Young girl plays catch with a friend in front of the National CathedralAs regular readers know, I am a strong proponent of wandering. A friend and I moseyed down to the nation’s capital Sunday, for the purpose of wandering around the National Cathedral. I love to people-watch, and am especially mindful of the contrasts among our fellow inhabitants.

[pullquote]“… a 40-month-old is entitled; a 40-year-old, not so much.”[/pullquote]Walking toward the church, we passed a sidewalk café. All the tables were full; one particularly close to the surrounding fence featured a couple adult women and several youngsters. On the ground near one kid’s seat but shoved under the fence separating pedestrians from diners, was a kids toy.

“Does this belong to one of you guys?” I asked, as I set it on the corner of the table.

“We don’t want anything that’s been on the street to be on our table,” the apparent mother responded, in a tone indicating I had erred in actually (y-e-e-c-ch!) picking up the toy. She did not deny her child had dropped it – just made clear it was someone else’s responsibility to pick it up.

Later, we stopped to ask a family picnicking on the cathedral lawn where we might buy a bottle of water on a hot and increasingly sweaty afternoon. They told us about a CVS a couple blocks away, and off we set.

Nearly at the far end of the grassy plot, we found a radio-controlled off-road vehicle. As Andy and I discussed the likelihood that some parent was frantically retracing the morning’s steps, trying hard to remember where last his youngster was playing with it, a child appeared, walked straight up to me and snatched the errant vehicle from my hand. With nary a word, he headed back toward his familial group – the same of whom we had asked where to find a bottle of water – and we went on our way.

Before anyone draw a parallel between the aforementioned “adult” who declined to acknowledge her trash and the child who claimed the off-roader, let me note a 40-month-old is entitled; a 40-year-old, not so much.

At the end of our church tour, we stood across the street experimenting with camera angles when a couple crossed heading toward us, then went around and out of the shot.

“We didn’t mean to make you circle around,” I said.

They laughed. We chatted. James and Dana invited us to the roof of their abode, where we were treated to a wonderfully unobstructed view from eight stories up.

Shortly after returning to ground level, we found ourselves slightly unsure whether the elevator on our side of the street would take us back to the train from which the stairs on the other side had guided us away.

“Will this get us to the Metro northbound?,” I asked a young woman in the elevator.

“Where are you going,” she asked; I told her “Shady Grove.”

“Yes,” she said, then explained we would catch the train from the right-hand side of the platform.

And when we arrived at the platform, she sat on the bench next to us, paying close attention to her cell phone, until the train could be heard approaching the station.

She stood up, said that was our train, turned around and walked to the opposite side of the platform to await her, southbound, transport.

The first two photogs we met were Linda and Sabrina. I don’t remember what Sabrina did. And I’m not sure the other name was Linda, but I remember her preparing to take a trip to Eastern Europe and Russia.

I’ve traveled to many countries, and visited many cultures. There’s always the one who wants someone to pick up her trash, but there are many more who say thank you and point the way to a fun experience.