Union Station, Washington, DC, December 23, 2015

Union Station has long been synonymous in my mind with sunny days and warm nights.  It was a frequent destination in my 20’s, when I visited various Mary Washington College alumni for reunions of one kind or another.

The last of those arches you see to the left of 2015’s Christmas tree was my “smoking spot” after disembarking from an Amtrak train.  The spaces out front would occasionally serve as a staging area for a party weekend, as Sanjeev Malhotra would pick me up, then ready himself for several days in which he would endeavor, with varying degrees of success, to keep me out of trouble.

I was always used to seeing the Capitol Dome shine upon my arrival like a vast, upright egg; it was an image in a poem or two I scribbled down to commemorate my adventures.

Things were different Wednesday.  2015’s strangely mild new winter wasn’t quite cold, but it was blustery, cool, a little wet and quite gray.  That is indeed the Capitol Dome that you see in the third photo, but I discovered it darkened and under renovation.  And that slate sky’s color differed little from the dark monument marble you see in the foreground.  I need to spend a day in DC after a kinder climate finds it, I think.

I like the shot I got of that woman feeding the pigeons.

 

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Seen yesterday in Virginia:

1)  Potomac Mills Mall.  Who says Southerners can’t form crowds?

2)  Rush hour traffic on I-95.  DEAR LORD!!!  It’s like Virginia’s answer to the Long Island Expressway!!

3)  Guapo’s!!  They don’t have them in New York!!!  The last time I went to Guapo’s was when I was in my 20’s and was hanging out with Sanjeev Malhotra!!

4)  Nice people.  I will never get over how polite and accommodating the average citizen is here.  I am not this nice — do they see me as an ape by comparison?

5)  A “Smoke Court.”  What is that — a court where smokers are tried?  Or … is it a fancy outdoor area where people can smoke?  Is there also a “Drink Pavilion” or “Toke Arcade?”

A Bridge Too Far …

Shown below is the pedestrian bridge over Route 1 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, linking Mary Washington College’s main campus with … a student apartment complex now?  There are those of us who remember when Giant Supermarket occupied that space, along with a huge crafts store that was popular with the girls, and a Domino’s Pizza managed by none other than my great old friend and alumnus, Sanjeev Malhotra.

You know what makes a guy feel old?  Seeing photos of his alma mater and noting the bridge and buildings that he cannot recognize because they have been erected in his absence.  Thank you, Janet Walbroehl Winston and Russell Morgan, for adding to my insecurities by sharing these pictures.

The second photo down is of Virginia Hall, which housed Freshmen women when I attended school.   I and my friend Jeff once went Christmas caroling there … in April.  “Milwaukee’s Best” beer was a contributing factor in our holiday spirit, which was lively and well intentioned, if not timely.  If that cheap beverage was truly Milwaukee’s best, I shudder to think of what the city’s worst might have tasted like.  Hell, even its average might have been poison.

The third photo down is of Trinkle Hall.  It is here where I took Philosophy 101 with Dr. Cynthia M. Grund, an immeasurably talented educator who often employed science fiction films and books as a starting point for discussing philosophical concepts.  I first read Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” under Dr. Grund’s guidance, and watched and first gained a genuine understanding of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.”  The class was pure fun, enhanced by a wonderfully creative educational approach — it was one of my favorites.

Dammit … now I am hungry for Domino’s Pizza.

 

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The bridge over Route 1.

 

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Virginia Hall.

 

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Trinkle Hall.

 

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Ball Hall.

 

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Chandler Hall with Virginia Hall at right?