Day 3

Washington again—I feel closer to an epiphany of what America is after hearing a guy at H&M use the phrase “glebe”: someone who watches, but is not obsessed with Glee. We like to look down on people who don’t worship television.

Today, we found free parking as it is a Sunday and everything. We visited the Natural History Museum and American History Museum. I wasn’t disappointed. The exhibits were epic, except for the marsupial center where the wombat was not featured. And as the wombat is my favorite marsupial, I felt very offended.

Also, I couldn’t really see the Hope Diamond, since everyone insisted on pressing their faces to the glass. On the plus side, I saw a picture of the diamond on a middle schooler’s cell phone screen. Magnificent.

The evolution of man was an interesting exhibit except they didn’t show the whole “God created the world” part. Instead, it began with trilobites and one-celled organisms and whatnot. The caveman camp was disturbing, displaying an S&M-esque burial. The dead ancestor lay naked and bound in the bottom of a pit lined with a bear pelt. I mean, if you’re into that thing… not to mention the distasteful nudity. I never knew that cavewomen had bushy locks of nipple hair. Now, I know.

The most interesting exhibit in the American History museum was the pop-up book exhibit in my opinion. The history of pop-up books, and you’d be amazed over how many different kinds there are. Next to the pagan statue of George Washington sat on a throne and a reconstruction of a Vietnam-era helicopter, the pop-up books were pure art.

In the museums, my brother and I began a competition to see who could impose himself into more photos. While families took pictures of them holding the Washington Monument in their palms, we stood idly in the background with grinning faces and two thumbs up.

Nearing the end of the day, we saw the White House. Really White House? Try Off-White. The back lawn stretched green and lush toward them, snipers hunched on the roof with their sights passing over each of our foreheads. I feel sorry for the Obama’s really, because the lack of privacy probably prompts Michelle to pull the curtains a little tighter. If so many people congregated outside my house every day, I might hire some snipers too.

Afterwards, we walked back toward the car, making stops at H&M and at Hard Rock Café. A nice urban city once you get away from the monuments. Maybe the locals wanted to filter the tourists all into a single place. Like herding cattle. Every dome I saw, I imagined a missile must come out of it. The Washington Monument surely opens up to reveal a towering missile. Or the Capitol building. I don’t understand how military strategists could resist such cliché Hollywood-inspired missile launch sites.

We ride back now toward Fredericksburg to spent one final night. Last night we ordered fantastic pizza from a small restaurant near our hotel to which we’ll return tonight for wings or gyros or the like. Tomorrow we’re headed back to Aiken. 

About derekberry

Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, and student located in Charleston, SC.

Posted on May 30, 2011, in The Great American Road Trip. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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