DC: righting a wrong

  • Posted on
  • by

Last week I took my first planned time off in 3.5 years.

When work slowed to a trickle and I realized this was possible, I asked myself where can I go where being alone will be a plus? I immediately thought of Washington DC. I would right a great wrong. I last went with the Approval Whore. She was visibly bored by anything that interested me. I burned many a calorie trying to balance my own history-geekdom with her show-ponydom, and the results were unsatisfying. This culminated in my skipping the Air and Space museum in favor of antiquing in Alexandria.

Skipping. The. Air. And. Space. Museum.

And thus did I traipse the National Mall at my own pace, visiting exhibits without compromise, leaving when I damned well felt like it. All these years later, I could feel her absence. What a pleasure to indulge my interests for five minutes without someone making a grand show of being bored. All these years later, and I was suddenly awash in gratitude for her absence.

• • •

My early impression was just how many of the "historical artifacts" I was seeing were recreations. Not a single joist in Ford's Theatre is original, and the flags and furniture that adorn Lincoln's booth are all bullshit. Every question's answer was the same.

"Is that the rocking chair Lincoln was using?"
"No, that's in Detroit. But this is very similar!"
"Is that the bed Lincoln died in?"
"No, that's in Chicago. But this is very similar!"

DC is filled with fake documents and artifacts. Even the White House was gutted to its outer walls in 1952. There are no floorboards that Jefferson paced. It was around the time I noticed the abundant electrical outlets in Ford's Theatre that I started to wonder why I was even there. To occupy roughly the same spacial coordinates as historical events?