Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Law and Order: Special Worship Unit

I had a vacation last week.

I spent several days in SC with my family, which was wonderful. My nephew is 3 today, and he's all about superheroes and cars and telling Mom "no". My mom and sister make me feel loved and special. Everyone needs weeks when they hang out, talk, make cookies, play cards, and sleep in.

Because I needed to be back in DC for class mid-week, my trip was abbreviated but it gave me a few days of staycation.

I spent one day of it being a tourist with my good friend D. (of the Barry Manilow outing), a teacher who also had the week off and could hang out in the middle of the day.

We spent the morning daring to find parking on the National Mall, didn't find any, then saw an exhibit of illuminations from old manuscripts, choral books, and Bibles at the National Gallery of Art. It was the perfect thing to do on Maundy Thursday -- the pieces were a mix of really striking intricate scenes and shockingly Monty Pythony sleeping guards at the tomb, etc. D. and I were the problem children of the exhibit -- the security guy told us on 2 separate occasions to back up from the walls and to pipe down. How nerdy is it to get in trouble at a museum looking at pieces of old Bibles?

We then went to see a photography exhibit of black and white images from various aspects of American life. Really cool, and no hassle from the guards (I guess the school groups there were more of a distraction).

We went to lunch at a wine-focused place near the Verizon Center, and 2 hours and $110 later we had eaten 9 different meats, 3 cheeses, some salad, some soup, and 5 different kinds of wine. The next natural thing to do was...

go to the Museum of Crime and Punishment. Yes, there is such a thing. You even have to pay to go in, unlike most of the museums in our nation's capital. It was seriously goofy fun -- celebrity mug shots, medieval torture devices, an electric chair, a shooting range, an interpretive legend of prison tattoos, dishes from the home of the mob boss busted during the big family meeting of all of the major players, get-to-know-your-serial-killer posters, and a prison cell complete with escape tunnel. The wine helped.

We ended our day with dessert for dinner and one more cocktail, where I found out my alma mater had made the Frozen Four college hockey tournament (they went on to the finals but lost in heart breaker). We lost, then found, the parking garage ticket.

Then we went to church.

Maundy Thursday is the time to remember the last meal, the first communion. In looking back over our day, it seemed like a day of decadence -- food, wine, friendship, reflection, giggling loud enough to be annoying to other museum goers. But as the music was playing in the worship service and I was thinking about sacrifice and how profoundly sad I have been for what feels like so long now, the feeling of being rested, loved, and fed became pervasive. I suppose we need to be fed in different ways at different times -- sometimes playing with Spiderman figurines on the floor, sometimes just being together, sometimes bread and wine, sometimes waffle banana splits and Spanish coffee, sometimes taking pictures of your friend in a pillory.

Thanks to Mom, Sister, Nephew, and D. for helping me remember this.

The photo is the aftermath of our lunch at Proof on G St. in DC.

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