I wish I could think of a witty theme, expressed in the headline, a la Hunter S. Thompson (God have mercy on his soul). If the headline remains, "March for Life 2007," then you know I didn't come up with one by the time I post this report.
Flew out of Dayton International (sic) Airport at around 5:30 Sunday evening, on Air Tran, no problems, either departing or arriving. First time I've flown since the toothpaste-in-a-baggie rule, so I wondered if I'd have to throw out my deodorant and find some in downtown D.C. Fortunately, my stick of Old Spice was not deemed a threat to national security, to the benefit of everyone I encountered the next day.
Tip to air travelers--make sure your socks have no holes in them, as the Government compels you to undress partially in the cattle-pens they call "security" at the airport. Tip to the TSA contingent at the Baltimore-Washington Airport that works Monday evening: it costs you nothing to be pleasant. You don't have to bark and glare at us as if we are convicted felons checking into Sing Sing. I'm pretty sure "please" and "thank you" will not endanger the Republic. (To be fair, most of the time I have found the security personnel at the airports are pleasant and respectful. When they're not, they deserve censure. On the premise that these indignities are truly necessary, then it is absolutely incumbent on this gendarmerie to show their fellow citizens, a free people, respect as they exercise power over them. And I'll stop here before this turns into another "two minute hate" against the air travel industry.)
After landing at BWI, I shuttled over to the Amtrak Train station. An enterprising cabbie caught my attention, informed me of an hour delay for the D.C. train, and suggested I'd do better sharing a taxi to D.C. rather than rely on Amtrak. Inside the dreary station, I found one train was an hour late, but another train was due shortly, delayed but 10 minutes. Relying on that claim, I bought a ticket from the kiosk, as well as a return ticket. Just when the train was actually due, the, uh...dang, what is the term for the sign that shows all the trains? In Penn Station, they used to have an old-fashioned one that made neat clickity-click sounds every few minutes--far more interesting than the dull, colored-light-on-black ones. Well anyway, that's when I discovered the train I wanted would now be 25 minutes late. I got a bad feeling; so I stood up, asked if anyone wanted to share a taxi to D.C. Three others joined me; we got refunds on our train fare, and crammed into a cab. We made a little small-talk on the way down; we mainly chuckled at the driver's recommendations on transportation policy: "get rid of SUVs! Can't see around them, can't see through them! Get rid of all front-wheel drive cars, only rear-wheel cars, that's the answer."
He dropped us all off at the subway entrance to Union Station, which was as close to my hotel as the grander, front entrance; I hoofed it around the corner, and was inside the Phoenix Park Hotel. Very nice, usually pretty expensive. One of our seminarians organized a trip for his confreres, and he kindly booked me a room at about $130. Now, that's a lot, but in downtown D.C.? Not bad at all. And for the march, being out in the boondocks isn't a very good plan, as you then have to drive in--and that drive in costs something, too.
I quickly checked in, and headed to the restaurant/bar, which is called the Dubliner. The two or three times I've stayed at this hotel, for the march, there are always priests and seminarians in the place, and I was pretty sure I'd see familiar faces. Sure enough, the moment I walked in, I saw two deacons from the seminary sitting with some other seminarians I didn't know--they turned out to be from St. Louis. They were finishing up, but the Cincinnati guys stayed, and we had a beer, or two, or... Before long, a couple of priests came in, joined us, more of our seminarians, and the personnel at the table kept changing. A couple of bishops came in and sat at a nearby table, and we chatted a little. The poor waitress was working very hard, looked very frazzled--"she looks like she's on the 12th hour of an eight-hour shift," one of the guys remarked. We tried to be nice to her. The place was pretty busy, past midnight.