After successfully completing my first week at Merrill Lynch, I exited the office around 3PM. I’d been getting out of the office before five most days, but getting out early on a Friday with great weather was refreshing. (Scratch the weather statement; I’m already starting to sound like one of those boring office junkies, aren’t I?) Instead of walking about a block over to the McPherson Square Metro station, I decided to roam the Northwest quadrant of D.C in search of a restaurant to take home some food. I had to admit after six weeks of winter break involving large numbers of home-cooked meals, I began missing Pakistani food. I walked into a small Indian restaurant in hopes to find something similar and completed that task.
On my way back to the Metro, I stopped at a map to see what else was in the area. I suddenly saw that the White House was located a couple streets down from where I intern. After about a minute of walking, I saw the White House. I’m still not sure how I didn’t realize that the White House was so close, and didn’t happen to look to other way when I exited the Metro every morning. I walked over to the White House and saw that a protest was going on. There were people holding up signs and chanting slogans to get leader Mubarak out of Egypt. Egyptian flags held by protesters flew in front of the high-standing American flag that decorated the White House lawn. After spending the day researching the current economic market and the future of different stocks, I felt suddenly revitalized (If only the office coffee had such capabilities). After experiencing the protest for a while, I started on my way home.
On the phone with a Chicagoan close to me, I began to think about why exactly this city felt so alive to me (this quickly became a rant received by the patience on the other end). There are no impressive skyscrapers, awe-inspiring bright lights, and overall there really isn’t too much city-esque bustle. The energy in D.C. doesn’t come aesthetically but rather from a deeper source. This city cares.
On my way to dinner last Sunday night, I walked passed an organization that handles massive quantities of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms that are seized. Tuesday, I plowed through a mob of pro-life high school students on my way to work. On my way to workout on Wednesday, I walked passed TVs of CNN playing major headlines. Simply being around such charged people and institutions is beyond energizing.
For those who’ve solely visited the District of Columbia: the monuments, Smithsonians, and other sites of visit don’t begin to stand as a testament to the vibrancy of this city. I can comfortably say that I’m much more excited about the city aspect of this semester than I was before I left.
Random entertaining occurrences of the week:
This is a poem I wrote for one of my classes this week, inspired by The Old Guitarist by Picasso (seen earlier on this blog)
Bittersweet notes twinge through the air
as my fingers extend the plane of strings
Feel me through this,
this which is all I have
Play you a light melody
two, three, four more coins
I cannot lie to these streets
the blue is raining,
and through these sparse notes
Let me write for you a symphony
in exchange for the simplicity of you
Feel me through this,
this which is all I have
Take me back
through true redemption
Calculate the seconds
They will burn
Ice me with this new blue.
A penny for the Old Guy I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer -- Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men. V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o'clock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.