Monday, April 03, 2006
Lisa Bueller's EXCELLENT Day Off
Since I did it the “official” way, I did not have to ride out the day in bed, acting out my Catholic guilt by “doing what I would do if I were actually sick.” That’s what I do when I "call in well." I think it’s more of an excuse to marinate in front of the TV waiting for the afternoon duo-fecta of Dr. Phil and Oprah. With a small side of checking in on All My Children to see if Brooke and Erica still look the same as they did WHEN I WAS A CHILD.
MZA is a man in motion kind of guy, in direct contrast to my lazy and slothful ways. He had a Plan for the Day and that involved jack-knifing out of the house, dropping off the kids at school and daycare and then driving down to the Mall to see the Cherry Blossoms.
Kids, they peaked on Friday and were exquisite.
We walked down past the Ellipse to the WWII Memorial that I had not seen. Zzzzzzzz. Soviet architecture anyone? I told MZA it looked like an example of “committee-fied” art. Trying too hard to please everyone results in a snore filled pastiche of rightness. Blech. And BOTH of my parents are/were WWII veterans. (My mother was vehemently opposed to the memorial because she said the Mall was getting to crowded.)
We walked. And we talked and we took snaps of each other beneath the fat pale pink petals. Then we walked up to the Freer Gallery and basked in my favorite room of all time, Whistler’s Peacock Room, that has been lovingly restored to its emerald green teak perfection. Then we went to the Sackler Gallery to see the STUPENDOUS Hokusai exhibit, which was truly lovely. At one point I turned to MZA and said, “How does it feel to concentrate?”
I felt almost giddy, to be free of the kids for a spell, to be away from work (!!!) and to just be, as we used to be. We walked back uptown, past the Corcoran
and the White House. By this time we were STARVING. I mean: Code Red. I was almost faint from hunger and MZA just wanted a sandwich.
We walked into a Cosi and I had this instant revulsion at the long “lunch hour” line and all the badge clipped workers standing around in hideous “casual Friday” tragedies.
MZA gets kinda grumpy when he’s hungry, which interferes with my restaurant radar (a skill akin to divining water). He walked into one deli and it smelled weird and it wasn’t crowded and I said “no.” We turned a corner and there was a charming little impromptu café set up outside of a Spanish restaurant. Bueno!
Blue canvas umbrellas, large bottles of fancy bubble water and a decidedly Euro clientele. We sat down at a table, surrounded by Lebanese cypresses, and looked at the menu. You know how you look at a menu and there is not one single solitary thing that you want? That’s what happened! But I thought, “F---it. We’re going to just GO WITH IT.” Besides, I would have fainted if we got up again. Things started looking better (mind opening a bit!). MZA ordered a MARAGARITA and I ordered a Heineken. Whoo hooo! Then we ordered fried calamari, seafood croquettes, potatoes with “veins” of blue cheese AND shrimp in garlic and olive oil.
And it was so damn brilliant. The sun, the muted chatter, the attentive waiter and busboy, the elegantly presented tapas.
MZA looked like a cat in the sun and he said, “I love it.” I said, “What?” He said, “All of it.”
It was the best day of my recent entire life.
Cynicism is another word for reality