I spent the day with Susanna and Dawn, which was a fun little mix of art, books, and strangers on the Metro. We browsed the National Museum of American Art, which I had never been to because it is rather removed from the other museums. We walked from the Mall up 7th Street and found the museum a hop away from the Verizon Center and across from the Spy Museum. We checked out the folk art exhibit, which was fascinating, and several of the pieces were especially intriguing, one even moving. (If you go, check out the cut-out mural of the lynch mob parade by Kara Walker--haunting.) We also checked out the modern American art upstairs. There was one work called "For SAAM," which was a tall cylindrical thing lit up with LEDs. Messages scrolled horizontally, vertically, and diagonally; we tried to stand and read them all but it got a bit tedious, although the piece itself was neat. We stumbled across one call Electronic Superhighway, which was a huge display of the United States done in neon lights and TVs. Within the neon outlines of the states, TVs large and small ran various video montages; careful observation revealed that the montages related to each state somehow (potatoes in Idaho, bright lights and casinos in Nevada, historic locations in Virginia, etc.).
Afterward, we went across to street and had lunch at Zola. The food was awesome. I had a chicken sandwich with potato-egg salad--yum!
On the way back to the Metro--we could have taken it from Gallery Place but that thought didn't seem to occur to any of us at the time--we stopped at a small bookstore that was having a liquidation sale. Susanna and Dawn bought a few; nothing struck my fancy. (We passed the Archives station as well. Dunno.) We made it back to the Mall, where it looked like some sort of folk festival was being set up. [Edit: Indeed, the Smithsonian is hosting its annual Folklife Festival on the Mall. Perhaps Husband and I can go. We haven't had a date in a while.]
I had fun hanging out, doing grown-up things. (I knew I had a point. I just had to get there.) Being with Susanna and Dawn made me realize that the people I used to associate with (but no longer find myself remotely missing) lacked curiosity and culture. They had little desire to experience new places and try unfamiliar things. I could never suggest a museum day trip--they would have scoffed. I know exactly what they would think--museums are boring, stuffy, yawn yawn yawn. I'm glad I've found two people who like the same things I do. (Not to dismiss Husband's interests. In fact, he enjoys doing quiet, grown-up things too.) With my former friends (associates? acquaintances? I'm realizing also that I was not that close to them), our activities were limited to rather silly and often mindless things; our lunches/dinners were flavorless and unadventuresome. Perhaps it was simply out of comfort that I invested so much time with them. Secretly I think it made me feel better about myself because I knew I was more cultured, more curious, more open to new things, almost as if I was doing them a favor by being with them. Let me add some intelligence to this conversation, dear. I feel like I can have meaningful conversations now, even if the topics tend to drift toward sex and all things sex. (Fun!)
I am looking forward to spending a couple more days with them. (Susanna is leaving for a trip to Serbia in July, and Dawn is getting married in July.) What to do with the rest of the summer?