Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here's to the Night

I just took my last late-night walk home from Rachel's apartment in Adam's Morgan to mine in Woodley Park. Not a big deal, I know; just a walk, I know. Ease up on the misty-watercolored-memories thing, Kate. I know.

Obamarama on Kalorama
But I decided to walk instead of wait for the bus so that I could take a conscious walk down memory lane, a mental tour of times past before my memories of D.C. are relegated to whatever I can conjure up without visual cues. I was almost overwhelmed by the volume of things I remembered as I made my way down 18th Street, a place I'd hardly say I frequent & would rarely say I like. But they came easily.

There was Bobby Lew's, where my friends & I had a dance party upstairs to a lot of Rob Thomas-esque tunes - but where, another time, the bartenders gave away my debit card to someone who wasn't me. And then Soussi, where we went for hookah one freezing night but had to sit outside because there was no space available elsewhere. The townhouse at the corner of 18th & Kalorama, where my friend Ben used to host hopeful liberal parties in those pre-Obama days.

Late night at Amsterdam
Next block, the tennis courts where Jill & I waited to play but gave up after 45 minutes to go get ice cream instead, from the Maggie Moo's that closed down just this month. "We look like we just worked out," she rationalized. Next to it is the Marie Reed Community Center, where we wandered through the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair on a too-hot-to-be-outside day so Rachel could buy herself a new purse to replace one that had fallen to bits.

Late-night staple Amersterdam Falafel, where a group of us celebrated before a few friends left the District last summer, sharing an after-party meal that consisted of far too many french fries dipped in peanut sauce. The Tibet Shop, where Micaela & I shopped for African beads & other foreign treasures before she left for Rwanda. Grand Central, the site of a crowded Campus Progress fundraiser packed to the gills with young liberals clamoring for free cocktails.

Dancing at Bos
I passed The Reef, where I met other DC bloggers for the first time at an awkward rooftop happy hour. The Leaky Faucet, which we dubbed "The Sticky Bar" after a birthday party that found all of our shoes practically glued to the floor. Bossa, where Rachel's college friend bounces & sometimes waives our cover fee, where my single friends & I celebrated New Year's 2009 after all the couples left our party. Weird hippie brunch spot Asylum, birthplace of the Great DC Brunch Tour. Caliyogurt, home of the best grapefruit froyo in the land & more than a few post-hang-out dessert adventures.

There's more: Over to the right, just down Calvert, there's Mixtec, of the tequila-heavy mango margaritas & total lack of air conditioning. Pasta Mia, the only food I've ever had that's worth a two-hour wait. The old Blockbuster, where we couldn't find "The Sandlot," & Adam's Mill, where we enjoyed many a classy Sunday Night special of chili dogs & tater tots. And so on & so on, all the way home.

Are you bored yet? I'm sure I've lost most of you by now, rattling off places & people you're unfamiliar with, just listing my memories like they're episodes of TV shows you probably haven't seen. I expect that many of these memories will fade with time, & that the next time I'm in town, I'll discover that many of these places have been replaced with new ones, ones that hold no meaning for me.

But walking down 18th Street tonight, I couldn't help but feel like each place lit up as I walked past it, just like those big, interactive maps at science museums that help kids identify bones or organs in the body, or something. Each place lit up & reminded me of all the things I've done, a grimy neighborhood full of colorful memories.

This place has been good to me.

12 comments:

Chaviva E. said...

I know how that feels. I've left *many* places. Going back will never be the same, as you probably know. Beware. *hugs*

Regina B said...

Thanks, I officially have "Here's to the night's we felt alive, here's to the tears you knew you'd cry, here's to goodbye tomorrow's gonna come too soon" in my head for the remainder of tonight. Also, I have a letter for you, it's just a matter of sending it... We're going through a LOT of the same things right now. <3 Always, Uninsured Regina.

Kristin said...

You are killllllling me! Oh The Mill. Such memories. : )

Liz said...

I know how it feels and how important it is to feel nostalgic in a place where you've built so many memories. I bet you'll look back on this post with fondness from time to time :)

Marie said...

I did that before I left Boston. When I go back now to visit, some places are the same, but some have changed. Always feels good to be back. Even for just a few days.

And DC will always be here for you to visit!!

Barbara said...

memories kept area always sweet

steph anne said...

I love going to places where I've had so many great memories. It gives you a warm & safe feeling. It looks like you always have a great time with the DC bloggers!

Jweiser said...

I loved this post! So many wonderful memories :)

rachelsmiles said...

aww boo boo when is your last day?! are you having a farewell HH??

Kelly said...

Well, the true northeast (and I say that because the Cleveland-area gets the same snow I get in Buff/Roch, not those BS mid-atlantic winters) welcomes you home with open arms!!! There is a certain something about it up here that makes it hard to stay away for long. I've inadvertently allowed my roots to settle and I'm actually content with the idea of staying myself -- DC dreams sadly laid to rest. I envy you for the time you got to spend :)

Stephany said...

This really was a beautiful tribute to DC. It will always hold a special place in your heart, I'm sure!

terra said...

It always makes me so sad to return to a place a find all my favorite old haunts closed up or changed.

Good luck on this next adventure!

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