Last Saturday was a day for new adventure. Ever since I moved into the city, I’ve made it my mission to try things outside (or slightly outside) of my usual happenings. Over the years, I’ve stuck to one type of entertainment in the DMV area and that is salsa dancing, itself a new discovery for me 10 years ago.
I spent perhaps two hours Saturday afternoon getting lost in the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens, a piece of land I didn’t know existed beforehand. I had only to put the word “parks” in my phone’s GPS and a host of red icons appeared on screen.
It was a crisp though overcast fall afternoon. I traipsed along paths upon paths encountering water fountains and moss-covered stones and foliage having already transitioned from summer luster to autumn browns. At one point there was a couple in the distance who looked to be getting their engagement photos taken. They posed in coordinated outfits along a low stone wall with Rock Creek Park as their backdrop. It was perfect.
Later that evening, I discovered a world previously unknown to me–skateboarding in Cuba. A friend invited me to a fundraiser held by an organization named Cuba Skate. Skateboarding as a hobby and as a sport is on the rise in the Caribbean’s largest island, and the event’s purpose was to raise money for skateboards and gear that is to be sent to Cuba. In the warehouse where the event took place, painted skateboards lived on the walls. They–the boards–were up for auction, the proceeds going toward the Cuba Skate cause.
Documentary clip, which played in a smaller room at the fundraiser
The crowd was a different sort, but they brought with them a new energy. It could have been the booze or the lighting or the evening’s purpose or the music the deejay played that infused the environment with cheer and good times. Toward the end of the night, he began playing a lot of ’90s hip hop hits, which had the crowd–white, black, Latino, Asian, younger Millenials and older Millenials alike–singing (and screaming) the lyrics as though the songs had just been released the week before. I count myself among the ones jamming to “Hypnotize” and “Jump Around” and “I Wanna Sex You Up.” By that time much of the wall space was bare. Those who won their bids had long since collected their skateboards and gone on their merry ways.
I didn’t tumble into bed until two-thirty in the morning.