I slipped in and out of D.C., mostly unnoticed. A quick trip back to the only place I know to call home. It was a bit surreal; I told almost no one. The city seems to be getting along just fine without me. I suppose it's mutual.
Sitting at a poker table in New Orleans, an ophthalmologist from Sarasota told me it was a good idea to get out of Washington for a while. "That's not the real world," he said.
He was there for a conference and had planned to make the trip with his wife, but she broke her foot the week before. "If she'd come with me, I wouldn't be able to sit here and play cards all day. So it worked out for everyone," he said.
"What about your wife's foot?"
"It will heal." He called my raise. "Spend it wisely."
Back in D.C., I saw a play called "Bondage" that had almost nothing to do with S&M and all to do with the prison created by our perception of race. But the play was still performed by two actors in masks and leather, and a man in the front row munched potato chips and fell asleep while one spanked the other.
" ... not the real world." I couldn't help but remember that conversation. You have to be pretty jaded to fall asleep in that spot.
When I returned to New Orleans, I rescued Rosy from the airport and was on the road again. Temperatures have cooled off and so I invested in a space heater. But that really only solves the problem of sleeping in a cold van. Temperatures are still dropping during the day, and so the general comfort level is a factor.
In some ways, a second part of this trip has begun. I've been camping through the Southeast because I had a few places I wanted to be at specific times. But it's wide open now, with only one direction: west.