Essays and rock & roll. Looking and listening. Nostalgia versus skepticism.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
An Origin Story
Driving down 14th Street from Wheaton into D.C., rows of blocks of abandoned houses and storefronts blurring, remnants of an earlier era of fire and dissent, fire and flight, the broad long avenue and side streets intersecting under mostly busted street lamps, slow dissolves, and when we hit Logan Circle the traffic ebbs and the prostitutes approach, materializing at our suburban windows, knocking on the glass, human voices asking for a date, angling away in hot pants and heels, inured to or annoyed by our giggling and fake-macho muttering, and ahead: a left onto Massachusetts Avenue and the slow glide past Logan Square and a right onto 9th Street and the descent blinked to life and off again by the neon signs outside of the bars and porn arcades and theaters, we're looking for parking now, circling, eying the junkies and drunks swerving or splayed, quietly making up stories about the concrete park at 9th and F, maybe coke at the back of our throats, surely empties beneath our feet, maybe lurid fantasies about empty buildings, ghosts of gentrification looming and unseen, the Old Downtown really really urine-old now though we don't know it then, as Barry sniffs and sniffs and blocks away Reagan sits in his home like myth even then, we're looking for parking and resisting the magnetic lures of the old man bars and the peep shows and the rat-kicking and the funky wig store and black that welcomes but only as a come-on. "C'mon."