Thursday, January 31, 2008

any plaza named after a dude named after children is not the plaza for me

There are only a few things on this planet that scare me: cats, ancient Egypt and children. So, when I had to go down and do some wonky work this morning at L'Enfant Plaza, which I'm assuming you already know means "the child" in French, I was understandably shaking in my awesome new patent leather shoes (which I bought at the same time as, um, these equally awesome new patent leather hooker ankle boots).

But The Anti DC giggles in the proverbial face of fear, so I soldiered hobbled on (one must sometimes sacrifice comfort for badass shoes). However, when I finally exited the sh*t-tastic metro (a story in and of itself, I might add), I found myself in a concrete hell. L'Enfant Plaza sucks.

Seriously, this has got to be the ugliest part of DC. If ever there was a gnarlier group of buildings, I have yet to find it. Honestly, save for all the American flags, the sh*t down there looks more Soviet than goddamn actual Soviet buildings. Ugh. See for yourself:

Those colors may not bleed, but they sure look sad.


Союз нерушимый республик свободных;
Сплотила навеки Великая Русь.
Да здравствует созданный волей народов

Единый, могучий Советский Союз!*


Do you see??? I'm not pulling this sh*t out of thin air here. L'Enfant Plaza is hideous.

But even worse than the squatty, chode-like architecture there is the near total lack of street signs and building numbers. Luckily, I've started packing heat my camera, so I took some evidentiary shots myself for proof.

Dude, where's my sign?


Where's your sign, dude?

Seriously, no street signs? Clearly, like Stalin, L'Enfant Plaza hates freedom. No longer could I forge my own path to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I had to ask three people (and we all know how I feel about people) to figure out what street I was on and an additional two to find out the building number, which begs another question: What are all these lost people doing in L'Enfant Plaza? It's like the effing Bermuda Triangle but without the ocean scenery and warm weather.

"Sweet Jebus, will I ever escape the clutches of this godforsaken plaza?" I asked myself. But I refused to let this tool-infested Bermuda Triangle engulf me in its sea of douche. Ironically, I realized the one thing that could save me from succumbing to my fate was my very own coup de douche -- my GPS-equipped BlackBerry.

Apparently, it takes a douchey item to save yourself from a douchey nightmare. Irony's the best, n'est-ce pas?

*This is the first verse of the Soviet national anthem. The lyrics translate to English as, "United forever in friendship and labour/ Our mighty republics will ever endure./ The great Soviet Union will live through the ages./ The dream of a people their fortress secure." Yeah, that didn't work out so well for them...

16 comments:

kob said...

Bravo -- I laughed out loud.

I-66 said...

So what you're telling me is that your worst nightmare would be standing in front of The Great Sphynx in Giza amid a tour group of children?

I think that'd be pretty bad myself.

Washington Cube said...

L'Enfant died penniless and was buried for a long time out in Hyattsville, Maryland in Prince George's County. In 1909, they dug him up and put him over in a place of honor at Arlington National Cemetery. What does this have to do with anything? Heck if I know.

Peter said...

The Izvestiya building looks pretty good by comparison - those round windows are a nice touch.

Marissa said...

kob--

Thanks, I do what I can...

I-66--

Actually, my biggest fear is being in a pyramid with a cat in one corner and a child in the other. The mummy, cat and child all staring me down. That shit is creepy.

washington cube--

Damn U.S. history for foiling me again! Or did it? Perhaps this is all just more evidence to the creepiness of children. L'Enfant should have changed that last name of his for reals.

peter--

Tochno.

Anonymous said...

Bitching about L'Enfant Plaza (with excellent writing, I will concede) when you don't even know that it's named after the guy who designed the entire original city makes me think your anti-DC rant is on par with those who screech about movies they haven't seen and books they haven't read.

Marissa said...

anonymous--

First and foremost, thanks for the writing compliment. That is very much appreciated.

Second, I must disagree with your analogy. If I had criticized L'Enfant Plaza without first seeing it, that'd be one thing. But I came, I saw, I conquered (and by "conquered" I really mean "got lost") and I wrote about it.

Third, you're right in that I probably should have done some research as to why L'Enfant Plaza is called what it is, but then again, I never claimed not to be an idiot.

Zoinks!

Anonymous said...

You're correct in pointing out that it's not the best analogy. Better stated, my point is that you undercut your argument when pinning the mood setting for the piece on disliking children, and then saying in essence, "well this awful place is named after children which is further proof that it [and to extrapolate based on the larger point of your blog, DC in general] sucks," yadda yadda.

That said, children creep me out as well. So godspeed on that point.

Anonymous said...

You're correct in pointing out that it's not the best analogy. Better stated, my point is that you undercut your argument when pinning the mood setting for the piece on disliking children, and then saying in essence, "well this awful place is named after children which is further proof that it [and to extrapolate based on the larger point of your blog, DC in general] sucks," yadda yadda.

That said, children creep me out as well. So godspeed on that point.

Marissa said...

Anonymous--

Touché. I did a half-ass edit on the title. Thanks for readin'!

Shannon said...

Hilarious. I live in Southwest, and let me tell ya, it reminds me of my dreariest days in Sarajevo.

Marissa said...

shannon--

I know! I honestly thought I'd be stopped and asked for my documents.

Also, I don't know if they have these in Sarajevo, but in Russia they have underground crosswalks (perekhodi) in which you can buy fake Chanel accessories and D&G rhinetstone-bedazzled belts. The underground "mall" in L'Enfant is so eerily similar, except, you know, instead of fake Chanel and D&G, I imagine if I took a closer look at the merchandise it'd probably be fake Crocs and Dockers.

Shannon said...

Marissa, the old Concrete Ode to Joy, the 1984 Winter Olympics stadium, has an underground mall. It looks sort of like L'Enfant Plaza, except they've got the Olympic Rings everywhere, plus that creepy wolf-looking mascot.

And holes from the shelling, but that's not as amusing.

Marissa said...

So, basically, what you're saying is that besides that lil' ol' shelling incident, this Concrete Ode to Joy you speak of is WAY cooler than L'Enfant's mall. *sigh* Sometimes I miss the former-Soviet bloc...

Anonymous said...

When you leave the area, naturally you should say, "Au Revoir Les Infants."

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see just how permeant memory has become in our every day lives. It's like everywhere I turn, I see something with a card slot or USB port, haha. I guess it makes sense though, considering how cheap memory has become lately...

Ahhh, who am I to complain. I can't make it through a single day without using my R4 / R4i!

(Submitted from SKu2 for R4i Nintendo DS.)