I wandered through the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial on my way to Chinatown last night. I do that often enough that it didn’t take me very long to notice how unusually bright it was. I noticed them replacing many of the light fixtures around the memorial not long ago. Apparently it’s been a long time coming, because not only was everything brighter, but light was coming from little niches that I didn’t even know were supposed have them. As I popped out of the other side, I noticed that F St. by the Verizon Center was blocked off. Judging from the police and tents, I thought that it was some sort of emergency preparedness drill until I spotted skate boarders casually rolling past the tents.
Flashback to about a year ago, doing the same walk and finding the same scene. Not nearly as pleasant as it was last night. Raining lightly, but heavy enough to warrant an umbrella. The sounds of Fats Waller’s band playing the moody “Dark Eyes” on my ipod.
As I approached the tents, I smelled them before I noticed them moving. Horses. Lots of them. A sign for the Washington International Horse Show hung on the fence separating the passerby's from the makeshift corrals.
I stopped for a moment under a street lamp and got a better view of those handsome creatures. I made eye contact with one of them and I forgot where I was going for a moment, wondering what I was looking at. Fatigue? Sadness?
Back to last night. I'm greeted by the same scene. Horses at rest. Humans at work. Stalking the stalls, shuffling hay, checking out the competition.
No ipod for me , but I still hear music as I approach the metro. Less Russian inspired Harlem jazz, but instead more like early 80’s r & b.
“Toniiiiiight I celebrate my lovvvve for you . . .”
There’s something off. It's not a recording. Someone is singing. And not very well.
I round the corner into the metro entrance to find a guy playing a keyboard on the sidewalk. A Middle-aged Asian man. He’s singing a duet with a much older black gentleman whose reading words from over the piano players shoulder. A similarly older Asian woman tries to get me to stop. She doesn’t need to waste energy since the sheer surrealness of it all keeps me from ignoring them. Its only when she tries to convince me to sing the next song that I snap out of it to peel myself away and hit the escalator down.
“What I want most to doooooo Is to get close to yoooooou
Toniiiiiiiight . . .”