When did Washington become so half-assed?
I’m sorry. That’s not a nice expression. From here on I’ll use a different one.
When did Washington become so partially buttocked?
In April the board that oversees Dulles International Airport voted to put a Metro station where it would be the most appreciated by travelers schlepping tons of luggage and worried about missing their flight: underground.
Now, to save money, some of the airport authority’s “partners” (namely Fairfax and Loudoun counties) are agitating to move the station above ground, to build the station two football fields farther away than the subterranean station.
Talk about partially buttocked.
I’ve been flying in and out of Amsterdam a lot recently (no, I’m not going for the hash brownies) and the train station there is practically underneath the terminal. You roll off your transoceanic flight, take a 30-foot escalator ride to a platform, then wait for the train. The whole arrangement is so slick that you see foreign travelers buttonholing random Dutch people just to exclaim, “Your airport is so great! The public transportation is so convenient!”
You think they’ll be doing that in Washington if everybody has to alight at an aboveground station, go down to a pedestrian tunnel and then walk an extra 200 yards to catch their plane?
And don’t tell me they won’t have to walk, they can use the moving sidewalk. I say “moving sidewalk” is just another word for “escalator” and for reasons I’ve never quite understood, escalators just don’t last long in our area.
Why should other cities have better stuff than Washington? When did we become so partially buttocked?
We certainly weren’t in the past, when most of the great features of our city were built. Every time you look at the Washington Monument, imagine if some of today’s leaders had been in charge when its construction was stalled: They would have said, “It’s going to cost a lot to complete the obelisk all the way up to 555 feet. Let’s just put a roof on it at 152 feet and call it a day.”
Or look at the U.S. Capitol: “It’s going to be expensive to put a 9 million-pound cast iron dome on the building. Screw it. Let’s just leave it open and say it’s an atrium.”
Of course, the whole country seems this way today: makeshift, slapdash, stopgap. But if America ever grows another gluteal hemisphere, I don’t want its future citizens looking back and thinking, “What was up with our forebearers? Were they so stingy and shortsighted that they thought it was a good idea to get us almost to the airport and then let us fend for ourselves?”
If Fairfax and Loudoun are successful in sinking the underground station, I want photos of the politicians who torpedoed it positioned every 50 feet along the pedestrian walkway, with the words “Almost there! Keep going! Not long now!” written in big letters underneath.
Architect Daniel Burnham, the man who inspired so much of Washington’s beauty, supposedly said, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.”
For “little,” substitute “partially buttocked.” And for “partially buttocked,” substitute, well, you know.
The beaver is back. I was convinced that the semi-aquatic rodent I’ve written about had decamped from the creek near my house. But I saw him the early one morning last week waddling up the muddy bank to chow down on some green shoots.
A day later I saw some sort of snake swimming down the creek, its sinuous, undulating body sending S-shaped ripples across the water. And just Monday a heron flew right over me. Any day now I expect to see David Attenborough.
As it happens, beavers, snakes and herons are just the kinds of wildlife that visitors to Camp Moss Hollow might encounter. They sure beat the wild life the campers might encounter on the streets of D.C.
With your help, at-risk kids from our area will be able to attend the summer camp and explore the great outdoors. To make a donation using our secure online system, go to www.washingtonpost.com/camp. Click where it says “Give Now,” and designate “Send a Kid to Camp” in the gift information.
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