May 12, 2008 at 9:26 pm (past, plays well with others)

After a maddening packing session (Work Friend was kind enough to come over to assist with outfit decisions earlier in the week), I woke before the sun to catch an absurdly early flight to Philadelphia via Denver. The Future CEO had warned me to arrive ready for revelry, but I still wasn’t prepared. I landed at 4:30 and by 6, we were drinking out first cup of punch at what can only be described as the oddest street party I’ve ever attended. It was hosted by the male occupants of a historic rowhouse off Rittenhouse Square and featured a “band” (two MBAs-to-be who fancied themselves musicians providing backup for other MBAs-to-be doing drunken karaoke), a food truck (presumably rented, not stolen), and a two-story beer funnel. Lots of smiling and nodding later, I learned that business school is just like college…if by college, you mean Princeton. Money flows like water and people smile while looking through you. From there we went to dinner with a smaller (infinitely more sincere) crowd and then on to another booze-fest. Still working on West Coast time and 3 hours of sleep, I excused myself to Future CEO’s blissfully quiet apartment.

The following day found me walking to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where I spent hours that flew by faster than expected and 20 focused minutes in front of their incredible Goltzius painting. I lingered in period rooms, tested the cell phone audio guide for the Constantine Tapestries (ambient noise is indeed an issue), and tried my best not to note label substrates and hanging devices. A cab ride later, I found myself outside Independence Hall. I walked through Congress Hall and the other buildings not requiring a timed ticket for entrance, then made my way slowly back toward the Future CEO and another party.
In DC, I entertained myself with a glass of sauvignon blanc while waiting for the Southern Belle and her fiance. Half-drunk by the time they arrived from some party at the Capital, I believe my first words to him were, “it’s so NICE to see a man in a suit.” He is charming and sat patiently by while we talked wedding and caught each other up on old college pals.  After a delayed flight, C finally made her way to the hotel pausing only long enough to put down a suitcase before suggesting a midnight walk. A bar off of Dupont Circle provided pints of cider and outdoor seating. We stayed and sipped our drinks until they upturned all the chairs, swept the floors, and very politely kicked us out.
We rose late on Saturday, did a bit more meandering, then headed for Blue Mercury, where makeovers were scheduled. All made up and suitably attired, we shared a bottle of rose in our room (Southern Belle, Future CEO, and The Speaker having joined us) and then a cab to Palena. I had mentioned, when making the reservation, that we would be celebrating three birthdays, but with all of the booking mix-ups had expected it to go unnoticed. Instead, the evening began with a gratis glass of something bubbly and ended with three little cakes with candles. The food was divine, but the conversation was even better. We were most certainly “that table” in the corner, laughing a bit too loudly, but it was my birthday party and I wasn’t disposed to care. C and I went out from there to Marvin, which was a disappointment plain and simple. The most charming thing in the vicinity was the gentleman in a lavender suit and white tie who helped us into our taxi.
After brunch on Sunday, we shopped our way through M Street and said our goodbyes to the locals. I picked up a tub of my favorite (and impossible to find) face scrub at the Georgetown Blue Mercury, grabbed a couple of basics at Banana and we headed toward the National Archives. C’s friend E joined us and, after a time, so did an SF friend now living in the area (with visiting boyfriend in tow).
C and I walked to the Lincoln Memorial on Monday, then back to Dupont in time to have lunch with the SF friend before C made her way to BWI and I to Dulles. 

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