and I am exhausted. (And still blogging from my phone, by the way. Argh!)

I didn’t get to spend a great deal of time exploring DC, but I knew I wouldn’t. That’s partly why I didn’t bring a computer or even my big camera. Just a tiny Jansport backpack and my phone. It felt GREAT to travel so light!

One of my favorite moments came Sunday morning, when I went to a Starbucks next to my hotel in Silver Spring, MD. After I placed my order and the woman behind the counter gave me my tall coffee and almond croissant, she asked me my name — which I thought was odd, since our transaction was finished at that point. I told her, and she said “I’m Sunshine. You have a great day, Steve.”

And honestly, it was a small thing, but it felt so nice to be seen and acknowledged so personally — and by a woman named Sunshine! She’s certainly living up to her name!

You might think going to Washington now would be a bit forbidding, considering who's in power in the USA. But Washington is not a Trump town. With the exception of one college-age kid wearing a MAGA hat near the National Mall -- obviously a tourist -- everything I saw indicated a degree of resistance to Trump and his agenda. One person posted paper cutouts of the words "Hope" and "Courage" in their window, facing the Metro train tracks, as if trying to help us through the siege.

And then there was this:


  1. I hope you have a safe trip back! What a wonderful friend you are to travel so far for a party -- it sounded like it was a lot of fun!

  2. Welcome home and glad that you could meet up with old friends. The party sounds like fun.

  3. Sunshine lived up to her name but as a librarian you also live up to your name as you love to reed/read! DUMP TRUMP! FEED REED!

  4. I guessed DC as soon as I saw the ceiling of a Metro station in your first photo. Then I saw the photo of Union Station. Helps that I worked in the city for more than 30 years. Definitely not an orange idiot town.

  5. What a great friend you are! And I love the story of the woman named Sunshine.

  6. I think it was so nice of you to make the trip to see your friend. It was probably the best birthday present she got. Old friends are priceless. I've never been to Washington D.C., but if the people are as disrespectful as those photos show, I'm just as glad that I did not go. President Trump is our president and deserves respect. There's a voting booth where folks can make changes if they are not happy. BTW, I have a Trump 2020 hat too. You have safe trip home, hugs, Edna B.

  7. You did it! You surprised Liz! Sounds like a perfectly wonderful party!
    And unlike Edna B., I am heartened by the anti-Trump signs and graffiti. Trump hasn't done one thing to deserve anyone's respect. It's like saying you have to respect your parents just because they're your parents. Respect has to be earned and deserved. It doesn't just come with an office or with a title.
    That's my opinion, anyway.
    I hope your jet lag isn't too bad. That was one fast trip!

  8. Your trip is a big surprise to your followers. It was one of those trips that was worth it.

  9. That was quite a whirlwind trip you made. You really are a great friend. It sounds like you had a wonderful time on your short trip. It's great to see that DC hasn't been sucked into the giant Trump sink hole. I'm with Ms. Moon, respect is earned and I haven't seen him do one thing to earn it.

  10. To each his/her own when it come to that lying ass Donald Trump. If he hadn't stolen the Presidency position I would understand and wouldn't say a word. He stole it, got others in jail, his family stepped in to rule the world, and all he does is sit there and lie. He hasn't done anything for the United States but caused a lot of trouble. We didn't elect Donald Trump for President...It was done by the Russians. It's been crooked mess going on the entire time he has been in office. If you love Donald Trump, wear your hat, stomp your feet and sing hallelujah because he has to have those like him to survive in bullshit. We have a right to our own decision but we didn't put him in office. My vote was for Hilary Clinton and not Donald trump. The bottom line is, he stole the position and he is still constantly being crooked. I can't stand a liar, a cheater, or a bull shitter like him.(laughing hard) Sorry Steve but when I hear that name is upset me very bad.

  11. Yes, you are a great friend, Steve. And, sorry Edna B, but I'm with the opposition to Donald Trump.

  12. How wonderful that you surprised your friend! I'm sure it helped make her day all the more special. I visit DC a lot, actually, and yes, it is definitely a hotbed of resistance to Trump. Which is heartening. Safe travels home, my friend.

  13. I didn't guess that you were in Washington until I went back and took another look at your Photos. But then I thought... hmmm no that is to far for a trip lol... Gold Stars to the winners!

    Not commenting on the Trump thing. I would be here all day typing my grievance's. Jest happy that Washington DC is not a Trump Camp.

    I am so glad that you got to see Liz and I bet that she was very surprised. It is wonderful that you were able to go and enjoy yourself. You are an awesome friend...

  14. Sounds like a whirlwind trip and lots of good fun.

  15. You are such a good friend! What a special thing to do! Glad you arrived back home safely and soundly. The States tend to suck- lifting off of the ground is more difficult as gravity here is stronger...LOVE the photos!

  16. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful trip. I am glad you were able to reconnect with old friends.
    It is just mind boggling that anyone could be supporting the evil that trump represents. I was very glad to see the resistance in action. I have just stopped having anyone in my life who supports him or his ilk.

  17. Wow, that WAS a fast trip! Glad to hear Washington has retained its sanity. You did well to get that video at the end before you zipped past.

  18. Elizabeth: It WAS a lot of fun. Hopefully it made good memories for all of us!

    David: Thanks, and I wanted to tell you I was so impressed with the degree of research you put into figuring out the location of my last post! That intersection where I photographed the dog was indeed in Takoma Park, where my friend Kelly lives. Bravo!

    YP: Feed Reed Indeed!

    Mary: Yes, you knew right away where I was! The Metro has such distinctive architecture.

    Jennifer: That's a great name, isn't it? It would have been ironic if she'd turned out to be a dour grump.

    Edna: Old friends ARE priceless, I agree. I think the office of president deserves respect, but the current occupant of that office -- in my opinion -- doesn't respect it himself. He has used the presidency as his own bully pulpit and damaged the country's standing all over the world. I think he has shown he isn't worthy of respect himself. But, you know, we all have different opinions and you are certainly entitled to yours.

    Ms Moon: I was heartened by it too! Especially the "hope" and "courage" signs in that window -- I found that very touching.

    Red: It must have really come out of the blue for all of you! Ha!

    Sharon: I guess it makes sense that many in DC would resist him. It's a solidly Democratic town and so many of the people are civil servants whose careers depend on good government policies.

    Angelicastar: Well hello! How do you really feel? LOL! Seriously, my feelings tend to be closer to yours than not. I agree that Trump is a menace.

    Catalyst: I'm just glad I was able to make it work, to be there and see not only Liz but several other friends.

    37P: It IS heartening. I was so glad to see it.

    Beth: I figured that might work in my favor as I tried to stump you all about my location! "He couldn't POSSIBLY be crazy enough to fly across the ocean for 48 hours!"

    Robin: It was, on both counts!

    Linda Sue: Well, as I said, I saw lots of evidence of resistance. More anti-MAGA than pro.

    Penelope: Honestly, I want to make room for people of all opinions in my life. But feelings are strong on both sides!

    Jenny-O: I confess, I went past it THREE TIMES before I could get that video. I had to choose the right window in the right light and be on the southbound (as opposed to the northbound) track because otherwise I was too close to the wall and going in the wrong direction ("Trump Dump," LOL).

  19. what fun to just jump on a plane for a party.