If you’re a regular reader of this blog/column … you’ll know that there are certain cities that I look forward to visiting more than others. As Jonesy always says … the Chamber of Commerce for places like Milwaukee and Memphis won’t be calling me anytime soon. But Washington makes the cut for me. It’s on the good list.
The funny thing about D.C. is that I really haven’t seen a ton of the city … and I still love it. Because our time in the U.S. capital is normally short and sweet … I simply haven’t had time to do the tourist loop of places like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the White House, etc. I’ve driven past all of them – on the team bus – but I have yet to actually visit any of the joints. Ditto for the Pentagon … even though our hotel is nearby (and we’ve driven by that as well).
So you’re probably asking yourself … ‘How does he know he likes the city if he really hasn’t experienced it?’
And you’d be bang-on asking that question. The best answer I could give … is the feeling; the vibe; the look. I’m big on “gut instincts”. From people to places … I trust my gut. Sometimes it’s wrong … but … more often than not … my instincts or first impressions are solid. And when I’m in D.C. – despite the high crime rates and the craziness of all of the political games – I get the feeling that I could live here. The architecture is gorgeous and the nightlife (pubs, lounges, restaurants) is solid too. The traffic might be a nightmare … but find me any major city in the U.S. or Canada where congestion ISN’T a problem.
The worst part about Washington though … is the commute from the airport. The flight is less than an hour … but the bus ride to our hotel is 45+ minutes. We’re on the roads almost as long as we’re in the air. It’s nuts. It’s a lot like our trips to Detroit (another city in the bottom half of E. Smith’s favorite road destinations) … where the drive on the bus is actually LONGER than the flight!
However, the time on the bus can often fly by … with the good-natured ribbing that constantly goes on between the various members of our traveling broadcast crew. From Paul Graham’s (TV producer) Al-Bundy-like football stories; to Troy Clara’s (TV director) tales from his early days in Northern-nowhere, Ontario … we’re usually splitting a gut. If we’re not busting on Matt Bloom (TV associate producer) for still living in his parents’ basement … or crackin’ on Swirsky for being GLUED to his Blackberry … we’re busy figuring out what restaurant to take John Rusin to (TV statistician) … ’cause he only eats hamburgers and pizza.
We’re all in the barrel at some point: from my hypochondria (it’s true – I’m damn-near Howie Mandel) … to Jonesy’s all-out assault on all things basketball (he watches nothing but ball (other than Dr. Phil)) … to Leo’s “motivational” text messages and Jack’s ability to sleep anywhere and everywhere … the bus can be comedy central at times.
But when it comes to comedy and D.C. … aside from George W. … and the joke that is his presidential reign … there is no greater laugh that I’ve had in three years on the road … than what I witnessed in Washington last year … when Wizards’ forward, Michael Ruffin, inexplicably tossed the ball in the air before time had expired – hoping to simply run-out the clock with his heave – allowing Morris Peterson to bring down the ‘loose ball’ … fire off a long-bomb 3-pointer that sent the Raps and Wiz to overtime. What a moment that was. It might have been the only time in 3 years that I’ve been at a loss for words during a broadcast – because I was simply dumbfounded … and too busy laughing.
Ahhh, ya gotta love Washington. And now it’s back to watching my copy of Loose Change … and finding out if there’s a way that *I* too can vote for Barack Obama.