We took yoga yesterday, because Dawn’s mother is visiting us this weekend and arrives today. We get to the airport about half an hour before her flight is due. And, see, this is the great thing about National Airport: we park in the B terminal hourly lot, and get a space next to the walkway to the terminal. It’s about a two minute walk into the terminal proper, and National’s so small that it’s about thirty seconds to walk to the B gates. Sarah’s plane lands a few minutes early, so we’re in and out and on our way after 33 minutes, so says our parking chit.
On the way back to our house we stop at the VW dealer where we bought the Jetta for some windshield wiper fluid. Damn thing’s been beeping at us and scaring the shit out of me every time it does. The salesman who sold us the car had said that it was vitally important that we use this special stuff, available only thru VW, and not use the cheap blue stuff found everywhere. I discuss this with the guy at the parts counter, and he laughs at such a silly notion. But we buy the VW potion anyway. I mean, what’s four dollars per year versus ninety-nine cents?
Says it’s methanol on the container. Should we be spewing this from our car?
We stop at the Safeway on our way home as well, to pick up more things for the retirement party we’re (now not so) secretly throwing for Sarah tomorrow. While looking for cat food I walk by the toys and junk aisle and spot a selection of kites. It’s somewhat breezy today, so I grab one for all of $3.99.
After lunch we go for a walk in Congressional Cemetary. I spend over an hour and a half trying to get the nasty little thing aloft, suffering humiliating defeat at every attempt.
I try standing there and playing out the string slowly. I try tossing it up. I try running with it. I stand on a mound on top of a crypt. I play out fifty feet of string and get Dawn to toss it up. Sarah holds it fifty feet away and runs with me as I try to get it to launch.
I try adjusting the crossbars. I try attaching the string higher and lower and on the other side even. Sarah and I spend a good deal of time turning every which way, stretching the kite between us, yours truly holding the string while Sarah holds the tail.
Every so often the kite will dance out the end of the string about five feet away from me, just above my head, tantalizingly close to actual flying, before plummeting back down and crashing. One time while running it actually gets out and up maybe fifteen feet up before crapping out.
Still, it’s grand fun, at least for me. Sarah is super patient with the whole process, while Dawn has taken the opportunity to go wandering off by herself through the cemetary for a while. Finally we regroup and head for home.
On the way out we walk by an older couple on their way into the cemetary. I stop them and ask if either of them is an aeronautical engineer. Sadly, neither is, and they kindly sympathize with my lack of flight. And by this time I’ve recognized the man. “You’re Robert Prosky,” I say. “Have you ever played an aeronautical engineer?” He says he never has but that he has done Thomas Edison. This makes me think of Benjamin Franklin. I tell him he should play Benjamin Franklin, because he really knew how to fly a kite.