Thursday, February 11, 2010
Nicole and Richard, December 2009
Big snows are (were?) rare enough around here that traditions and memories are firmly imprinted. My mom had traditions: always bake or make a big pot of something and instruct Dad to take an Irish Coffee to Elmo next door while he was shoveling. Without even realizing why, I stopped on the way home Friday for Irish Coffee makings. I didn't even remember the tradition until today when I offered one to my shoveling neighbor Cece.
When the news reports previous historic snow totals, they all prompt a memory:
1979 - Wearing what Dan called "weird chic" cloth Chinese shoes while walking home to 4884 MacArthur from an all-night party in Foxhall Village. Even the drugstore and Safeway didn't open for a day or two and people were skiing down the Boulevard.
1982 - Walking the several miles home from work at Georgetown University to find roommate Matthew Klena watching the news of the Air Florida crash and the Metro accident.
1996 - Being snowed in here, in Mt. Rainier, for over a week with young children. They got so sick of sledding that they just wanted to play on the plow hills at the corner. That was easy because these plow hills were right in front of the house and the kids didn't need to be so well suited up.
What will be this season's memories? Well, first the sheer number of events, including the "mess up holiday plans storm" of December 2009. Then the January 30 six inch interlude during which we held Bob's big birthday party and grilled in the backyard. For the "big one" which just passed, it will be neighbors Kathy and John coming every night to play board games with Richard and me. And neighbor Dave and I embarking upon a committed relationship with Battlestar Gallactica by watching the first disc. Also our local brewery/restaurant Franklins has a new brewer and tonight's "meet the brewer/try two new beers" will stick in my mind because many of us who made it there hadn't been anywhere in days and yet another big snow was beginning. Staff were outside to push people out of the parking lot.
It's easy to make fun of snow hysteria, but it can be rough when the power goes out or the infrastructure collapses in various ways. But it also is just unusual enough to put us in a festive mood and makes us mark those friends and family who get us through, and it imprints traditions that we barely know we have. Fare well Washington DC area friends... spring will arrive for us.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Twenty five years ago Commander Salamander was really something to see. We used to drive all the way from Nags Head to buy clothing, sunglasses, buttons and all of the radical raging supplies a punk rock kid needed. I was really heartbroken when I heard that the store was closing. I went one more time to say goodbye, but when I walked through the doors, I had a better understanding of why it had met its demise. Except for a Cobain poster over the register, this store was no longer unique. It looked like any other store in any other shopping mall anywhere. Man, this was where Andy Warhol would shop when he came to DC! Someone totally mainstreamed their inventory and their presentation. No corrosion in their conformity. Somewhere down the line Commander had ceased to be cutting edge and unique and, like almost everything else in Georgetown (and retail in general) it became just another common denominator.