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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The March for Life and other Mondayish events

Yesterday was the day of the March for Life in D.C. The day started out nice enough. I worked on a little bit of stuff before I went to the March, and I took off out of here, believing that I would be late.

I drove through D.C., trying to find a spot to park. First of all, parking in D.C. is already fun, not to mention, now when everyone else is in D.C. looking for the same thing I am, it gets even more fun.

I had heard that the March was going to be in a different spot this year than it normally is, but I wasn't sure where. Just as I was wondering this, I saw Therese D. and her mother walking across the street, directly in front of my car. I waved them down, and asked them where the March was (after, of course, being polite and asking them how they were -- ain't I sweet?). They told me that it at 7th and the Mall. No problem! I said I would see them there. It took them no time at all to make a comeback which I had set myself up for: "Good luck!" How in the world would I see them at the March? There would be thousands of people there. The chances that I would see them were slim to none...

I parked at the Union Metro parking lots, because there wasn't anything closer that I trusted. As I left my car, I ran into another gentleman going to the March (fancy that...), and we walked out of the garage together, chatting about the weather and employment. It was all very proper. As we approached a set of escalators, we got behind two gentleman with a statue of Our Lady set on a board, which they were carrying, stretcher-style. I wonder where they were going?

The gentleman and I parted ways inside Union Metro, and I made my way outside. I turned "stride mode" on, and strode across the street, all the way to 7th and the Mall. I was mostly following the crowds -- no, "following" is not the right word; when you're in "stride mode", the right word is "passing" -- which is a good thing, because I was pretty sure I knew where 7th and the Mall was, but I wasn't 100% sure.

In any event, I got to the location in a few minutes, and was immediately surprised to see that the crowd was rather small. Granted, it wasn't tiny, but in comparison, it was very small. I looked around for the Christendom group, which had surely beaten me here. I couldn't find it. I called John E., and he said that they hadn't arrived yet. I felt like quite the fool, driving like a maniac all the way there, thinking, "I'm gonna be late, I'm gonna be late," all the way, only to get there and see that I had beaten them.

Soon enough, I looked around, and I saw Paul E. talking to a person. As I continued looking, I spyed with my little eye Paul P. and Sam P. I walked over to them, greeted them in the standard piratey tone, and an onlooker thought we were Scandinavian. Seriously. Their remarks took me entirely by surprise, because I didn't know that Scandinavians said things like, "YARRR!" and "Ahoy, thar, matey!" People all around us looked at us like we were long lost brothers who were at a reunion -- you know what I mean: grinning, whispering to their friends, their friends turning and smiling, taking pictures of us -- oh wait, that could have been them laughing at us...

Well, soon enough the local weathermen proved themselves right, i.e., it opened up and rained. Not as badly as they said it would, but it did rain. It rained just enough to soak through my coat, and make standing there for an hour-and-a-half very uncomfortable. On top of that, the rain was making the ground nice and soft, just like quicksand. The difference was that I didn't sink in it, although I thought that I was going to for a while.

I caught up with a number of people I was hoping to run into at some point, and I made the bulk of the march with them, singing songs, motets, chant (West and East), praying the rosary, marching in silence.

{Related Tangent} You know what just occurred to me? As much good as it does to vocalize our objections to the abomination of abortion, it does just as much good to march in silence and pray from the silence of our hearts. Men don't hear it, but who cares? God is the one who hears and answers prayers. That's why the Shield of Roses has members in the church and on the streets. On the streets, they reach out to all women looking to kill the child living inside them. In the church, they pray that the Lord and His Holy Mother will help these same women see the truth, and give them the courage to back away before it's too late, and they've done the irreversible and eternally regretted act... {End Tangent}

The speakers at the March for Life were not that great. This is one of my many beefs with the March. The people speaking to the congregation do not know how to give real speeches. There is nothing of value in what they say. The ministers who lead the congregation in prayer just shout things into the microphone, with the idea that the louder they spit out the words, the more fire will fall from the sky. The Catholics are, sadly, not much better. The prayers that we say don't ring of what we all need to hear. (And what is that, Anthony? I don't know, but I don't hear it there.) The closest thing are the speeches of the Rabbis. They shoot pretty close to the mark, but they miss it, too. Brand me what you will, but Bishop Williamson should come around during the March and join the list of speakers. I'm sure he could teach these people a thing or two.

After the speeches, the march began. Or, kind of began. It always takes about 30 minutes to get everyone out to the street. During this time I met up with Ashley F., whom I haven't seen in a while. I pretended to be all mad at her because she never called me back, while in reality, I wasn't mad at all. I think she could tell, but you never know. She asked me how to make up for her lack of communication. I tapped my right cheek, and said, "This is how." It was in jest, but she actually took me up on it. So I got kissed on the cheek. I was a bit surprised. I definitely didn't expect it. I said let's chat later, just to catch up. Long story short, I lost her in the crowd after that...

{Related Tangent} I was really hoping that some Pro-Abortion group would attempt to strong arm or intimidate a Pro-Life person. From what I understand that happened last year. If I had seen that -- oooohh, boy... :) {End Tangent}

At the end of the March, I met up with Lizzie and Emma as planned, and we talked about what there was to do. Michael C. met up with us -- he, Sylvia and Emily were wandering around D.C. looking for fun stuff to do. Emma suggested the arboretum, and that it wasn't too far away. It sounded like a good idea to the three of us, so we headed off that way. Mike went back to his girls, and they wanted to go to the Arboretum as well, so he called me and let me know that they would be joining us. Lizzie, Emma and I stopped and waited. While we were waiting, we discovered just how comfortable a chain link fence is to lean on, as long as there isn't a pole in your back and as long as it's taller than you are. Feels like a vertical hammock to me... :)

On the way to the Arboretum, when all six of us were together, we were acting kind of goofy. We ran part of the way, quick stepped part of the way, sauntered part of the way, swung on light poles part of the way. We had fun. :) Well, at least, I did...

The National Arboretum was interesting. I couldn't tell you a lot about what was in there. The first room was a bunch of videos of plant life, played very quickly, demonstrating that plants do indeed have a living principle. You could watch them grow, watch the roots spread, watch them get attracted to light, etc. In the second room, there were a lot of containers of seeds and various smelling things. These made me hungry, so we didn't spend too much time in here. Next up, we wandered around the various climates: desert, jungle, reinforced, urban, whatever. It was interesting. There was a small creek running though one with a bridge over it, and near the bridge, you could look down at where it began from a railing. Lizzie was just watching the river from the railing as I pranced across the bridge. Show off? You'd better believe it. It was short lived, so I didn't torture her that much.

At the end of the aboretum, we all chilled for a few minutes. Just for the heck of it, we sang a short motet rather quietly, but even that got a few people looking. :) The power of performance. As we were bundling up to go outside and to Union Station, Emily put on her bucket hat, and someone got the bright idea that it was a perfect hat to lay on the ground and get money in -- this may have even been Emily's idea.

This was discussed all the way back to Union Metro. Halfway there, Lizzie spies an expensive-looking restaraunt, and wants to go in there to eat. I was tempted, but then Lizzie said we shouldn't, because everyone looked like a bum -- except for her, of course. (Sure thing...) But it would be fun, let's do it. No. Let's not, it would be a waste. But it would be so much fun! You get the idea of the way the conversation was going. Oh, and Lizzie either agreed with or made every point that I was just flip-flopping on...

As we continued towards Union Metro, singing was discussed further, and we decided that we were going to do it. I was in favor of it, as long as we knew what we were doing, and as long as everyone knew their parts. I was fairly confident in us for almost everything, but I knew that not all of us knew all the pieces quite as well as we could. I, for one, cannot get the starting note for bard's Ave Verna cold turkey. It has to be played for me. That and my timing was off in a couple other pieces. But, oh well, you only live once. So we did it.

But who would direct? I was in favor of no director, because we sang together often enough that we knew the pieces well enough to be able to visually keep time with each other. Besides, a director might seem a bit out of place.

As we walked up to the Metro, Emma found a great spot, so we plopped the hat down, arranged ourselves, and started singing. We started off with balustrade's scout cervix, moved on to Dr. Poterack's Ave Vernum, and then sang Victoria's Ave Maria. As we were finishing Ave Vernum, Denver S. ran inside the Metro. As he passed us, he glanced over and saw us, waved and went inside. After we started the Ave Maria, he came outside, saw the we had actually gotten money, said that he couldn't give anything, and then heard what it was we were singing. He hopped right into the bass line and finished that up with us. Applause from the people standing around and more money followed. We sang Meditabor, and as we finished that up, a guy cam eup to us and asked if we knew Sicut Cervus. But, of course! So he jumped in the tenor section and helped out Michael. After that one, we started Byrd's Ave Vernum (my request -- dumb, I know), and Sean V. and Sydney W. joined us. I could not get the bass line until several bars into the piece (talk about embarrassing...). Sean and Sydney stayed with us for one more piece and then they left. We sang one more piece (O Rex Gloriae). Abotu this time, an elderly black women came up to us and was scrutinizing the sopranos and altos. Lizzie couldn't stop grinning. The rest of us cast a couple glances around and just sang normally. At the Alleluia chorus in O Rex Gloriae, the woman smiled very noticeably, and left. As we wrapped it up, Emma soloed one more piece, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which got a lot of attention as well.

We totaled up what we made: over $12. Not bad for half-an-hour from a college choir. :)

We went downstairs and ordered a couple pizzas. Emma asked me how much she owed me for the pizza. I told her not to worry about it, it was on me. She didn't like that answer and asked me again. (Everyone else was also pulling out their wallets.) I said, "If you really want to pay for it..." and I tapped my cheek. It worked once -- maybe it would again. :) She said that she would just have to owe me, because that's a debt that can never be repaid. I told her that she can't get to heaven with a debt, so she acted offended. But I still didn't get a smooch. Oh well, you win some, you lose some...

Emily asked me the same question and got the same answer (first, don't worry about it, then the cheek tap). At first she was confused. What was on my face? I clarified what that meant, and she said, "Oh! OK!" and I got smooched again. :)

Now, this next part confuses me just a bit. I don't remember how it happened, but a similar thing happened with Julianna K. I got a kiss from her, too. :) I was cleaning up!

Anyway, the pizza was good, and Michael took the remaing two slices. We got dessert and called it a day. No more singing -- it was relax time. So we got a deck of cards and played Mau (Mao? Maow? Whatever...). Then it was time to go. We said farewell and parted ways.

So let's see, quick recap: march for life, singing for $12, and three (count 'em!) smooches. Not too shabby of a day, if I do say so myself...

I did have a very wierd beginning of a dream when I got back to the apartment. When I got back, I changed and crashed. But as I was falling asleep, my brain sarted putting together the images of the day. Suddenly, I was in a musical. Swinging on telephone poles, singing various songs, dancing (a bit). I was in Singing in the Rain. Everyone with me (the same group) were also singing and dancing, and everyone else in the world lived in a musical world where random people just broke into songs at random times. It was so weird that I woke back up really quickly...

When I finally fell back alseep, I didn't wake up again for the rest of the night. I slept like a rock...
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