Saturday, April 23, 2005

Expecting Something

Expectations are a funny thing. Sometimes we will have them, and things will not go as expected. You either roll with it, or your emotions play games with you. Today, three odd things happened to mess with expectations.

Stop #1 The National Cathedral. I found out after we visited that there is a Darth Vader gargoyle here- but that’s just fun information. My expectations were shattered when we arrived to a worship service on a Saturday, I was hoping for a tour. Instead, we were there for the installation of the Ninth Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Meaning: the new Senior Pastor/Administrator was commissioned. This was a 2 hour service for which we only stayed one hour. Both Dad and Marg would have stayed longer, but I got confused about what Marg wanted and I was itching to beat the cluster-f that would result at the end of the service. Also, in spite of the glorious organ and music (really, quite good, but not new to my ears), I was excited to get to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Hangar out at Dulles.

Stop #2 Steven F. Udvar-Hazy. This 3 year-old addition to the Air & Space museum is awesome! What did we see all in one place?
The Enola Gay: the B-29 bomber that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima (I was much more solemn and serious in front of this plane, I didn’t know how to really feel about it being in the museum).
The SR-71 Blackbird: the fastest plane ever, perfectly designed for spy missions. As a kid, I loved the Blackbird. I think I wrote a story or two about it.
The Space Shuttle Enterprise: I was sad to learn about the Enterprise only being a test shuttle, it never went into space. All the same, Enterprise is a cool name for a spaceship. And the boosters on its rear end are huge!
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: the fighter jet that will replace much of the U.S. military’s current plane arsenal. The JSF is being built for the Air Force, Navy & Marines in different configurations. And yes, it will also kick arse. Sorry, I may dislike war, but war planes are cool.

Now, we also got tickets to an Imax movie. “Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag.” Red Flag is a cooperative military combat exercise in Nevada with many NATO countries participating. It was pretty cool. But about 40 minutes through the film, just when the one character we’ve been following is stranded out in the desert for a major rescue mission, the power to the whole hangar goes out. Well, nothing gets you thinking about potential terrorist traps like a power outage in a room with five hundred people, in building with several thousand more and 50 billion dollars worth of retired military aircraft. And we sat there for ten minutes hoping the power would come on. Nope. So we left.

Stop #3 Dinner with Dan, Janice, Justin, Patrick, Jean & Kate. I only knew Dan beforehand. We went to Clark together, had half our classes together, edited each other’s papers, and made fun of his affable roommate Paul. Dan works for Sen. Jeffords of Vermont as did everyone else around the table other than myself and Janice. Janice works for Sen. Leahy, also of Vermont. The people were from Vermont. It was Dan’s birthday, I got thrown in as a guest and it was WONDERFUL. We ate at Logan Tavern, north of Dupont circle and I had fried chicken. I also finished Janice’s plate of pork loin. I decided at that point, I really have become my father. Anyway, it was superb meal and conversation in a very loud place, and Dan, Janice and I planned to make one more stop at a bar for a final drink together. When we get to Biddy Mulligan’s, the place is packed so after several awkward moments of everyone willing to wait it out, or just call it a night, we decide to call it a night. This was totally acceptable as we were too full and already sleepy at 10 pm. But again, I expected a little more time with my friend who I see once a year at best. We parted ways and I took the metro back here, where I was greeted by Dave Fainer on his bed in his underwear. Classic.

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