Apr 10, 2006

Walk See Eat

We're back. You know how the Hirschorn and the Lincoln Memorial may look only two inches apart from each other on the map? And you know how when you are actually walking it, you say "Geez, I should have worn more comfortable shoes?" Well, when you have a four-year-old and a six-year-old, you feel yourself to be a tiny speck on a nearly endless green plain. You realize that just finding a bathroom before a nasty accident occurs, and finding a hot dog stand before complete debilitating weakness sets in, are goals lofty enough for your family. We did succeed.

More respite was provided at the Hirschorn, blessed Hirschorn! We happened upon the Hiraki Sawa video project at the just the right moment. Because we were tired of walking in the sun, a few minutes sitting in a darkened room was just the thing for all of us. Slowly, the images themselves began to transfix us. Filmed in a bleak apartment, these black and white videos show shadows of camels parading around the circumference of a sink drain; airplanes flying dreamily through halls, taking off from and landing on tables; cups, saucers, and a cheese grater (Will's favorite) sprouting human legs and walking away. A half dozen or more teenagers were lounging on the floor of the tiny theater, adding their own layer of performance art. From what we could overhear, they had three more hours to kill before their bus picked them up, and they were glad to have found a carpeted dark place upon which to do whatever it is they do with cell phones. (If there was anything else they were doing, it was below my sight line.) About the show? "This is so weird."

That night we had dinner at Raku, "An Asian Diner" near Dupont Circle. I ate there once years ago with an old friend, and once with John before kids. I propose a name change to Raku, "An Asian Diner That Discourages Small Children from Ever Coming Here Again by Serving Their Ice Cream in Martini Glasses." Yes, the glass fell and shattered on the table because Jack didn't know to hold the stem and we forgot to tell him because we were too busy watching Will with his glass. And yes, he's OK and nobody got glass shards in their eyes. Previous to this little disaster, the boys were occupied for quite some time eating bowls of plain rice noodles with a little soy sauce, while we sipped huge cocktails and ate spicy seafood. I had a Mai Tai in a pint glass, if my memory serves me correctly, and John had a super spicy Bloody Mary. Most of the evening was truly pleasant. We're used to being high maintenance and loud and making people wonder when we'll leave. The waiter did bring out more ice cream for Jack. Not in a precarious, fragile vessel for serving trendy cocktails, a real honest-to-God bowl.


6 comments:

Sugarmama said...

Yes, you can always tell whether a restaurant server has his/her own kids or not. Serving ice cream in a martini glass to 4- and 6-year olds? No. Asking if your 6-month old infant needs a booster seat or a high chair? No.

But the Asian diner sounds lovely. I wish I had a pint-sized Mai Tai...

jo(e) said...

Last time I was in DC, I had small children with me and I was very pregnant. The main thing I remember is how very far apart all the buildings are ....

pgspringer said...

Lee and I were just looking at pictures we had taken on trips with our kids at that same age: Ernie and Henry Mennoing our way cross country and into Mexico. Ernie, now 21, and I are planning to visit the Whitney next month where, we hope, there will be examples of so weird video art, too.

liz said...

Raku should have known better.

Glad the Mai-Tai was good.

Anjali said...

I'm sorry it didn't work out for Jack, but ice cream in a martini glass sounds scrumptious!

Scrivener said...

Did you go to the American Indian Museum? That's the site I most want to visit in DC.

It is funny how easy it is to tell whether a server has kids, isn't it? You'd think they'd pick it up on the job, but no.