In DC…

by Chikashi

In Washington last week, as I was walking back from the Department of State to my hotel, I took a little detour as the sky was clear and it was unseasonably mild.  I felt the call of nature as I was walking past the White House and, for a brief moment, was inclined to knock on the door and say, ‘Good afternoon, Mr President.  May I please use your loo?  I should think that it won’t take me very long because your people at State did not give us much to drink all day.’  The inclination passed after a very brief moment given its absurdity, but it reminded me of a treasure of mine.

On one of the visits to Versailles some years ago, I used one of the palace’s lavatories and paid 50 euro cents for the privilege.  In return I received a ticket / receipt as evidence that I went for a pee at the Château de Versailles.  I believe that forensic accountants refer to this sort of thing as ‘paper trail’.  Reading the ‘Valid for one person for one visit’ never fails to tickle me.  The most enchanting souvenir.

Despite this momentary distraction, the music flowing between my ears in a continuous loop was Convento di Sant Anna by Gabriel Yared.  The music came to an abrupt end, with the noise of the needle skidding along the radius of the vinyl, when a traffic warden approached me from the rear to ask, ‘Excuse me, who made your suit?’  Only an American would approach a stranger to ask such a question.  Hysterical.

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