Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Injuries are HOT

Due to an unforeseen set of events, E and I ended up at the Jefferson Memorial last night. I think we really wanted to see (or, rather, I really wanted to see) the World War II Memorial, but unfortunately, there isn't any parking over there, so we settled for what we could.

Observing the darkened parking lot and similarly deserted-looking circuit, I grabbed my pepper spray and cell phone. E took her camera with her, and I told her that, in case of emergency, she should be prepared to surrender her camera, and I'd give away my phone.

Best to be prepared, right?

So, we ignored the "SIDEWALK CLOSED" sign, and "jumped the fence" (aka, walked through the gap in the barrier). Literally stumbling upon a bulldozer, we stopped to pose for pictures in the giant bucket thingy. We got grease on our hands, but it was okay in this "we're so adventurous and fun" way.

Going around another fence (why were all these places closed off?!), we walked along the semi-pitch darkness along the water, on the paved path. A group of tall guys passed us, going in the opposite direction.

E was zooming along, and to my left, I caught the reflection of the Washington Monument in the water, and realized that we should be enjoying the walk, not working our asses off. I told her I wanted to slow down, and we lessened our speed by about five knots.

And then.


I received a vicious blow to the right side of my head.

Well, perhaps "received" is the wrong word, seeing as how I had obliviously walked into a hefty low-hanging branch that crossed over the path, elegantly drooping to the water. Staggering to the trunk of the tree that had felled me, I leaned on it for support and gasped "Thank. God. we. slowed. down."

E came over to offer a shoulder to cry on, and I basically pushed her away and said that I couldn't be touched. I then wailed, through the tears that were coming to my eyes unbidden, "Why didn't those guys tell us?! THEY WERE TALL. THEY KNEW!!" Looking up the path about 25 feet, I saw someone dart into the shadows, and noted it.

Meanwhile, E was snapping pictures of my distress. Not sure why, other than to document the trip in the most thorough manner possible.

I stopped my whining, and we soldiered on. God must have had pity on me, because after walking for about 10 seconds, I intuitively froze midstep, and said "Puddle!" E said, "What?" as her foot splashed through four inches of watery grossness.

Determined to reach stupid Jefferson, we kept walking. E was slightly ahead, and I heard her gasp "ugh! bugs!" And then it hit me: a wall of gnats that just would not end. We began running, waving our hands in front of our faces. I thought it would end when we broke out onto the pavilion, but they continued for about 20 more feet.

While flipping out, I thought of the shadowy figure cutting across the path, and felt a sort of kinship with him. The person wasn't being sketchy, he was trying to escape an Amazonian mess.

Jefferson finally reached, we sat for a few minutes to recover from the emotional trauma of the previous four minutes. My head felt weird, so I asked E if it was bleeding...and it was. We found the bathroom in the basement of the monument, and I looked at myself in the mirror.

Hair a mess. Grease on my nose from the bulldozer. A bloody forehead.

All in all, a pretty alluring package, in a way.

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