Daily Archives: June 24, 2006

Sleeping Beauty

Back to the Kennedy Center on Saturday night for ballet. Tonight it’s the Royal Ballet with Sleeping Beauty. Our performance features the lovely Marianela Nuñez as the Princess Aurora. (She apparently played the Lilac Fairy in the performance reviewed in the Washington Post.)

What amazes me most is not just her beautiful technique, but her astonishing endurance. She completes an amazing scene, and my legs are aching from the effort. But then she comes back for yet another scene.

Elizabeth McGorian looks like she’s having great fun, hamming it up as the evil Carabosse. She seems to be accompanied by an army of refugee mice from The Nutcracker, who drive her in a funky evil vulture carriage.

Later, Little Red Riding Hood and a truly disturbing Puss in Boots show up. Strange.

Lunch with Mom

We arrive at the Polo Grill, late, grumpy, argue-y. I’m not pleased about having been pulled over and given a ticket. I’m angry at myself. Dawn’s angry at me too, but at least she has someone at whom to direct her anger. Mine’s got nowhere else to go.

The subject of the ticket comes up quickly after we greet and seat. Dad immediately wonders why I was even on that particular stretch of road in the first place. Why didn’t I take 95 down to exit such and such?

Well, fuck me, I don’t know why I didn’t go a different way, okay? How exactly are you helping things by asking me this? Thankfully Main is a little more perceptive, announcing that it’s likely a sore subject and we should maybe just move on to discussing something else.

Dawn orders about the only vegetarian thing on the menu, the spinach-artichoke dip. I opt for the étouffée. The name intrigues my sister, who asks me what étouffée is. Although I just ordered it, I really don’t know what it is. It’s got crawfish in it. It’s a cajun thing, a gumbo thing, spicy, rice maybe, is all I know. I have to refer back to the menu for a better description. I come to the conclusion that I ordered it because it’s called étouffée.

Or, I suppose, maybe, because, how often are you out somewhere and étouffée is an option on the menu? Don’t you like have to jump at the chance, when you can?


We leave around 11:40 a.m. to go to Lorton to meet my family for lunch. Mom is coming through town on her way to Florida, driving with Main from NJ to board the autotrain. Why there’s a train that goes from Lorton VA to Florida and carries cars, I don’t know. But Mom loves the autotrain. We’ll be meeting at the Polo Grill, one of Mom’s favorite places. Rob & Carol will be there, as will Dad.

I’ve just turned left off of Alban, where years ago there used to just be a stop sign, but now it’s a big intersection. To the right is Rolling Road. To the left it becomes Pohick Road at some point. There’s a long stretch as it goes over Interstate 95. I see way up ahead at the top of the hill a bunch of cops parked over on the right shoulder. There’s a cop standing there pointing a radar gun at me. He’s nailed me. He motions for me to pull over.

Dawn is pissed already.

I stop and roll down the window and get out my wallet. I pull out the drivers license. Dawn in the meantime has gotten out of the glove compartment the registration and insurance card.

“Good afternoon, officer,” I say as he walks up. He tells me that he’s Officer Kushener, and he clocked me going forty-eight in a thirty-five mile-per-hour zone. He apparently doesn’t need the insurance card. I keep my wallet on the dashboard, and my hands where he can see them, on the steering wheel at ten and two o’clock. If it were night time I’d have the interior light on.

He asks me something like if I’m on my way anywhere in particular.

Now, I’ve thought about this quite a bit, actually, being stopped by the cops, and what to say and not say thereto. I have this general rule where one should say only three things to cops: (1) Yes, Officer (2) No, Officer and (3) I’m sorry, Officer. It’s called inmate sincerity. I mean, anything else is pretty much superfluous. I don’t think I’m going to argue my way out of anything. And I don’t especially want to admit guilt to anything either. Best is to just keep my mouth shut.

But he’s asked me this, and I don’t really know why he’s asking, except that he’s maybe trying to get me to like plead extenuating circumstances or something. I don’t get the sense that he’s being devious or anything, but I don’t get the sense either that anything I say is going to change things. So, what the hell, I tell him the truth.

“Just going to meet my mother for lunch, Officer.”

He’s nice enough after that, saying that he’s going to write me up for a ticket and try to get me on my way as soon as possible.

As we wait, I watch the other cops stop other cars. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. As soon as they’re done writing up a ticket, they grab the radar gun and point it at the first car coming, then flag them down to give them a ticket. This is some easy pickings, right here on this stretch of road.

I honestly had no idea how fast I was going, but I also didn’t much care either. I was running later than I wanted to be, so I probably was going faster than maybe I otherwise would have been. But if you’d have asked me, out of the blue, what the speed limit was on that stretch, I would have guessed forty-five rather than thirty-five.

Officer Kushener returns with his clipboard, on the back of which is a sticker, the word Whining surrounded by the international symbol for Not, the red circle with the line through it. It’s not so much a ticket as a couple pieces of paper. He explains, a little mumblingly, about signing not being an admission of guilt and the hearing date being listed and prepayment and the fifty-seven dollar processing fee.

That seems a bit dear to me, fifty-seven dollars. I was hoping the fine was going to be about that much. It may well be, actually, but whatever is the fine, it’s fifty-seven dollars on top of that just for kicks.

Dawn’s not pleased about this either.

Drill Press

After Carol’s yoga class, I head with Dawn to U Street, where lives one John P., who is selling a Ryobi DP101 10″ drill press.

The ten inches in the description refers to the drill press’s swing. The swing of a drill press refers to the diameter of the largest disk that can be drilled in the drill press. In this case, then, that disk can be up to ten inches in diameter. A normal person would just say that the quill is five inches from the shaft of the stand, but that’s not how drill presses are apparently described. It’s kinda dumb, if you ask me.

Mr. P. is a very nice guy. We meet at the back of his building and go into the storage area where his storage locker is. The drill press is taller and a lot heavier than I was expecting. We load it into the car and chat for a few minutes.

Later, at home, after I’ve hauled it into the shop, I discover the thirty-five dollars in my shirt pocket that I was supposed to give him in exchange for the drill press. I thought it was a steal at $35, but evidently I really did steal it. I call him right away to make arrangements to meet again.