Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two Cities

There are some advantages to living in a company town. One of them occurs on Veteran's Day, when most of the government workforce is at home padding around in slippers and the city (or most of it) is left to the rest of us.

Yesterday First Street was almost empty as I fast-walked down to Constitution and then to Third. No one was picking up a salad at Phillip's Sandwich Shop. No one taking a smoke break at the Hyatt service entrance.

And then ... I reached the Mall.

While the rest of the city was in Sunday shut-down mode, the museum-and-monument district was bustling with life. There were babies in strollers and (seemingly a new trend) dogs in strollers. There were selfie-takers striving for just the right photograph with the Washington Monument. There were joggers and cyclists and pedicabs and double-decker buses, all in a glorious jumble. The carousel was doing a brisk business, too.

There are always two cites here, the one the tourists see and the other, workaday one. But today the boundaries between those two cities were etched in high relief.
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