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Old friends, new friends – that best describes my most recent DC trip…

February 11, 2005, 2:23 AM

I went to Washington DC on the first-regular-trip-after-a-big-demonstration trip on Wednesday. And yes, this being the first trip after a big demonstration is significant. I’ve always found that those trips, which I’ve experienced three times in the past, always feel a bit odd. On those trips, the most recent DC memory is of a big demonstration, and not whatever regular antics I get into. Who knows. Hard to describe, but it always feels a little strange.

Anyhow, the trip could be best described as a day of meeting old and new friends. But before meeting anyone, I first took some close-up photos of 1117 19th Street in Rosslyn, which is currently undergoing demolition. Recall, from my J20 Life and Times set:

This building at Rosslyn was in the process of being demolished at the time of my visit.  What will replace it?  Who knows.  Let's admit, though - it was not a particularly nice looking building, and I can't say I'll miss it.

Since that picture was taken, the building has come down a bit more, with nearly all of the exterior curtain wall now gone, with only the steel-and-concrete frame remaining. I’m considering doing a Photography set with this material. We’ll see what happens.

After photographing that demolition work, I hopped back onto the train and rode to Capitol South, where a demonstration protesting Alberto Gonzales’s confirmation was underway. This event was being put on by DAWN, which is the same organization that spearheaded the counter-inaugural march that I attended on January 20.

As I arrived, a number of people, wearing either all-black clothing or orange jumpsuits, and Abu Ghraib-style hoods, were kneeling on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court.

The main theme of the demonstration was to show victims of torture, with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib featured prominently.  Participants held their hands behind their back as if handcuffed or otherwise restrained.

As I was arriving, two people were engaging in civil disobedience. This involved stepping off the sidewalk and onto the steps leading up to the Supreme Court building. One person was arrested, and another was briefly detained and released. I got a movie of the arrest:

Not long after this first arrest, another act of civil disobedience took place. This involved another man, as well as the first man who was previously only briefly detained and released, stepping off the sidewalk and onto the steps. They were both arrested.

Note that you can actually hear the clicking of the handcuffs as they are put on the arrestees in this movie.

After some time, and after those directly participating answered many a question from people passing by, the group and I marched around the Capitol to the west side of the Capitol. There, where tour buses were loading up, more people asked questions of some of the participants. Finally, that was that for the demonstration, and we were done. We all shared a group hug, and then went back to return the jumpsuits.

I also intend on making a Photography set of this event, with the possible title of “Confirmation Demonstration”. We shall see.

I also made a new friend at this demonstration. I met a girl named Rose, who wore an orange jumpsuit at the demonstration. We got to talking, and it turned out that she was new to the DC area, and also fascinated by the Metro, since the area she had previously lived in had no rail system.

After going up to the Folger Shakespeare Library, outside of which the car was parked where we returned the jumpsuits, Rose and I headed, with another participant from the group, to Union Station. At Union Station, I quickly showed them where the Code Pink demonstration took place on J20, including the traffic island where Lauren and I moved to later on in the demonstration, and also the location of the woman holding the black flag. It looked so weird, not only with it being daylight, but also with it being completely empty, unlike on January 20.

After that, the other participant descended into the Metro, while Rose and I went to find a restroom. After that, we went down into the Metro ourselves. Rose had never been to the Infoshop before, and so we were going to rectify that. So from Union Station, we caught a Red Line train to Gallery Place-Chinatown, and from there, a Yellow Line train to Mt. Vernon Square. While waiting for the Yellow Line train, we did see this message about an eight-car train:

PIDS screen showing an eight-car Green Line train to Greenbelt.

We weren’t there long enough to see this car arrive, but I was fairly certain it was most likely a six-car train. For some reason, Metro’s displays have been incorrectly showing eight-car trains when they’re actually four or six cars long as of late.

But back to our story. So after getting off of our train at Mt. Vernon Square, Rose and I headed up to the Infoshop, where I treated her to a cookie (the Infoshop sells the best cookies!), and we used their computer to pull up my site and exchange contact information.

After the Infoshop, we returned to Mt. Vernon Square station, and headed to Fort Totten, for a transfer to the Red Line. From there, we headed to Silver Spring, where we both got off, and parted company, but not before sharing a hug, and partly planning a trip where I could show her my favorite DC area hotspots like Pentagon City, plus past protest locations and such.

So after we parted company, I took a bunch of bus photos. Silver Spring is a big bus hub, with the area jam-packed with not only Metrobuses, but also buses for Ride-On, which is Montgomery County’s bus service.

From there, I rode back to downtown Washington via the Red Line, getting off at Metro Center. I got out and took a little walk – another “protest nostalgia” walk. I walked through Freedom Plaza, which was hopping with skateboarders, past the Hotel Washington, past the Treasury Building (across from which we had a “drop the debt” rally), past the White House, through Lafayette Park, then went up to follow the final few steps of the January 20 DAWN march. I walked past the Vermont Avenue entrance to McPherson Square station, and then past McPherson Square itself, albeit across the street from it. From there, I descended into the Metro at the other entrance to McPherson Square – the one with the coffee shop adjacent to it. I was now headed to Pentagon City via the Blue Line.

At Pentagon City, the plan was to meet up with my friend McCarthy Council, whom I had met nearly three years ago in a chance encounter outside Pentagon City Mall, on the day I did the Old Town Alexandria and The Metro of Tomorrow Photography sets.

We ended up meeting up in the center plaza at Pentagon Row, and went to a nearby Starbucks.

As you can see, my day was very much a day of friends, both old and new. What an exciting day!

Web site: DC Indymedia article about the demonstration. I posted my movies on Indymedia as well as on my own site.

Song: Don't have one

Quote: "Very moving." - Rose regarding the second arrest movie.