Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough credit isn’t given to Murphy, who was probably the greatest philosopher of all time.
Anyone who cracks the universal secret that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” belongs in the pantheon of greats, such as Aristotle, Plato, Benjamin Franklin and Kermit the Frog.
That was certainly the case with a tour I took of Washington, D.C., last weekend. Washington was one of several cities I visited during my vacation.
Upon arrival at my hotel near the Kennedy Center and the Watergate Hotel Friday, I was asked if I wanted to book a tour for the next morning. I thought, “Sure, why not? It’s better than trying to find parking in the city tomorrow.” So I paid a $15 reservation fee at the hotel and went to my room thinking I would at least get a decent trip around the city Saturday.
I can’t believe I was so naive.
The shuttle came to pick me up for the tour at about 8:30 a.m. as expected. It took a bunch of us to another hotel where other shuttles were bringing people for the tour. A key to remember here is that the brochure for the tour said it would begin promptly at 9 a.m. That should have meant we’d be on the tour bus at 9 a.m., everyone would have paid the $24 balance they owed, and we’d be on our way.
The bus didn’t show up until about 9:34 a.m. It was about 10 a.m. before the tour finally got started.
It began with the bus driver saying, “If you look out through the front window, you’ll see the Capitol building.” We were at the bottom of a hill, so looking out the front window gave us a view of asphalt.
The next hour was basically the tour guide saying, “If you look through the trees, you might be able to see part of this important building or that important building.”
After that, it was a mad dash to see everything else.
Our first stop was to the south front of the White House — or really the large lawn between us and the south front. We got 25 minutes here, with five minutes or so taken up with everyone getting off the bus and being led to the fence by our bus driver. Then we had to jostle for a spot to take photos. Then we had to walk at least five minutes back to the bus.
Every subsequent stop went about the same way, except most of them included two or more monuments to see in 25-35 minutes — and it included some walking from one site to the next. You had to find a way to squeak time in to visit the gift shops if you wanted a souvenir.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a city in one giant blur.
Needless to say, I didn’t get to see the FDR memorial, the Vietnam Wall or the Nurses Memorial during the tour.
At the Iwo Jima Memorial, we were given five minutes to get off the bus, walk over to the memorial, snap our pictures and get back to the shuttle buses that would take us back to our hotels.
My hotel was the closest of the five hotels my shuttle had to drop people off at, so naturally they made it one of the last places.
And here is where the final frustration came in.
After hitting up the second hotel, the tire that was directly under my seat blew out. There was a loud thud and it felt like something heavy fell over. I could feel the floor vibrate under my feet.
Let’s get something straight here. You never want to feel an explosion under your feet when you’re in Washington. The current geopolitical situation makes your heart skip a few more beats than usual.
As the shuttle pulled over, all of us still onboard looked at other in puzzlement. It turns out it was an inside tire, so they had to change up the order of where they were going so they could change shuttles. Fortunately, my hotel was still the closest so they chose to do the switch out there.
I think God must have decided to finally cut me a break and end the torture early. It’s funny because, in a way, I got to benefit for a change from something going wrong.
Curt Yeomans is a Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247, via Email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.