Friday, September 23, 2005

Can't get there from here

I'm staying in a very nice hotel here in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. I've got a full kitchenette, nicer than the kitchens of some friends' apartments in San Francisco. I have cable TV with several dozen channels, including two channels of Showtime. However, give me reason to kvetch and I shall.

  1. The cable does not have Comedy Central. I turned on the TV last night to watch Jon Stewart, and he was nowhere to be found.

  2. The cable does not have HBO. I turned on the TV tonight to watch Bill Maher in actual real time for once (instead of 3 hours tape-delayed for the west coast), and he was nowhere to be found. I am now experiencing acute withdrawal from political satire.

  3. There is absolutely nowhere to eat — restaurant, fast-food joint, grocery store, or mini-mart — anywhere within walking distance.
To be sure, there's a supermarket less than half a mile from here, as the crow flies. However, for those of us equipped with land-based motor vehicles, that supermarket is over two miles away. Worse yet, for those of us equipped with neither wings nor internal-combustion engines, the supermarket is impossible to reach. My nifty online map shows me a road that crosses the treacherous train tracks (Danger: High Voltage!), but it forbids pedestrians and even you silly people with non-motorized bicycles. If human beings were meant to ride bicycles, we would've been born with feet.

The long street on which my hotel sits is bounded on one side by a rivulet that feeds into the Potomac (with a freeway on the opposite bank, for added impassability), and on the other by the rail yards for the subway system, and to hell with anyone who wants to walk anywhere.

It sure makes me glad that our wondrous Leader has taken us into a Noble and Just war for cheap oil, so that we can afford to drive our SUVs to the supermarket. (Without SUVs, where would we put all of those American flag magnets and "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers?) I'll be sure to tell him that tomorrow when I march past the White House. In the mean time, I'll sit here in my fancy hotel room, eating whatever I can scrounge from the hotel's vending machines.

Worse yet, I probably could've rented a car for the weekend for about what I'm paying Stupor Shuttle for the round-trip, but it seemed a little hypocritical, not to mention that the news is talking about gasoline possibly hitting $4 or even $5 per gallon due to the combined effects of Katrina and Rita. [$3.78/gallon is $1.00/litre] "Where are you planning to go?" "Oh, just to the hotel and back, plus a side trip to the grocery store." Gotta love that car culture.