This past weekend was a glorious one in our nation’s capital. Temperatures dared to breach the sixty-degree barrier, inviting only a respectful number of brilliantly whitened clouds to spend the daylight with. Snooty and I did a lot of exploring (driving, walking, and sitting) both days, stopping occasionally to read Revolutionary Road (it’s fantastic and you are guaranteed to love it*), or to poop.
Our first planned target Sunday morning was a massive five-piece sculpture called “The Awakening” that I’ve been drawn to, for whatever reason, since 1987 (the time of my 8th-grade field trip to D.C., a period of extreme social sucking by the author).
“The Awakening” is best imagined as a snapshot of a 100-foot bronze giant being thrust out of the ground. So, far, far away from a giant head, there is an elbow, a forearm, a knee, and a foot. These five massive pieces were placed near the edge of an island in the Potomac and were essentially bordered on three sides by water. I remember staring at it with awe — and a cringe-inducing haircut — way back then as I listened to the Potomac lap the nearby shores. To paraphrase the youth of today, it fucking owned.
So as I googled driving directions, I was a little shaken to read that it had been moved by some art guy to some harbor in Maryland. Whatever, I thought, it will still fucking own. I headed out to Oxon Hill, MD, to its new location: National Harbor.
National Harbor, as it turns out, is a nightmare. It’s one of those intensely concentrated, essentially pre-fabricated neighborhoods riddled with “Shops And Restaurants,” high-rise apartment buildings, parking garages, and an almost obscene feeling of urban cleanliness. There was nowhere free to park (and had I chosen to “test the waters,” as it were, a Segway-riding parking cop was sure to bust my cracker ass). The “harbor” stretched more than a half-mile in the distance when I finally parked, and I didn’t see any giant pieces of bronze along the coast. So I headed into the “city.”
I heard lots of kids playing… and there I saw it. Lying there, helpless, forced to bear witness to its own horrific fate:Like a once-ferocious lion living out the rest of its life in captivity, “The Awakening” now sits in a giant sandbox. Played on by children like the Boston Public Garden ducklings. Wedged between two shiny buildings and damned to a soundtrack of bad music piped outside by a seafood restaurant. The look of shock on its massive face now betraying a sense of desperation and shame.
I took the picture above, watched for fifteen seconds, and turned around. Once Snooty shat, we were Audi 5000. Victims of a horrible crime known only as… The Revoltening.
*Guarantee does not apply to anyone in a shaky marriage.