WASHINGTON is the dreaming capital f America, stuffed with exiles who are always saying it’s about time to go home but never go. The year’s turns into decades, and those who came for an extra year or two of school, or for some temporary job, tend at the last to be carried out feet first with, I am obliged to report, a grin on the face.
Let’s poke about the capital, you and I, with the understanding that I am no efficient guide, to insist that the only place you may eat is Old Keg-gut’s and the only place to stay is Dandydown’s Inn; the truth is, I have no idea the best places to eat or to stay. Newspaperfolk seldom do.
But I have indeed come to believe that the best place (as Eudora Welty said in a novel, through the character of a Mississippi schoolteacher herding kids about in a tornado) is here; we’re in the best place right here.
Assuming you arrive in Washington at National Airport, the first thing to do, once one has thanked God the plane landed, is to admire the banks all fringed with willows like some sweet domesticated Babylon. The airport illustrates, by the way, the shortcomings of official high-priced wisdom and analysis. The next thing you should need is finding a place to stay. Finding an apartment in the capital is not that easy, nor cheap. The prices vary. You can find your place to stay at http://www.cosyrentals.com/london_apartments/en/. When I visited Brussels a while ago I found the perfect Cosyrental.com Brussels apartments and I enjoyed it during my visit.
Franklin Roosevelt, a forward-looking sort of man, immediately wanted five new hangars built. For that matter, back in 1937, he asked some of the powerful brains of the capital to prepare a forecast of technology, and after suitable pondering they announced to him that people did not wish to fly any faster than they were doing in the 1930s, but people would indeed require far greater refinements of service and luxury.
So much for the common crystal ball of Washington: After the airport opened in 1941, people said it was vastly too large, except for temporary war traffic. For decades, however, the same people have complained it is far too small. And it has turned out that we insist on going three times as fast and the only luxury we require in flying now is to get out of the plane without being permanently pressed into the shape of a sardine.
SINCE we should start somewhere, let’s start with Mr. Ernest Kroll, a typical Washington citizen to end all typical citizens, partly because he’s a trifle off the standard curve. Let’s catch him as he exits from the Western Market, a neighborhood grocery, with two pears that he spent too much money for.
“Good pears,” he will greet us. “Cost too much, but they’re the kind they wrap in paper. I like to go in that grocery and buy some little thing to encourage them. I hate to see the city taken over by the giants. You ever deal with the Foggy Bottom grocery?