Humility, Attention to Detail, and the Superfoxy James Madison
November 3, 2010
So I just got to the 50,000th word of my movel, and the word is “rags.”
How are you? I’m still thinking back on the weekend David and I just spent in Washington. David is 14 at this point, and I have to say, he is the most delightful company. I really can’t believe he’s here, and he’s like that. We had a blast, and got so jacked up on butterscotch from the front desk of the Holidome that we are still finding them in our pockets.
Please note proof above of handknit at rally: Lace Ribbon Scarf, using Handmaiden Flaxen. (For those jonesing for actual knitting content, here it is, blocking on the floor of Kay’s guest room/sensory deprivation chamber, circa 2008).
Our mission was to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Such fun, such a mass exercise in irony. But I have to say, I went with a literal sort of intent: never having attended a rally before, this seemed like a fine chance to stand there, in public, representing the not-crazy segment of the population. I honestly think a lot of us felt like we are an underrepresented minority. But the fact is, we’re just not very loud about things. Huge crowd. I’ve never been in such a tremendous crowd, stacked UP.
OK, there was one guy wearing nothing but a hula skirt made of candy necklaces, and at least four guys dressed like bananas. But I’ve never been in a crowd with so much “excuse me” and “sorry” in my life. David overheard one guy being kind of walked on who let loose with a “Keep it sane, bro.”
You’ve probably seen coverage of all the signs–they really were amazing. But one of my favorites was held by a woman who was likely a mom, probably with kids like me. It said: “I’m already tired of holding this sign up.” The vibe from many people was, “We’re here. We’re reasonable. Get used to it–actually, no worries if that bothers you, sorry to be rude.”
Humility, Or, The Most Profound Moment of the Weekend (Other Than Jumping in the Air with 200,000 Other People to Cause an Earthquake for the Mythbusters guys)
Ohhhh, James Madison I am crushing on you so HARD! We go to the National Archives to see the original Constitution, and here is the sight that sent me into a total wipeout of gratitude and tenderness:
See it? Right there? James Madison’s signature on the Constitution. That tiny bit of writing. I took one look at that dim, faded signature and burst into tears. I’m sure the guard gets this sort of thing all the time. They probably have something in the employee handbook about making sure that women crushing on James Madison don’t weep onto the bulletproof glass.
“One of many hands,” Madison said of his contribution to the effort. Such modesty! Such humility! He’s like the guy in student council who actually dug the hole for the class gift tree and did the eight bake sales so that the rest of the class could take credit for this beautiful legacy for generations to come. Madison is the MAN, the guy who absolutely slogged it through the process of writing the Constitution. After busting it for a very long time, he puts his small mark on his monumental effort. SIGH.
Attention to Detail
We got to poke around the innards of one of the Smithsonian museums, thanks to a kind relative who let us in. Mere steps from the Capitol building, there are thousands of people whose whole job is to be careful, to be orderly, to do things for the ages. I wish these Smithsonian folks would give all our legislators the sort of tour that David and I got–it is an astounding sight, to see the care that goes into these collections. Here’s a wish that our elected officials be as careful with our laws as these folks are with their bones.
All this stuff has been digitized. But look at how lovely that card is.
Botanical specimens, brajillions of them, each on its own card.
Founding Father Supercrush No. 2
At the Library of Congress, I meant to look up our books, but I was too mesmerized by the floors.
We did spend time with the library of Thomas Jefferson, who freakin’ DONATED his 6,000+ volumes to the Library of Congress when its first collection burned. What a beast he was.
Finally, I’m always a sucker for beautiful stone carvings.
In all, a brilliant weekend, a real eye opener, highly recommended for you the next time two cable TV hosts decide to hold a rally. Definitely go.