Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What makes a White House a home?

Can you see the Capitol dome at the very end of E. Capitol Street, visible from Lincoln Park once again, now that the leaves have fallen?

Every day these days, the Washington Post publishes a feature about how worried we Washingtonians are that the Obamas won't like Washington DC. They love Chicago, love their regular normal Chicago lifestyle. How will they adjust to DC?

But - the Obamas will NOT be living in DC, not the way the rest of us do. They won't be sitting around Dupont Circle on a sunny Saturday, walking down to the see the cherry blossoms early in the morning before the tourists. They won't be sledding down the hills on the Capitol grounds, stopping in at Granville Moore's for a buffalo burger, or Teaism for a chai, oh no. You won't see them at Eastern Market, or in Rock Creek Park hanging out. You'll never catch them standing in line at Whole Foods, packed into a Metro car during rush hour or gazing at their laptops while drinking coffee at Tryst.

The Obamas will be living in the White House which is kind of like living in jail. Actually, it's like living in a presidential zoo, barricaded on all four sides, mobs of tourists pressed up against the fences trying to catch a glimpse of the first family.

Sometimes the Obamas will see DC through the window of a Secret Service vehicle. The girls will see the inside of Sidwell Friends school. There will be official events during which they will be surrounded by security people and massive crowds, but that isn't life in DC the way the rest of us know it. Thank God!

Up until JFK became president, anyone could walk right up to the White House and knock on the door. It's incredible to think about that now. Lincoln liked to walk from the White House to the Capitol, take some air on his way in to work. He often encountered the likes of Walt Whitman and other famous citizens of the District along the way. I imagine them tipping their hats to each other as they passed.

Will the Obamas like living here? It's a theoretical question. How will they endure life in the White House? My opinion: they're tough. They'll be alright.


Merle Sneed said...

While peering through the White Houe fence I was startled by a uniformed officer with an automatic rifle. Times have changed.

Lincoln has a line of people at his office door wanting to speak to him. In those days, people just walked into the White House and barged in to see the President.

I think Obama thought about the downsides before he ran for the job.

tam said...

Magical, magical pictures.
You are right. They'll be ok.

ArtSparker said...

That dissolving house is great. I had been thinking about the White House, from what I've seen it would be staying at a Best Western where you weren't supposed to leave any evidence of your presence, that is, it doesn't seem comfortable in the way a luxury hotel would be, it just seems like it's filled with cr..stuff that's old but not very interesting.

Angela said...

That looks like a fairytale castle under water!

tut-tut said...

Your pictures are transcendent today.

And I agree; the Obamas will be fine. They will have Michele's mother to help out, and I saw a snippet of an interview they did with B. Walters, in which Michele says the girls will have a regular routine of chores, etc. This campaign can't have been very normal, can it?

BTW, Sarah Palin will be in the region this weekend. She is campaigning for the horrific Saxby Cambiss in Georgia. Give a thought out there for the rival, Martin.

Reya Mellicker said...

Good thoughts headed in your direction, Martin! Oh yeah!!

Artspark - The White House is hideous on the inside. The private quarters have to be more comfortable, at least I hope so!

Reya Mellicker said...

The "dissolving house" pic is a reflection off the roof of a car that must have been waxed seconds before it rained. I flipped the pic 180 degrees.

The E. Capitol pic was taken at the west edge of Lincoln Park, a half-block from where I live. I love our "junior view" of the Capitol from the park.

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Yes, I can see the capitol dome! When I think that San Francisco is an unreal city, I have to think about how much of DC is unreal or surreal. I have several friends and coworkers who live there, and I am always amazed to experience their daily lives which manage to run a parallel path with all the corridors of power, monuments and K-Street shenanigans. They manage to find a decidedly normal life there, but the era between 9/11 and the snippers was spooky, especially since most of them had kids.

Gary said...

What a glorious post. I didn't realize that bit about walking up to the front door ages ago. Odd to imagine. You make DC for the every day folk seem truly magnificent. There are times when I think how wonderful it would be to join you there so we could sit together and drink wine and play with Jake. Am I just sentimental or missing you? Both? Oh, yeah.

Reya Mellicker said...

I miss you, too, Gary!! xxoo

Squirrel said...

The dissolving house pic is fabulous! wow!!! love the blue and gold. it's such a happy pic.