Wednesday, June 29, 2011

summertime and the living is queasy

There are summer days in Washington DC when the sky is a grayish solvent in which clouds become soggy, and then completely disolve. The weight of this added humidity makes the air semi-liquid, and the surface of the Potomac River in summer looses definition as a phase boundary between liquid and gas. Gills might be better suited to breathe this air.

The skin of moist amphibians is permeable to both oxygen and carbon-dioxide. They can breathe through their skin. Mammalian pores that gasp for air in the Washington DC summer heat might be trying to recapture some vestigial respiratory function, but they just vomit forth constant streams of sweat. The sweat is seamlessly miscible with the humid air.

At any moment the air will abandon its vain attempts at standing on the gaseous side of phase-change. Instead of just licking surfaces it will condense into festering oily pools. The world threatens to become the worst Jacuzzi ever.

What better time for AYD and I to fly out to DC for a vacation. Yay!

We will visit the Nation’s Klansman.

National Klansman

Looking up at its pointy top I will relate to AYD how President Zachary Taylor (standing right where we happen to be standing) spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for this great monument on July 4th 1850. Since I have no idea where ZT actually stood I will have no problem finding the exact spot. It was so hot that he eagerly slurped up a cool bowl of cherries and milk which happened to be poisoned. Five days later, at 10 AM on July 9th, ZT said “I’m ready to die”; then did.

“If it is hot enough” I’ll add pointing towards the White House “You can hear the echoing relief in President Taylor’s voice. Or the hint of guilt when he said ‘My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.’ He knew they had weeks of DC summer heat yet to go”.

DC is so full of history. I should also be able to point to the tidal basin from the Washington Monument.
“There” I’ll say “Is where, at 2 AM on October 9th 1974, Fannie Foxxe jumped into the Tidal basin trying to escape both Wilbur Mills and the DC police. It wasn’t as hot in October as it was that August when, on the 8th of August 1974, Richard Nixon resigned.”
It is so interesting to talk of presidential history during the start of a presidential election cycle.

I think a lot of our trip will be spent flitting from air-conditioned metro-stop to air conditioned museum. I’ll point out the decay of artistic sensibility captured in the National Museum of Art’s historical collections. It is amazing to actually see firsthand through changes in art how abilities and skills simply evaporated when Christianity took over Europe. Maybe we will discuss Michelle Bachman at the same time.

We will also flit into air-conditioned Starbucks. The nearest Starbucks to my house is over 30 miles away. I plan to be amazed by their presence on every street corner; it gets me every time. I may even jack into the WiFi and do a blog entry or two.


joanindc said...

Hmmm, I always thought Congressman Mills was splashing along with her in that Tidal Basin. But Wickipedia tells me he was the one trying to escape, not from her but from the fuzz when he got pulled over and was clearly drunk.

Another fun thing I like to do with tourists/newcomers is point out the line on the Washington Monument dividing the pre-Civil-War stump part from the part completed later. I tell people that's the "flood line" and they look around in horror imagining the entire city inundated by what would have to have been a 50-foot-high flooding of the Potomac river. Hee Hee, stupid tourists!

drewbird911 said...

Looking forward to see you, and the forecasts are trending hotter...
My favorite DC weather blog.

adult onset atheist said...

I hope to see you all!

I don’t think I could get away with describing the color discontinuity of the WM as a flood line. Since such a flood would put all of DC under water I would get all tangentialed up describing boating accidents. Eventually someone would call me on a particularly detailed description of the flamboyant paisley awning on Millard Fillmore’s Viking longship.

AYD and I have capitol bikeshare passes. I’m wondering if, after log exposure to the summer sun, the black vinyl seats on the bikes will melt off exposed skin.