OUT OF MY ELEMENT

Last week I played the role of an urbane, cosmopolitan women living in a 1939 high-rise apartment on Connecticut Avenue in the heart of Washington, D.C. The building, eleven stories and sporting art-deco aesthetics, had the amenities I’ve seen in movies: doorman, concierge, mailroom, cleaners, workout room and pool, elevators.  I was there at the invitation of a long-time friend (I’m learning that the phrase “old friend has negative connotations). As any respectable city dweller we walked miles everyday. She is in shape for it I am not. When absolutely necessary we took the Metro, city bus or the train. Only once was I in a car and that was transportation home from the theater. Amazing experience. Amazing town.

I rode Amtrak nine hours both ways on my trip and really enjoyed the ride.. I  upgraded to business class and it made a huge different in comfort and service. While in D.C. I saw sites tourists don’t often explore. In the city four full days, and with a savy guide, I went through: The Building Museum, which itself has amazing architectural features; The Capitol Building; The Botanic Gardens; The National Cathedral, which is as interesting and beautiful as any in Europe (plus we had tea in the tower after the tour)and The National Zoo, on a cool day when all the animals were moving. On my last night we dined at a great restaurant and then attended the play “Blithe Spirit” with 89 year old Angela Landsbury.

So what is the point of this travelogue? My life has been lived in suburbia. I drive everywhere, live in a neighborhood of other families with schools, shopping, churches and parks close-by. My walks are within the neighborhood, usually with my dogs and never to get to a destination. I have no sense of direction and slowly learned to navigate the small town I live in-though I still get lost occasionally.  I have deliberately developed a calm peaceful lifestyle full of security and predictability.

I came home from my short jaunt to the big city exhausted, happy, full of new experiences, new ideas, new information and challenged to be more adventurous here in my hometown. Every weekend my friend reads the papers and circles the events she would like to see. Daily she goes out into the city to explore something new. Every week I read the local paper and notice events I would enjoy seeing. I very seldom follow through and attend any of them.  I’m not sure why not but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I start doing something new, something out of my comfort zone.  This town may not be Washington D.C. but there are certainly things to explore and learn here.  I know because I read about them in the paper.  Let me know if you try something new.  We may just find out we like adventure.

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