All My Nightmares Are Real

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nightmare_crowdYou know, I hate to hear the words, "I told you so;" especially when they are directed at me.  Every time I hear them it makes me scream inside with bitter resentment pent up from years of being wrong.

This time it was just too much to bear.

I had spent weeks planning, not to mention a fair chunk of change, in getting my wife and two sweet children there.  I'd looked at all the websites and guide books and maps I could get my hands on.  I even read the wikipedia history, just to give me some perspective. I had planned to go during the "off-season," which the guide books all said was January-February.  Who'd want to go there in the middle of the winter?

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the worst site-seeing vacation experience of my life to Washington DC last week.  It all started when we arrived at the airport two hours early for our flight only to find out that our seats had been resold to the highest bidder based on the shockingly astronomical demand for seats on flights to our nation's capital.  They kept saying that everyone was headed to some sort of graduation party or something.  I said, "to hell with it", and packed the family into our sedan and we set out for the four hour drive from New York City.  It would almost be as fast as flying, really.

Or so we thought!  About halfway to Philadelphia we hit some amazingly dense traffic for a Saturday afternoon.  I thought it must surely have something to do with the Eagles' game and by the time we got past Philly it'd be smooth sailing.  Wrong again!  After passing Philadelphia and then Baltimore the traffic got progressively worse and worse.  Finally, six hours after we had planned on arriving to DC we crawled into the city limits only to find out that the hotel had overbooked and there were no rooms left.  After calling around I learned that all the hotels were in the same position and they all stated the same reason, "graduation."  Some of the hotel personnel were especially curt with me as if I should know about this ridiculous graduation party.

Feeling a bit down on our luck we attempted to go to a restaurant and regroup over chicken fingers and jalapeno poppers but again we were confronted with throngs of people.  We ended up waiting forty-five minutes for a TGI Friday's in Chevy Chase, MD just outside Washington.  At least we got served.  My wife made a few more phone calls after dinner and finally found us a room with two single beds with a couple of cots set up for the kids.  It was unbelievable.  How could this all be happening to us?  What had we done to deserve this fate?  I thought I'd done all the planning necessary but I guess now I have to check every freaking high school or community college for mid-winter graduations, too.  Lesson learned!

Sunday we woke up stiff from the cots but feeling refreshed and ready to venture out into the melee of crowds.  We decided that taking the metro-subway would be better than trying to find parking, but yet again we were confronted with "graduation" traffic which made it impossible to ride all together.  My wife took one of our dear children on the first train and jammed herself into the crowded car and my other child and I waited for the next train.  This train was even fuller so we couldn't fit.  The third train to pass had a little more room so we thankfully both got on-board.

We were going to go see the Lincoln Memorial first, but as soon as we got out of the subway we realised that wasn't going to happen.  The graduation was happening on the Lincoln Memorial!!!  It really was all of my worst nightmares come true.  We emerged from underground and were confronted with the freak crowds of graduation goers.  There must have been millions of them!  What school could possibly be so popular and also hold graduation in JANUARY!?  Tossed about by these waves of endless people, I scarcely was able to locate my wife.  I couldn't even make a fucking cell phone call to her because the cell networks were so busy.

I was pissed and I focused that anger into a determination to see that Lincoln Memorial come hell or high water.  So I grabbed by kids, one in each hand, and plowed through the crowds fighting my way toward the Great Emancipator (as they called him on wikipedia).  Finally, I got to to a police barrier when I was about one-hundred yards from the Memorial and had strong words with the officers holding the line.

"Why can't I see the monument!?"  I shreiked, scaring everyone including my children.  "We came here from New York just to see our Nation's capital and we demand to see the monuments and memorials!"  The cops were not ammused, but I kept on, "They're public property, aren't they!?  I pay my taxes!  I own that building!!  I own it!!  Of the people for the people!!!"  Right about that time I realized that the crowd around me was backing away as more police officers began to close in on me.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to fight them all off, so I backed down, if only to remain with my poor mortified family.  bathrooms_nightmareWhat would they do without me there?

As we labored back through the sea of humanity my youngest child asked me if we could use the bathroom.  I looked around only to see thousands of porta-johns backed up by long lines.  We looked for the shortest one, which was about thrity people long and waited.  Much to my dismay my dear sweet child couldn't hold it and now we had a freezing cold pair of pissed-in jeans on an upset child in the middle of the largest group of people either my wife or I had ever seen.

We'd had enough.  We walked until we could catch a cab back to the hotel, checked out and headed back to New York, discouraged and dissappointed in the hostility we'd received from our Nation's capital, Washington DC.  I'd always believed that, "this land is your land, this land is my land," but now I'm not so sure whose land it is.  Washington DC certainly wasn't our land last week.  I've decided that the next trip I take the fam on is going to be somewhere far far away from any chance of crowding.  Perhaps I'll take my wife and kids to Tampa Bay, FL around the 1st of February to make it up to them!

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    [...] We were going to go see the Lincoln Memorial first, but as soon as we got out of the subway we realised that wasn’t going to happen. The graduation was happening on the Lincoln Memorial !!! It really was all of my worst nightmares come …$anchor_text[$anchor_choice] [...]

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