patrick tuoheys in washinton DC

Day 39: D.C. with Tuohey and on to New York City

April 13, 2000

9:31A  – Up and oddly concerned about the whereabouts of the SmartBeetle.

No worries - she is safely resting outside my bedroom window.

Remembering a surreal moment in Boston with the little red clown car puttering through Cleveland Circle.....Sad Clown, Happy Clown


parenting at IHOP10:35A - Patrick's cancelled his meeting and we are devouring hash and eggs and benedict and flapjacks at the Original Pancake House. The woman at 4 o'clock (position relative to my eyes at 12 o'clock) begs more thought on surrealism....sitting in a Pancake House on a Thursday morning at 10:45A reading the latest issue of Working Woman....there is something seriously wrong here.



11:50A - Our nation's capital. D.C. Home to Presidents, their mistresses and my tax dollars. A city with the greatest home-court advantage in the world. And an ex-crack addict mayor. Only in America.

Quickly lined up a visit to Connecticut moderate Republican Represntative Shays' office (descriptive title). A friend of Tuohey's suggests one of the newest interns show us around the capital building. Kelly hails from from Rutland, Vermont...more memories of home.

The truth comes out -Patrick is quite the expert histroically on all things D.C. He has been giving tours of these halls for years. It is he, not Kelly, who leads us on a fast-pace speed-walk quick bite tour of the senate and house. Kelly is only on loan from Shays' for an hour. Her staff ID gives us privileged access to the upper floors. The photo ID badge around her neck is to Patrick what the SmartBeetle is to me....a coveted tool necessary for the telling of fascinating and important stories. A catalyst that sparks the chemistry of the mind into a whirlwind of reactions, heat and movement.

Looking at Kelly, she felt more utilized than used. She gathers tidbits of information from his speech that are not taught in Capitol Tours 101.

Before i know it we are bumping into Senator Phil Gramm in the hallway and Senator Jesse Helms is waving at me from the Congressional subway platform....what a kind gentleman.

jesse helms in the senate subway rotunda

I feel like i am here at this exact time to check up or audit the this my government, my tax dollars? Are these people representing my interests? To tell you the truth, i was a cynic when it comes to our government. For the people, by the people, of the people. Waste of hard earned money. Pork bellies and $300 hammers. Funding of studies on the tensile strength of different ketchup packets. Tobacco lobbies, oil lobbies. 20/20 exclusive stuff. Riveting 60 minutes segments with Mike Wallace looking perplexed, shocked in disbelief, asking some guy who spent the last 30 years lying about serious health hazards,  - "And you thought this would be benefit people?"


1:25P - We wandered into Rhode Island Senator Reed's office (whoops, Democrat!) to visit my guide's old roommate. Nice office, but not extravagant.  Well done, pictures of dignitaries, past Presidents, children's drawings, college degrees, House voting slips from mid-20th century legislation.


This city uses technology as it should be used. Tuohey calls someone and the next thing you know we are being helped or having a 'favor' done for us. At one point we even had two people in two separate parts of town trying to get us permission to drive the SmartBeetle up to the steps of the Capitol. This is not idle chatting on wireless devices just for the sake of doing it....this is not calling ahead for dinner reservations...this is not just being in communication with someone while running out of gas on a deserted highway at 11pm in Montana...this is real. People talking to people performing acts - somehow underneath it all there is an air of "you scratch my back and...", but not in an evil way. At least not with the persons in my presence. It feels almost like an acceptance of "look we have to work together to get things done and move forward, so let's just get to it."

tuohey and butcher working congress

Revelation: I am convinced enough to go ahead and pay my taxes this year. Not in joyous celebration, but at least in reserved acceptance of a necessary rental fee for the blanket of freedom that keeps me so toasty and warm at night.


michelle and patrick2:10P - whirlwind tour of inner D.C. complete, Patrick and I head off for a lunch date with his better half Michelle. The grill claimed to have the "Hill's Favorite Tarragon Chicken Salad" even though the menu had been totally reinvented just the day before. I guess the word "Hill" meant the manager of this restaurant and it's investors, not the 535 Senators and Representatives, and 606,900 citizens of the District.



3:05P - Off on a drive around the mall to witness the monuments of freedom.

The Capitol Building

capitol under repair capitol from the smartbeetle

Lincoln Memorial

lincoln memorial

The scene from the backside of our $10 Bill and the symbolic storage vault for my tax contributions - U.S. Treasury

treasury building

"Goose" view of the Abe's memorial

lincoln memorial - wish i could've been there for ya, Abe

And of course Cousin Bill's home for the next 9 months

white house smartbeetle


4:20P - Dropped my navigator off at his sugar momma's to sleep off lunch...and i am off on the Beltway to blaze a trail up the Northeast Corridor. Next stop New York City and payoff of an enormous debt.

6:40P - I'm making hellish time up I-95....Metropolis awaits, so i skirt I295 around Philadelphia. Liberty Bell, Franklin, Balboa - never been, maybe next trip.

8:05P - Sunset over the Jersey Turnpike - i hate to pump up the stereotype about this state, but this is only a decent reference point for thirty-nine days of much better. Jersey is only a throughway, not a destination...i have plans in Manhattan.

9:05P - Late as ever to meet Blacky, i was shunned from two west side garages before sliding into Imperial Parking Systems by about an eighth of an inch. As in Vegas, a sign of warning on the windshield is in order.

Andy and I finish a call with fellow Britney-lover Campbell and it's off to Mr.Bigg's for some 'chicken wings' and lager. After a few pints, he insisted our bartender (tendress?) Dina pose for a picture for the Internet. I think mr biggsthe line was "you'll be famous!" Proof positive that we Americans are putty in the hands of a British accent fro mthe opposite sex. Could this be a Genetic left-over from our recent ancestors?


11:05P - Photo of "someone famous" signing autographs outside a Theater

broadway autographs 

11:10P - Introduced Andy to a private investigator i knew from past visits to the City and tried in vain to take some dark photos. no such luck, but at least i got to keep the camera.

12:05A - Bud in hand, Andy screams "Happy Birthday Mate".

3:00A - Tall glass of lemonade to wash down the mozzarella sticks the down comforter gets pulled up over my eyes.

twenty-nine years under my belt. what do parents think on their children's birthdays?  how many more of these do i have in me? what day is tomorrow? how is Vickery Hill tonight - i've been away 40 days. i think i miss Atlanta. eyes wide shut.

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On the Stereo...

The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections by Tom Brokaw (audio book)