Appeal to the Grammarians
By Paul Violi
We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it—here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."
After a stop at Kohl's to use our $40 Kohl's Bucks on a sweater and sweatshirt that are currently residing in the back of my minivan that's in the shop (see below), we headed downtown to see the Capitoline Venus at the National Gallery and the First Folio exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Fortunately, Adam refused to go to an art museum, so he was not stuck with us when we got a flat tire on the George Washington Parkway. We managed to get to the Exxon right off the Whitehurst Freeway and call AAA when we couldn't get the lug nuts off with our crappy wrench. As it happens, neither could AAA, because something is really wrong with one of the bolts that holds the tire in place. So we had to be towed -- I haven't sat in the front of a tow truck in living memory, and we wouldn't all have fit had we had younger son with us. And since it's a holiday weekend, we can't get it fixed till next week.
All of which wouldn't be that big a deal except that we had plans to retrieve Daniel from college (UMD empties out Labor Day weekend) and take him, his girlfriend, Adam, Adam's friend, and Dementordelta to the Pennsylvania and Maryland Renfaires. After much negotiation, we concluded that we should go to the Maryland fest tomorrow, so those of us who wish to can see the Mediaeval Baebes while those of us who do not wish to can see the mid-afternoon joust, and see what the weather does on Monday before making a decision about the Pennsylvania faire. We watched the atrocity that is the current season of Doctor Who, then Delta and I decided we needed to watch St Trinians which tragically is far more progressive, particularly where women's roles are concerned. We're going to have to rearrange our driving plans for the rest of the weekend because of this situation (including Exorcist Stairs):
This flat tire...
...led to this exciting journey in a tow truck to a shop that can't repair our tire until Monday at the earliest.
The view of Rosslyn and Key Bridge from the M Street Exxon...
...which is right at the base of the Exorcist stairs.