First I’m going to regale you with tales from my DC trip, then I’ll post all of the cool internet things that piled up while I was gone. Feel free to skip this entry and go straight to the cool things; I see how it is.

I went through the body scanner thingamajigs at the airport for the first time. It was mildly disconcerting, mainly because I was the only person going through security at all, so I had the undivided attention of half a dozen TSA agents who were taking their job tremendously seriously. I got scanned and started to get my stuff when the officer holds up a hand to stop me and says into his earpiece, “Is the female clear?” You bet your boots she is, I thought in the panic-filled half-second before he heard the all-clear in his headset and told me I could leave the deserted security area.

In the plane on the way over, I sat across the aisle from two fashionistas who could barely be bothered to stop fixing their makeup long enough to buckle their seatbelts. I smelled something weird halfway through the flight, and I looked over to see one of them painting her nails. On the plane. You went to all the trouble to get NAIL POLISH through security? Really? As soon as she was done blowing on her nails to dry them, she promptly pulled Vogue out of her designer bag. Any second I was expecting her to turn to me and say, “Gotcha!” because I don’t see how anyone could actually be that much of a stereotype in reality.

Overheard fragment of a cell phone conversation: “–every time I call! If you were a horse, I would’ve shot you by now.” What WAS that guy talking about?

Lecture given to me by a fellow exhibitor: “You, people like you, you’ll be the leaders, and those other kids, they’ll be the drones. Yes, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.” Oh, won’t it just…*smiles evilly*

Seen wandering past our booth at least six times per day: very earnest young doctor. Again, I didn’t think real people could be such caricatures of themselves. He must have practiced his doctor walk a lot; I’ve never seen someone *walk* like such a doctor. He took notes on everything, examined every exhibit through his glasses, and swished around in a long coat while looking at people as though they were prospective patients. He was probably actually the janitor.

My days in DC were pretty dull, but the evenings that I had free were quite exciting, as I roamed the streets of the city by myself. Depressingly, the Library of Congress closes really early. Don’t believe the website that says the John Adams building is open till 9 on Mondays. LIES. Instead, I figured I would take a walking tour of all of the monuments that I could get to. I wandered around the Capitol Building, then set off for the Washington Monument. By the time I got there, the light rain had turned into a full-blown gale, and no one else was about. It was beautiful and quite thrilling, actually. I went to the Lincoln Memorial (very cool to be the only person inside), the Vietnam Memorial (it was so dark and rainy I got blown right past it the first time without knowing it), and the World War II Memorial, inhabited by a lone, elderly man keeping vigil in a sou’wester. We nodded at each other in mutual recognition of each other’s dedication or insanity, being out on a night like that. I finally dragged my weary, sodden carcass back to my swanky hotel, after a perplexing metro ride. Very worth it, I must say.

I could have a blast in DC with all of those fire escapes, let me tell you. And those row houses…once you’re on the roof, you could just run along and hop the gaps. I behaved myself, though, and didn’t even climb on some great lion statues I found, even though I totally could have.

I came around the corner of a building, and my breath caught for one second. Then I realized that the blue johnny-on-the-spot nestled against the building was not, in fact, the TARDIS, but for that one second…I entirely believed that it was, and startled myself by thinking so.

I got to talking one night to a guy who ran a little bookstore. He saw I was buying some of the Oz books, and he said that he grew up in the same town in New York where L. Frank Baum did. He said that back in the day there was a brick factory in the town, and the factory was on Yellow Brick Road. Brilliant!

On the way home, overheard from an old man as he was whisked at break-neck speed through the airport by one of the staff: “I do believe this is the most dangerous part of my journey.”

Also overheard: a mother calling her tiny daughter Potato like it was her real name, then calling to her other kids, “Come on, bugs. Time to go.”

All right, then, bugs. Time to go!

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