Friday, October 06, 2006

DC vignette


Yesterday the chair of the history department and I went out to lunch at Breadline, a sandwich shop so fancy that they bake their own bread. As we approached the line to order our food, a black Lincoln Navigator with police lights pulled to the curb. Mayor Anthony Williams and his bodyguard alighted from the behemoth, and took their place in the queue directly ahead of us.

We tried to engage Williams in conversation. He did not make eye contact. He mumbled a mere "hello," then returned to a solitude he seems able to gather around himself even in a thronged shop, waiting in line for lunch. There was something about his aloofness that seemed inscrutably sad.

PS The clouds scudding over the District are dumping wind-driven rain. Because the water feature in my office has been turned on again, the Shriner on my sill is as morose as he has ever been. Yet now he makes me think of the downcast mayor.

11 comments:

Karl Steel said...

I think you have a huddled Proust in you yearning to be free, although your madeleine seems to be a wet little shriner.

J J Cohen said...

Although it isn't the scent of wet shriner that transports me back into lost time ... I take your point!

Karl Steel said...

Although it isn't the scent of wet shriner that transports me back into lost time

Are you saying that smell, at once doggy and plastic, hasn't transported you into lost time? Who--or what--do you think is behind your career?

Eileen Joy said...

You know what I think this blog needs? A mascot. One that we could put either above or below the banner, and I would really like for it to be that morose little Shriner. At the very least, can we have a photo of him?

J J Cohen said...

Eileen, I have now updated the post with a picture of the shriner on the sill (just snapped it with my cell phone).

A most unattractive blog mascot ... and maybe therefore the proper one.

Eileen Joy said...

Oh, yeah! That shriner is great. But is he really morose? He seems to possess a sly and winking knoweverything-ness. Or maybe it's just the slant of light in this cyber-cafe I'm sitting in.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

So if I were to visit your town, in order to hide away in a corner of a well-stocked library and do some work, would I want to use your library or the one at the slightly similarly named Jesuit institution?

J J Cohen said...

Go Jesuit, if you are seeking easy access to medieval materials. GW's colelction doesn't come close.

Another Damned Medievalist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Another Damned Medievalist said...

Thanks! now to find a few days for a research junket

JKW said...

I ran into Mayor Tony at the Safeway in the Watergate about five years ago, and he was, as you say, quite aloof. Still, one can't question his ability, and I appreciate his common touch. The Washington City Paper, when it interviewed him about a year ago, asked what people could do if they wanted to protest some of his policies. "I dunno," I recall that he said. "Vote me out, I guess." I appreciated that plain-spokenness.

Of course, Tony isn't standing for re-election, but that's beside the point.