Going Home Part II

We had a big morning planned (two lectures and a tour) but we kind of forgot about it and slept in instead.  We had to take a cab to make it to Georgetown in time for the Family Picnic (which we would totally have bagged too except we had already paid for it).  The food was good, though.  We chilled (Or tried to chill.  It’s in the freaking 90s here and the humidity is around 85%.  I mean it is brutal.)  for awhile until time for this afternoon’s panel discussion: Cementing a Legacy:  Analyzing a Second Term President (do we Georgetown grads know how to party of what?).
This thing was held in the brand-new business school building which is all stone and old-fashioned looking on the outside and all glassy and modern inside, and the reason they were holding the discussion in the fancy building was because C-Span was filming it!  And you know, it was really an interesting panel but I woke up with a headache and the medicine I take for that knocks me out completely.  It just does.  So if you watch C-Span don’t think that sleepy woman in the audience isn’t FULLY CAPABLE of following the nuances of the conversation.  She’s just on drugs, okay?
One of the graduates in the audience asking a question was just completely obnoxious.  He made me remember that I went to school with a fair amount of obnoxious people back in the day.  How shall I put this delicately?  Let’s just say, there are not many folks of the Southern persuasion here.  And I am back to being used to my polite and friendly fellow Southerners, after twenty-five years away from this place.
And have I mentioned the heat?  Yes, it does get hot at home.  But it cools off at night.  And there’s less asphalt and concrete.  Or something.  We are walking along like we are REALLY old, just not kind of old.  I’m telling you, it is sapping all of our energy.  We’re longing for our hotel room at about eight, and when we were here in school we didn’t even START partying until after that.  Things are later here.  That’s something I forgot.  You can walk into a restaurant at seven and get a seat, no problem.  It’s at eight that things are busy.  That’s backward from Knoxville.
But different is good, right?  So after the panel we went for another walk, this time down Wisconsin Avenue.  Most things we remember are gone, but my favorite ice cream place–Thomas Sweets–is still there!  Then we retrieved our car from the parking garage where we left it over night at less than half the price our hotel wants–take THAT, Melrose Hotel! and went driving into Virginia to visit some of our old haunts there, including a favorite restaurant from the year we lived here after we were married.  Then we took the car back to Georgetown and took another little walk around campus–short walks are much more manageable in the heat.
We ended up in the library.  This is a place where I spent a LOT of time, folks.  Not because I was studying.  I never once went there to study.  I worked there, though, at the circulation desk, for 12-15 hours every week for four years.  It’s so fancy-schmancy that I don’t even recognize it now, but the reading room next door is EXACTLY the same.  I think even the furniture is the same–it sure looks like it.  And the books that line the walls–books I’m pretty sure no one even opens any more–are encyclopedias.  Encyclopedias about everything–art, music, history.  Also the Oxford English Dictionary.  And all kinds of guides to periodical literature.  The kids probably sit there and laugh while they look all that up on their iPhones.  But I’m glad they haven’t thrown away the books yet.
We took a cab back to the hotel and now we are trying to work up the energy to go back downstairs and take a hike to the White House–seven whole blocks away.  Will we make it?  Find out tomorrow . . .

From the wall of the Intercultural Building, where the School of Foreign Service is housed
From the wall of the Intercultural Building, where the School of Foreign Service is housed

EDIT: Tomorrow never came apparently, because for some reason I never wrote THE REST OF THE STORY.  We did, however, go out that evening for a little walk and stared at the White House, and got ourselves a snack at Old Ebbitt Grill, which is one of those old places where the movers and shakers eat.

0 thoughts on “Going Home Part II

  1. Chris

    Sounds like the obnoxious questioner was completely uncouth. What was the question? How did the panel handle it?

    1. It didn’t even start out as a question, more like a diatribe. He called one of the panelists a “political hack” and referred to another as “someone who ran for something once.” This was part of his attack on Georgetown for having a panel made up solely of Democrats. While this was true, E.J. Dionne, who was moderating, explained that there was a conservative scheduled to participate who bowed out just a couple of hours before, and he mentioned that he has brought people like Pat Buchanan to his own classes at Georgetown to ensure the presentation of various viewpoints. And to the panelists’ credit, two of them were quite critical of aspects of the Obama presidency and I did not think they came across as biased in anyway (nor did my husband, who claims to be a Republican). The questioner continued talking until people in the audience were getting irritated with him and someone yelled, “Ask a question already,” at which point he tried to boil down what he was saying (which was starting to sound more and more offensive) into “Don’t you think President Obama will be remembered as an affirmative action president.”
      The panelists handled this extremely graciously. Mr. Dionne said that even though he found the question offensive, he is a believer in free speech so he would answer him. The others reacted similarly. I know one of them said that it was pretty certain that being an African American presidential candidate was probably still more of a drawback to winning than not!

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