I would usually write three separate blogs about Cherry Blossoms, Allergies and Tourists. But due to the sequester, we are tightening our belts here in the Beltway, so you get one. Don’t blame me. Blame Congress.
Now where was I? Oh yes, Washington DC during the spring is one of the most wonderful times of year! After a long hard winter, you can eat outside! Go for runs on the Mall! Have picnics! Day drink in the backyard! Day drink in your friend’s backyard! Just day drink! What do all of these things have in common? They are outside activities. Don’t let my distaste of riding bikes, running or canoeing confuse you, I am an outdoors man. So when the temperature gets above 50 degrees, my Californian heart soars with joy.
Turns out, there were some things about spring Aaron Sorkin forgot to tell me.
1. Cherry Blossoms
The first time someone mentioned the utter standstill the city comes to during cherry blossom season, I stared at them in utter amazement. So there are these trees that bloom around the Tidal Basin and people come from all over the world to see them? And there is a festival? And parade? And a Cherry Blossom princess? And a race? How did Aaron Sorkin not mention one of the biggest events in all of Washington DC?
Granted, it’s no Inauguration, but still, cherry blossoms are a B. F. D. It’s the only time of year we don’t get weekend track work on the Metro. Restaurants have cherry blossom themed food. How did no one on The West Wing ever come into work and say “Those cherry blossom trees on the Mall look like they are going to bloom any day now”? How did President Bartlet never look out the window of the Oval Office and say, “Hey, where did all those pink trees come from?” (Side note: he could have asked President Andrew Sheppard.)
Considering how much President Bartlet likes Latin names for things, history and National Parks, he would totally make the staff take a mid-day nature walk around the Tidal Basin while regaling them with the history of the trees and facts about their flowers, and the legal penalties for picking them. And you can’t tell me Aaron Sorkin didn’t know about the cherry blossoms, because Hollywood descends on Washington during peak bloom so that our beautiful trees can be in the background shot of every movie, TV show, documentary and commercial that has something to do with DC. The cherry blossoms transform our cold city to a spring wonderland. Which leads me to my next point: Allergies.
2. There Will Be Allergies
Now if you don’t live in DC or you haven’t lived here for at least three years, then sit down and pay attention. This is about to get real. I don’t expect Mr. Sorkin to know that I, the gentlewoman from the Allergy Capital of California, would get allergies. I expect Mr. Sorkin to do some freaking background research or, I don’t know, ask Dee Dee Meyers why she constantly looks like she is about to break out in hives, because EVERYONE who lives in DC will get allergies. Unless you are born here, and then you have some freak immunity or you are just a freak generally, it will happen. Resistance is futile. No one in the Bartlet Administration ever got a nosebleed while in a meeting with a drunk Ukrainian labor leader. The President never hollered for Charlie to get him some Advil because his allergy headache made him want bang his head against the desk. Sam never had to take a break writing the Correspondents Dinner speech to go find Kleenex Not once did CJ mainline coffee because in order to leave the house she had to take Benadryl at night followed by a morning cocktail of Allegra, Flonase, and eye drops. Trust me, one miscalculation of this delicious cocktail will lead to falling asleep in your office.
I could write a dissertation about this. But these are lean times, and cuts had to be made. But know this: No one of The West Wing was ever late for work, unable to purchase lunch or missed a meeting due to large groups of tourists who walk 7 wide and 7 deep, blocking everything in their path. No one on The West Wing was asked where the White House was located while standing in front of the White House. Not once did our heroes sustain bodily harm from strollers, tourists walking into them or old people on scooters trying to navigate the Metro. I’m happy for all Americans to experience the Capital and appreciate their country’s history, but please, do it while standing on the right of the escalator, and not mixing up the Supreme Court and Judge Judy’s courtroom.
Now with that, I’m going to take an allergy pill, put on pads and a helmet, and head down to the Mall because it is springtime and I need to be outside.