Jonathan Dobres

a quick trip to washington

At the end of July, I took a trip down to Washington to see my long-lost best friend, Allison. The trip was great, and she is, as always, incredible. I’m sure she’s been wondering why it’s taken me so long to write anything about it (answer: the GRE). Since Allison and I are so closely bonded, I can feel her impatience building like an indignant fire under my pot of lazy water. The time has come to act.

Looking over the pictures I’ve brought back from DC I can only think to myself, “Wow, I am terrible at taking pictures.” Here we go, though. In widescreen.

Here she is, the lady herself. Note the too-cool-for-school shades she’s got on. Allison is, indeed, too cool for school. That’s how we were able to survive it until graduation in 2001.

She’s sitting in front of the Scientology building. Here in Boston, the Scientology folks are usually represented by groups of neatly dressed people who sit around Boston Common with electrically conductive tin cans (the “Stress Test”, they call it). In DC, they have this gorgeous edifice. Try to guess which city has the bigger following. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the black triangle represents Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but since we’re talking Scientology here, it probably represents an alien pyramid scheme.

Allison made me stop off in front of the gorgeous Scientology building so that she could “tell the world about true faith.” Maybe not.

Here’s me in front of the Iraqi embassy, wearing my Communist Party t-shirt for maximum irony. Standing close to buildings that are in some way connected to our current political milieu makes me feel more intellectual.

OYA! I’m sure it’s a delicious restaurant, but Allison and I didn’t eat there. I include the picture solely because, as we walked by the sign, we yelled, “OYA!” simultaneously. It’s good to know that the psychic link is still intact.

Me: Hey, the sidewalk is under construction, how do we get around?

Allison: Oh, we’ll just walk along this pedestrian detour.

Me: Are you sure? Kinda looks like it doesn’t go anywhere.

Allison: No no, we’re fine, trust me. I live here.

I made her turn her around and stand in front of the solid gate that very firmly blocked our path, fully embracing her shame. Her sense of direction is just as good in a car, let me tell you.

This is a picture of Allison reacting to the new Mastercard logo, and it is one of the primary reasons that we are still friends. Allison is an immensely talented graphic designer, a woman destined for fame and fortune, a talent on the order of Chip Kidd (seriously, woman, get that book published). I believe her comment on the logo was, “How many fing GRADIENTS do you fing NEED?”

Lastly, I present photographic evidence that Allison and I were in the same place at the same time. In this picture you can see us huddling under a bus stop to avoid the rain as Allison cradles some delicious Indian food. Yes, we are both wearing Threadless t-shirts, because we are trendy design dorks who spend a disproportionate amount of our incomes on well-designed cotton. It’s about the process, people.

There are a number of things not pictured above. For instance, our trip to the International Spy Museum (which I have taken to calling the “ism”) would have made for some great photos, if only they allowed photography in there. It’s a massive experience. You can easily spend four hours on the self-guided tour. We just barely made it out in time to shuttle me back to the airport (but not before Allison had a chance to climb through the fake duct work they have in an early section of the museum, simulating the very common punk-spy).

Also not pictured is the bizarre doorknob nipple thing that acts as the handle to the front door of Allison’s apartment. You know I’ve got a picture of it, but I felt that posting it online would be somehow naughty.

As I look over the pictures I took of my trip to DC, I’m struck by the fact that most of them are of Allison, pure and simple. Sure, there’s one or two of the Masonic Temple in there, but mostly it’s all about her. It had been such a long time since I’d last seen her that I was afraid that we both might have changed too much to appreciate each other, travelled down roads too separate and too far apart to ever reconnect. Luckily, my fears were unfounded. Despite five years and 600 miles of distance, when I touched down in DC it was as though I’d only just left her. Granted, we had to fill each other in on things like pregnancies and car accidents, but at the core, she’s still Allison and I’m still Jon and we’re still friends, and I’m glad that this simple fact will always be true.