I would like to say that this weekend was the first weekend I've spent in our Nation's Capital coinciding with said nation's birthday. However, it was not, and while the circumstances were quite different, the theme remains the same.
It should have been a fun one. I was in a festive mood most of the day.
But to do so, I have to bring you back to a non-baseball related story. In fact, it has nothing to do with baseball at all. It has to do with the reason I dislike fireworks, I've never taken to D.C., and toilet paper. It will tie together, I promise.
Back in 1996, the parents of my boyfriend (who to this day remains a very good friend of mine) at the time moved to a suburb smack dab in the middle of Baltimore and Washington called Crofton. We were futzing around thinking what to do on 4th of July. Up to that point, I wouldn't have called myself a huge fireworks fan, but I thought maybe finally we'd see the Macy's spectacular.
His idea? Let's help my parents unpack and then go to D.C. to see the fireworks. Up to then, I had only been to D.C. a few times, but each time the visits were rushed and I never got the full "tourist" effect of it. No White House (except driving past it), no Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Smithsonian, nothin'.
What a fabulous idea! Spending the Nation's Birthday in the Nation's Capital.
This holiday, of course, I found that the best laid plans, etc etc. You know the drill.
We wake up and in the brand new, recently constructed house, there was no hot water. Zee-roh. So we couldn't take showers. His father was one of those guys like, "I gotta see it to believe it." Since he had hot water in the morning, he figured we were all crazy. Then his mother realized that the sprinkler system was hooked up to the hot water heater. Oops. So by the time we were able to get our act together it was early afternoon. Not terribly late, but again, on a holiday in the Nation's Capital, we wanted to get a head-start on the day.
His brother agreed to tag along, and as we left the house, said ex-boyfriend asked his parents if they wanted to go. We had planned on taking the Metro in from Landover, but we still needed to get there (I don't remember it being all that far). They agreed to come as well. Okay, I guess. My philosophy was the more the merrier.
As we were heading to the train, his mother suggested we stop at the nearest Sears, to schedule a dishwasher delivery. What, you couldn't have done that earlier? Or call them? So we go the other way around to schedule this...Okay, fine, so we do that. Then it's off to the train.
The train itself wasn't that bad. By the time we got there, everything was shutting down, the few things that were open. The museums, etc. Not to worry, I figured we are there for the fireworks right? They go off in about four hours at that point.
Since I'd never been there, I told him that I wanted to go up the hill to the Washington Monument. Again, remember I had never been there. His dad starts freaking out. What happened? Well, he had to go the bathroom and the port-a-potties were in the different direction. So...do you need help wiping or something? Get over it -- we'll meet you down there in an hour.
Of course, again, best plans mislaid, etc etc. We start walking up the hill to find that...the Monument was closed because of no air conditioning. Well, that sucks. At that point I said, well, we might as well join Pops in the bathroom line since by the time he's done (I mean, there were a lot of people there), I'd probably have to go.
I don't mean to sound bitchy or ungrateful, but I was pretty pissed off. Boyfriend and I were planning on doing the fireworks, I had actually been looking forward to it, and now his folks (whom I normally loved hanging out with) were being complete wet blankets (um, no pun intended, due to the bathroom trip).
Wet blanket indeed. I pick the port-a-potty that had NO toilet paper. Zee-roh again. What now? I have to DRIP DRY??? This day from the minute we woke up to the grass being watered with the hot-water heater, to us making several pit stops because we wanted to be generous and ask his folks to join us, to missing the museums, to no AC in the Washington Monument, to no TP in the john was a complete clusterfuck. What next?
Okay, so boyfriend could see my patience was being tested thin. So he suggested we hit a truck. I got my usual Firecracker Pop (the red, white and blue icy thing -- apropos, right?). As we all got our wares, I forgot about the late start, I forgot about the museums, heck I even forgot I had to do the shake as I left the pot.
Then it happened.
Mom, who was known as a "general" in the family, said, "Okay, let's go home now." Now, since we all took the same car, we had no choice but to leave together. I turned to boyfriend, who looked mortified, and said, "but...I thought we were..." Then his mom says, "I have some steaks, so we can cook dinner when we get home."
Now, I'd never been in D.C., but I figured...this is the nation's Capita, right? There are PLENTY of places for us to dine, right? So I said, "Well, can't we just eat here?" Apparently, you can't question Mom, when everyone (including stoic Pops) says, "NO!" rather emphatically.
So let's reCoop here: I go down to the D.C. area specifically to see the fireworks. I was held up by stuff out of my control, then by stuff that could be controlled, went to D.C., didn't see anything in D.C. except a port-a-potty that HAD NO FUCKING TOILET PAPER, got ice cream, but then only stayed about a total 30 minutes.
So why did I rehash that story? Well, I often like to tell it because I have to explain myself why I don't like fireworks. It wasn't just then though but I never have. I remember being a kid and freaking out at the annual 4th of July celebration in town, and my mom having to take me home. This trip was a concerted effort to get me to like fireworks, but also to let me see why people love D.C. so much.
Much like Chap called her feelings on her years in Boston, I hated it on sight.
See, the reason I am telling this story is because all I kept thinking as Frankie Rodriguez blew what should have been an elementary save after not only a fabulous R.A. Dickey start but a start where heralded phenom Stephen Strasburg clearly did not have his best stuff working for him.
If the Mets lost to the Nationals and it was Strasburg's doing, hey, at least we'd have been able to justify it.
The game took much longer than it should have. A 4:10 pm start and we made it out of the parking lot at 8 pm, we were staying in Wilmington, Delaware (since I drove all the way down, I thought staying in a half-way point would be easier since I had to return the rental car earlier the next day), and my GPS died so we had to make a pit stop at a rest stop in order to charge it.
What's the point? Can't you see the parallels?
It was a shitty game and a shitty day and the only thing missing was the toilet paper.
Kind of like my trip in 1996.