The Beatles, as they so often did, said it best:
There are places
All my life
Though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some are gone
And some remain
All these places have their moments
I’ve always formed strong attachments to places. The house I grew up in in Connecticut. The house we bought in France across the border from Geneva. My office. Yes, I have a deep love of my office. Because when the company gave me that office, it was as if I’d gotten the winning office Lotto ticket.
For 11 years, I’ve dragged everyone I know up to my office to see the view. I’ve even taken you, my bloggin’ buddies up there a few times, like when the space shuttle flew over on its last lap and when two Supreme Court Justices visited us immediately after the oral argument on Obamacare.
From my three large windows, I can keep my eye on all things Washington. I can see much of official DC and a big hunk of Northern Virginia. Nobody in Our Nation’s Capitol gets on a helicopter without me knowing about it. And I can tell you for a fact that Dubya’s motorcades caused a lot more disruption than Obama’s do.
As you can see, my office overlooks the Lincoln Memorial up the Mall to the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian, the Capitol Building. During the Inaugurations, from my office I could see the bunting hanging from the Capitol Building. I can also see the Jefferson Memorial, the bridges, National Airport (which I will never, ever, ever call “Reagan Airport” while there is life in this body), Arlington Cemetery.
The Iwo Jima Memorial to the U.S. Marine Corps is one of my favorite places to walk on nice days. It lists all the major battles the marines have seen. The Iwo Jima doesn’t list the “Civil War,” though. Amusingly to this Connecticut Yankee, it lists “The War Between The States” because, after all, it is located in Virginia.
The Pentagon is ahead, just to the right. Folks who were present that day heard the impact as the plane slammed into the side of the building there on the right, although no one actually saw it hit. They smelled the smoke, heard the sirens, saw the fire engines fly from every direction. For a while, when we were all still expecting an imminent attack on Washington, I worried that I might have a window on history to something I would rather not see.
When there was a small earthquake in the middle of the day a few years ago, I watched (from my spot in the doorway) as government helicopters swooped in to inspect the bridges for structural damage before the ground stopped trembling. I’ve often imagined that drivers on the bridges must have felt like they’d suddenly stumbled into the filming of a James Bond movie, as the choppers dipped and spun to get a closer look.
A month after I started working there, a townhouse just down the road went up for sale. The ad highlighted the view from the rooftop terrace of the townhouse, and priced it at $2.25 million. I clipped the ad, taped it to the fridge in the kitchen with a note:
“Hey, we get PAID to look at this view!”
Sadly, today is my last day as an office space lottery winner. Monday, my company will begin the week in new office space.
I’m just not sure how I will be able to keep an eye on Washington for y’all.