“Look out! Clifton!”

21 August 2011

A little over a week ago, on a Friday, I rented a car for work. I rented the car for a day, and decided I would like to get the most use out of it. I asked GF if she would like to get out of town and take a small road trip after work. She said she would.

We got home from work and gussied ourselves up a bit. Where to go? Where to go?

I suggested we go to Clifton, VA. I visited this cute little town in Northern Virginia about a month or so after beginning my current job. I thought the place was just about the most adorable thing I had seen. It was as small as my hometown, but had a bed and breakfast (B and B as some people say), an ice cream parlor, a bar/restaurant thing at which I ate, a wine store, train tracks, speed bumps, a church and a fancy restaurant in an old, Southern house.

After rush hour, we hopped into the rental car and drove the hour to Clifton to eat at the restaurant in the Southern house. We drove into the town, over the tracks and parked on the side of the street. We got out into the cool night and walked to the Southern house. We walked onto the porch and learned the place is called Trummer’s on Main. We walked off the small Southern street and into what could have been an upscale bar in Manhattan (at least in the wide eyes of this small-town boy).

The host took us upstairs to the dining area, which looked like it would be suitable in Savannah. Large fan blades that looked like boat propellers spun vertically as well-dressed Southerners dined and talked in the large dining room that felt like someone’s home. GF and I ordered a side of roasted oyster mushrooms and two main dishes, both of the fish variety. GF’s dish was salmon I think. I ordered some sort of fish, which I forget now, but it came with interesting vegetables I did not recognize and pureed English peas. I fucking love English peas. I did not always love them. I had to eat them as a child. Fortunately, we usually had them with mashed potatoes. I would shove the peas into the mound of potatoes and eat them together in the hopes that the starchy dish would drown the flavor of the dreaded vegetable. Now, I love them on their own.

Every single bite of each dish was perfect. I chewed the food down so small just to suck all the flavor I could out of every morsel.

I also ordered the signature cocktail, which tasted a bit like shampoo, but with alcohol.

Three people at a table behind us were boisterous. The group (two men and one woman) seemed to be in their early 50s and kept talking about boinking this or that person and giving the wait staff a difficult time. Here is a paraphrase of one conversation:

Wait staff- Anything to drink?

Woman- Yes. What was I drinking? What is that dark liquor?

Wait staff- Jagermeister.

Woman- No, that’s not it. It was something.

[men talking simultaneously and indistinguishably, but basically just repeating either the wait staff or the woman]

Wait staff- Sombucha?*

Woman- No no. Something else.

Wait staff- Those are the only two it could be based on your description.

Woman- No. I don’t know. Sombu something

Wait staff- Sombucha?

Woman- What was that?

Wait staff- Sombucha.

Woman- Sombucha. Yeah, that was it. Can I have one of those?

And so on and so forth.

I went to use the restroom and one of the men at the boisterous table went as well. He began chatting with me asking if I went to school around here. I told him I earned my Bachelor of Arts at Georgia College & State University. He said it was a great school. I’m sure he did not know it.

We took the elevator up to the next floor and walked to the restroom. We went into our stalls and did our business and went to the sinks at the same time. He showed me the sinks were not working. I said perhaps we had to pump the handle like the old days. Fortunately, he did not think that was as dirty as it sounds in writing. He just said he didn’t think my idea was correct.

We left with soap on our hands. He probably still talked about something.

GF and I also had some sort of banana dessert that I wanted to have a romantic relationship with.

GF and I eventually left the restaurant (after I had three cups of coffee due to a clerical error), walked through the town (about six minutes at the most), got back in the car and drove home.

A pleasant evening in Virginia.

Please enjoy the pictures from my previous trip to Clifton.

 

*I’m not sure if this is actually what they said. Isn’t Sombucha that drink that yoga-practicing New Age persons enjoy? I can’t be bothered to look up this kind of information.

A list before midnight

12 August 2011

I will soon go to bed (but I may not go to sleep).

I would enjoy going into more detail soon, but today consisted of:

  • Remembering my ability to cancel tentative plans
  • Visiting a Chik-Fil-A in Elmont, VA
  • Pondering last night’s Republican presidential debate (and liking Jon Huntsman)
  • Driving into Clifton, VA this evening to have dinner at Trummer’s
While you await the LP version of this EP of a blog post, please consider this video.

Into the neighborhood

30 July 2011

GF recently injured her back. She feels more comfortable lying down than sitting. However, we do not have a television in our bedroom (how un-American), meaning that she cannot zone out to Project Runway while healing.

In a fit of inspiration, I dragged our bed (mattress) into our living room.

Our den of slack (and healing)

I performed this task on Thursday. The new feng shui (literally “found suede”*) helps us feel as if we are on vacation (or holiday for our readers in the United Kingdom).

However, the “found suede” also makes us feel as restless as an illiterate kitten in a cat library. (Where one can find the collected works of William Shakesfur and D.H. Meowrance.) So what better solution than to explore our suburban neighborhood?

After walking up a hill in the heat, we spotted a house.

House

We were almost taken in with the pastel porch when we spied a serious message.

Safety is not corny-a.

Despite knowing we were under the “Watchful Eye” of the neighbors, we slogged on in the searing heat.

And speaking of watchful eyes, here’s where you go when you’ve sinned and you’re in God’s dog house.

In the Lord's dog house

However, if you repent you can attend the festivities.

Minor miracle: Feeding 47 with one watermelon and two cheese cubes.

GF then contemplates the joys of heaven and the wages of sin. (Or perhaps just considers the watermelon.)

For the watermelon of sin is death.

After our near-religious experience we happened upon something else sticking to the straight and narrow.

Straight and narrow

Righteous angle

Fascinating.

So, we continue on, wandering in a part of the neighborhood unfamiliar to either of us. Ahead, some brick spire things. (I’m sure astute readers will recognize them.)

Walking toward brick things.

As we began speaking of Slurpees and milk shakes, we saw a chimney GF’s father would appreciate (for its precariousness) and one dog a-barking.

Stoked to see this chimney.

Bark. Bark.

We finally saw our destination ahead and knew the difficult walk, the profuse sweating, the threats of surveillance and the punishments for sin were worth it. We made it. We hit the summer mecca. The height of heat-busting enjoyment.

Oh, thank heaven!

After much debate, GF settles on her beverage of choice.

Shilling for the Slurpee.

We ended the journey with a stop into a European market (where I purchased jalapeno chips and some non-US version of a Mounds bar) and a front-row stand for construction work.

European Foods.

We had to crane our necks.

Moving stuff 1

Moving stuff 2

Moving stuff 3

Moving stuff final

With sweat, salty chips, a new perspective on our neighborhood and an invitation to a watermelon social, we trudged back to our cool apartment.

 

*Many years ago I internalized the deft prose of Dave Barry.

Picture my trip to the DMV

27 July 2011

Today I took one more step to becoming an official denizen of Old Dominion.

I awoke with GF early in the morning to take Metro down to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (Alexandria branch).

I got off at the Eisenhower stop on the Yellow Line, which is further than I have ever been before  on that line.

Please enjoy these pictures of my adventure today.

Taking a fence to the Masonic tower

Telegraph Road through the fence

Walking up the bridge over Telegraph Road

A human walks where I just walked.

 

DMV ahead. No parking?

 

DMV sign. Motorist portrait in my future.

 

On the King Street platform after DMV.

 

The Masonic Tower looms above King Street.

 

So there you have it. Soon I will have a Virginia driver’s license, even though I was enraged at having to bring a birth certificate with me.