I returned to Echo Park from Washington, DC, on Wednesday, feeling thankful to have had a good Thanksgiving dinner with my family, thankful I didn't kill a deer, thankful that the places where I most want to be are the ones where I am invited (it has not always been the case).
It seemed fitting that the biggest news in DC (until Obama announced the 30,000 troops) was the gatecrashers at the White House. They were front page on the Washington Post for at least three days in a row. It's hardly the first time a White House function has been crashed, according to the Post. But it is the first time it has been such big news. Not coincidental to the dimensions of the Salahis story, the open city where I grew up has turned into a warren shaped by all kinds of gates -- the new architecture of the city put the architecture in place for this kind of story. All around the Capitol - and other places - there are now cement blocks, the little walls, I call them, and underground there are barriers that pop up, blocking the street in an instant. As a kid, I rode a public bus that used to pull up directly in front of the White House, where a swarm of office workers would pile in, the change they dropped into the box clinking in an oddly riveting irregular rhythm, while I looked sullenly through the bus windows at the silly looking White House guards, sometimes wondering if it were true - as we were told as children - that if a child pulled out a toy gun at this place, those same dandy-looking guards were under orders to shoot. Now that same section of Pennsylvania Avenue is closed to public traffic. No more yawning at the White House up close. Now we gape when a pair of uninviteds get close and then...get in...only to be thrown out again and again after they have gone home and told the world where they'd been.
On Sunday I had my own incident with a little wall - out on a newly expanded section of highway in Maryland.