26 June 2006

Federal Wetlands

The first good thunderstorm of the season rolled through yesterday in the evening twilight. Black clouds hanging swollen beat sunset to snuff out the last of the day. The rain rolled over the Watergate from the West, in sheets, rang beaten and thundering, shook windows, cracked the sky open like a morning egg or overripe fruit, blood and pulp and rainwater. There was lightening. The city lit up blind and white as a body on an operating table.

Washington D.C. is always one good rain away from reverting to swampland. Today, marble sweats. Flooding from last night sops up beneath overpasses, fills the Metro like a pint glass, splits four lines and engineers a massive snarl in outlying districts and through Capitol South. Fifty thousand Congressional interns, policy wonks, lobbyist mules, pages and other fresh-faced collegiate swarms stand in front of empty tracks in dark suits and negotiate split cabs to the Hill or roll in at eleven, sweating from a two hour train ride. There's a mudslide on Constitution and water in my office basement and a 100 year-old elm tree down on the White House lawn. It's the kind of downpour that almost invariably is called torrential, even though 'torrent' and 'downpour' are synynoms and Torrential Downpour anyway is a hardcore band whose profile picture is a nervous-looking middle management type staking himself in the stomach.

I digress. For now, I'm keeping myself occupied at home with Nabokov, the new Harper's, and the first season of Veronica Mars, a clever and audacious little gem of a show (on UPN? who knew?) that's like Nancy Drew trapped in The Big Sleep. I have my excuses; it's a rainy day.

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