Saturday, May 17, 2008

Excuse me, Mr. Officer

The first time I ever heard about DuPont Circle was in the movie The American President. I'm tempted to digress to tell you about why this is one of my favorite chick flicks, but I'll save you the spoilers so you can watch it yourself, if you have not already seen it.

However, there's a running joke in the movie about the traffic in DuPont Circle. "Just stay away from DuPont Circle. I hear it's murder this time of day." When I first moved to DC, that quote went through my head whenever I was near DuPont, and I quickly learned the movie was not far off from the truth. DuPont Circle is a highly congested area, especially during rush hour.

But, it's also one of the most charming and energetic parts of town. Last night, my roommates and I decided to go to dinner at Lauriol Plaza in DuPont and for some reason, I decided to drive rather than walk the 10 blocks that it is from my office. Big Mistake! I spent 30 minutes driving around looking for parking. Once I finally found a spot, I became incredibly flustered. A man in a big white truck pulled up beside me, trying to convince me I was about to take his spot. Are you kidding? This is my spot. I found it. I'm taking it. That's what I told him and the smile in his eye made me realize he was actually just teasing me, but I wasn't in the mood for jokes.

We had a lovely dinner and we stuffed ourselves full of Lauriol goodness. But, as we walked to my car, I became increasingly nervous because I could not remember where I parked my car. I know that I walked down Riggs so we started there, but an hour and a half later we were still walking and my car was nowhere to be found. My patient roommates were so helpful and encouraging, not complaining at all, even reminding me that at least we got to walk around and see all the beautiful houses (and walk off our dinner too)!

We decided we needed to make a decision on what to do. We could metro home and drive back down to cover more ground faster in a car, but that would take a lot of time. We could hail a taxi and hope we found the car before the fare became too outrageous. Or better yet, we could ask the cop that was driving by. I quickly flagged him down. At first I wasn't sure he was going to help, but after explaining my desperate plight, he told me he had to respond to a call 2 blocks away, but if we waited he would come back and help us.

We laughed on the corner about the whole situation until he returned. I explained more of the details to him and then we all popped in the car, me in the front and my three roommates in the back. My favorite part was when he reported in on his radio: "On the corner of New Hampshire and R. Flagged down by a citizen. Helping to locate vehicle."

That's me - citizen in need.

Thank you Officer Martinez.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stranded at the Drive - In

I've spent the past 25 years, wanting to go to a drive - in movie. They are hard to come by these days. According to, there are only 2 drive-in theaters in the whole state of Maryland. One of them happens to be the historic Bengies located in Baltimore, just a quick 45 minute drive from my house. I went with some friends in hopes of seeing the main feature, Iron Man.

From the minute we arrived, there was something odd about this place. Maybe it was the man at the gate that firmly reminded us the speed limit was 5 mph. Or, maybe it was the brightly painted signs, explaining their extensive rules everywhere you turned. And if you somehow missed the signs, they made sure each car had a copy of the rules.

"No obscene language will EVER be tolerated." "No outside food permitted unless you have a food permit. If you do have a food permit do not share the food with those who do not have a food permit. No audiovisual equipment, recording devices or cameras of any kind are permitted on the premises EVER. If so, law enforcement may be involved."

These are just a few of the extensive list of rules, the breaking of such would result in expulsion from the park. We joked from the very beginning that there was no way we were going to remember all of these rules. I lamented that I left my rule list in the car on our walk to join another group of friends at their car.

We caught the tail end of The Spiderwick Chronicles, leaving me little desire to see the full movie. During intermission we took a food/bathroom break. More weirdness. 40 cents to add pickles to your hamburger. Aren't pickles standard these days?

We tried to take a group picture, but immediately after the flash, a theater worker bee-lined his way over to where we were. The conversation went something like this:

Worker that takes himself too seriously: Do you have a camera?
Us: Uh, yes
Worker that takes himself too seriously: Did you just take a picture?
Us: Yes
Worker that takes himself too seriously: Delete it!! Delete it right now!! It is a federal offense to have a camera on this property.

Well, we deleted the picture, but that didn't stop him from taking down our license plate number and calling for back up, at which point we were told to leave. We didn't put up much of a fight, though we did express our disbelief in being kicked out for taking one picture. Preston and I had to walk back to his car, and were noticeably followed by Worker that takes himself too seriously. We walked around for 15 minutes, trying to steer him off course so we could get inside the car and actually watch the movie. But when we got in the car, he was right behind us, ever so politely directing us with his mini lightsaber of power.

All in all, it was a hilarious night that ended up not as we intended, but more entertaining than we could have hoped. I don't blame Bengies, after all, we did break the rule. Who knew they were such sticklers! Sticklers or not, I'd go to their drive-in again.

Because it's been 25 years and I still have not really been to a drive-in.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Summertime, and the Livin is Easy

Reason I love the summertime # 27: Cook outs

My last post got me thinking about all the other reasons that I love the summertime. Many of my favorite summertime memories, spanning from when I was a child up through college and beyond, involve a good cook out, or as I've learned can also be referred to as a Barbeque.

But we (the Flory clan) always called it a Cook Out, which I feel is a very fitting name. After all, the main event consists of cooking out. So why not call it a Cook Out?

It wasn't until I moved away from home that I learned differently. I said Cook Out and people gave me blank stares. You know, where you grill hamburgers and hot dogs and your grandma brings the macaroni salad? Oh, you mean a BBQ? No, I mean a Cook Out.

Well, as it turns out, they're exactly the same thing. Of course I'm partial to Cook Out as it's what I grew up using, but BBQ is also a fitting name and so I also may at times use it when trying to describe the goodness that is grilled meat and corn on the cob on a hot summer night.

But never, no never will you catch me calling an Elephant Ear a Scone. People may try to convince you otherwise, but they are definitely NOT the same thing.

Boy, I love semantics.