Wednesday, June 15, 2022

An Open Letter to Washington D.C.

Dear Washington D.C.,

As you know, my family and I are on vacation this week in your fine city. Or non-state district. Or federal municipal jurisdiction. Or whatever you are.

We are enjoying all you have to offer. On our first day, we employed your Big Bus tour, which allowed us to hop on and off at almost all of your fabulous attractions along the mall.

Incidentally, I think the "mall" is misnamed. It seems to be comprised entirely of one big-ass lawn and the world's longest lap pool, surrounded by nothing but hugely imposing granite and marble buildings and monuments. We did find some gift shops in the museums, but not a single Forever 21 or pretzel place. And also, the Capital Police get kinda testy when you try to swim laps in the big pool.

Anyhoo, just wanted to thank you for the attractions. We got a guided tour of the Capitol building. Solid giant artwork selection! Although, one of the rotunda artists put his old, bearded face on a baby, and that was mildly disconcerting when pointed out by our guide.

The Lincoln Memorial is outstanding! Kudos on all the huge columns and engravings and gigantic Abe. Very impressively imposing. It's a bit high, though. Not to complain too much, but it's kinda hot and more than a little muggy here in June. Less stairs next time, would be super!

The war memorials are all really well done. Thank you for those. Arlington National Cemetery is sobering and incredibly well kept and cared for. Again, thank you for that. And great work with those guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier! I was sweating like a faucet just standing there watching them, and I never heard one of them complain. Just a lot of heal clicking.

And big props on the Natural History Museum! We saw everything from a T-Rex eating a triceratops to the Hope Diamond. That museum is like the upscale Walmart of natural history. It's got everything! Well done.

We are all big fans of the Nick Cage movie, National Treasure, as I’m sure you are, so we wouldn’t have missed the National Archives. I obviously wouldn’t be reporting it if we had, but I wanted to let you know that we weren’t able to sneak out the Declaration of Independence, or any of the other more important documents. Kudos on all the security in the rotunda room! Strangely, the security in the vault room was less formidable. Go figure. Anyway, we promise to take very good care of our new keepsakes. Cheers!

What I really wanted to write about actually has nothing to do with any of the monuments or museums. I’m corresponding with you today mainly regarding your wildlife. No, not the tourists that rent those electric scooters, and not the homeless guys yelling at invisible people on the Metro rail. I wanted to highlight a plus and a minus for you of the non-human variety.

First, the plus. We took a night tour of the mall and absolutely loved the fireflies. We don’t have those in California, and they added an element of magical wonder to our trip. Thanks so much for providing those! We have yet to find any in the gift shops but would love to get some to take back home for our backyard. Any info you could provide on that would be great.

Now, the minus. Your rats. We definitely do have those in California, but we don’t keep them out on the street in broad daylight like you do. And not to complain too much, but walking through our neighborhood at night is like the underground tunnel scenes in Indiana Jones. Rats scurrying in front of you on the sidewalk every couple yards is not a super-relaxing way to stroll home after a delightful day of sightseeing.

Our AirBnB is in Foggy Bottom, which, incidentally, would be a great name for an alt-folk-rock band. As you know, Foggy Bottom is one of the older neighborhoods in town, but it’s quite nice otherwise. The rats really detract from it, though. Especially when you are constantly readying yourself to dropkick one, and you have to shoo them off your front steps when you arrive home. I’m not making that up.

Anyway, just wanted to drop you a quick line to say you have a great town here, but the rats aren’t doing you any favors in the Yelp reviews, if you know what I mean.

Just a friendly heads up, rodent-wise.

Stay classy,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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