I can combine anything can’t I. First it’s orange and chocolate. Now it’s Lincoln and Buddhism. Here’s the story.
Last week I decided to take the girls into the city to picnic at a monument. This is something I’ve dreamed about doing since I found out we were moving here. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to live so close to DC. It would be so much easier to hop into the city if we live close than if we have to drive/metro forever. There’d be no way I’d want to just pop over and have lunch at a monument. So, we live close to the city and therefore I want to just pop over and have lunch at a monument.
I packed our lunches and loaded the girls up. We were all ready to go. Reagan really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial. Alright, to the Lincoln Memorial we shall go. Wanting to test out my driving and navigation skills I decided not to use the nav part of my nav unit. Jeeves, I call him. I had Jeeves on so I could see all of the streets around me, but I didn’t have him telling me where to go. This could be seen as a mistake.
The bridge I thought we were going to cross, we didn’t cross. No problem, the Key Bridge is up near Rosslyn, I’ll take that over. Except there’s no on ramp in the direction that I’m heading. I had to do a U-turn, drive back a mile and make almost a 360 degree circle to take the bridge into DC. By this time I decided that I needed Jeeves to tell me how to get to Lincoln.
He gets us there alright, but I’m determined to find the closest parking available to the monument. There’s not a metro stop that gets really close to the Lincoln Memorial so I thought I’d drive and test my luck (although I don’t believe in luck) with metered parking. Jeeves wants me to take a left when we get to the monument. Well, no one told the Garmin map updaters that that specific left is now blocked and guarded. I had to take a right. That right took me over a bridge back into Virginia. So I had to make my way back up to the Key Bridge. And I had to do the U-turn, the mile drive and almost 360 degree circle to get over the bridge into DC.
This time I decided that parking anywhere in the vicinity would be good enough for us. It was already past 1pm and we were hungry. Bring on the picnic! And I’m not one to drive around looking for a good parking spot all day anyway. I finally found a metered spot on a street a block or two away from Lincoln. It was a two-hour spot, which should be plenty of time for us to eat (even though my girls can be painfully slow eaters), tour the museum, stamp our National Parks passport books and head back to the truck. To my delight, and great fortune, this spot still had an hour and fifteen minutes left on the meter. Such a good thing since I started feeding quarters, and feeding quarters, and feeding quarters in it to get it up to two hours. I think it took me six quarters to advance the time to two hours. 45 minutes was $1.50. Choke. Whatever, it would be worth it. (Side note, I am very jealous of my quarters now. When I pay for things and use cash I NEVER pay with any quarters I might have. No, those are saved specifically for feeding into the hungry meter machines.) The walk to the Lincoln Memorial took ten minutes. This was pleasant only for the fact that Ashlyn was in a stroller and Reagan was excited that we were finally getting to see Lincoln.
It couldn’t have been a better day to dine al fresco near the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. We picked a spot on the lower steps, closer to the pool, and made ourselves comfortable. For Ashlyn and Reagan this meant barely eating as they were more interested in playing on the stairs. No bother, the beautiful sky and fresh air allayed any anal desires to have them sit still and just eat their lunch already.
As they were playing a Buddhist monk descended the stone steps and stopped to marvel at my youngest. She was cute and all with her little blond pigtails, but was stooping over, coddling her chin, and staring necessary? My first instinct was to kick him where it would hurt and shove him down the stairs, but then I realized that I could take him if he really started to get weird. At this point I could tell he was just fascinated with her blondness or something. He was saying things to me but I couldn’t understand a word he spoke.
He moved along, continuing down the steps, but then three other monks and what must have been their English interpreter came down. They too stopped to marvel at my youngest. Wow, I thought….and then I didn’t know what else to think. Then the interpreter asked if one of them could get his picture taken with her. The monk at first tried to stand next to Ashlyn, who doesn’t really like to stand still to get her picture taken. Add to that she doesn’t know what to make of men in red robes paying so much attention to her either. She was a little put off about needing to stand next to him, so he bent down to get on her level. Reagan, seeing all the fuss being made, jumped in as well. Now, Buddhist number one saw what was going on with Buddhist number two and after number two’s picture was taken he had to jump in and get his picture taken as well.
All of this was taking place on the steps right in front of the reflecting pool. Other people were coming and going. One family saw the exchange and the daughter ran down and tried to ask one of the monks, as they were walking away, if she could get her picture taken with them. They just kept on walking. After her parents caught up with her I heard the mom complaining to the dad that they didn’t even pay attention to the daughter. I butted in here and explained that they didn’t speak English, they weren’t being rude. At this point the dad goes, “that was the Dalai Lama.”
I suppressed my laughter and managed, “he probably would have a bigger entourage if he was the Dalai Lama.” At this the wife sides with me and the husband said, “well, they were very humble.” In what, ignoring your daughter’s request for a photo? I thought it was impressive though that the teen had enough guts to go up to who she thought was a big religious figure and ask for a photo with him. I then explained to them that it was the monks who had stopped to take a picture with us, not the other way around.
The rest of the day was less eventful. We looked through the Lincoln Memorial, got our National Parks passports stamped, walked through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, made it back to the truck with seven minutes to spare and made it home with the help of Jeeves.
Later that night, after I told Du about our adventures, he was reading daily news events on his computer and says, “oh look, the Dalai Lama is in town!”, playing me for a sucker. I know what the Dalai Lama looks like.