By Anthony Arcell
As the seasons start to change, so do the leaves on the trees. I looked to my left, and I saw a long creek with no apparent beginning while I traveled on a one-lane road. I seemed to be the only one out driving on this delightful October afternoon. I was on this road for 10 minutes, and I found myself consistently looking at the creek. Maybe it was the long windy road that I was traveling on that made me so attracted to the look of the bright green and yellow leaves falling. The towering trees mixed with the slight breeze made it seem as if a continuous flock of birds were flying through the trees knocking leaves off the branches. The leaves would spiral down, blending the colors together until they hit the water. The creek was deep, almost like a small valley, with a warm feel because the sun was at its highest point where the sun made the water on the leaves glimmer.
After being half dazed from the ongoing road, I sped past a traffic camera, and I saw a bright flash in my rear view mirror. I immediately knew I was close to the city and became quite upset I was going to be receiving a ticket soon. Soon after, I started seeing road signs saying C&O Canal followed by a sign that read Clara Barton Parkway that led to a traffic light. I came to a stop for the first time in about an hour. I looked back to my right and noticed the creek that once looked so deep was now right next to me and across were people running and walking on a path.
After driving for about five more minutes, I saw a sign that indicated that I was coming up on Georgetown University, and I was finally at my first destination. I turned into the campus, and shortly after turning; I saw a large wooden sign with its top half painted blue and the bottom white. “HOYA” was written in the white and “SAXA” was written in blue. It looked as if a few friends got together and decided to make a sign for fun. When I looked to my right, buildings started to come in to sight. Since I was going uphill the buildings looked like they were rising out of the ground. I stopped at the security booth and was asked to show identification. The guard took my tag numbers, and gave me a pass and sent me on my way. I parked; turned down the music and in a louder than normal, but in a not quite yelling voice said, “We’re here.” I woke up my girlfriend and roommate; both of whom, after a long draining drive, I honestly forgot was in the car. We all got out of the car and simultaneously took deep stretches to get the blood properly through our bodies again.
“Ding, ding, ding,” The sound of a bell on a bike got closer and closer. I turned to see one of my oldest friends, Deion, coming around the corner on a blue 10 speed bike. Followed by the “dings” of the bike bell, Deion began to yell, “HEY PUNK.” I started laughing because nothing ever changed between us, even at 21 years old; we found it funny to call each other names. When he got off his bike we did our ritual handshake that we’ve done for years. I introduced him to my friend Tevin and girlfriend Briana. He shook both of their hands followed by a simple “Nice to meet you.”
We begin to walk toward a mountainous grey bricked building know as Healy Hall. I noticed a large bronze statue of a man sitting in a chair on top of a marble stand and I turned and asked Deion who it was. He simply shrugged his shoulders and told me, “I don’t know; stop being lazy and go look.” I gave him a very sarcastic stare, and walked over to the statue to take a better look. The statue was of the founder of Georgetown, John Caroll. I was dumfounded by the fact that Deion has been attending this University for the last three years and didn’t know who the founder of the school was. I met back up with my friends and inquired, “How do you not know who the founder of your school is?” This was something I should have anticipated because I’ve known Deion since we were five years old, He says, “Yeah I knew who it was, but I wanted to make you go look.” I just laughed, shook my head at him and said, “You will never change.”
I notice a map of the campus and walk over. As my eyes wondered around the map of the University, I realized that this was not a small campus like Stevenson where you can get from one side of the school to the other in less than five minutes. It was more like a mini city. Deion asked what everyone wanted to do, and with no hesitation, Tevin said, “McDonough Arena,” but immediately Deion said, “Nope, can’t because the basketball team has started their season.” Tevin and I were extremely disappointed seeing as though we both really wanted to see the arena where the infamous Georgetown Hoyas basketball team played. Deion then asked if we wanted to go to the quad where there would be students hanging out. We all agreed, and then started to walk in that direction. The deeper we got within the campus, the more buildings appeared and blocked the sunlight. I became more and more aware that there were a lot of people the closer we got to the quad. A brick walkway was grey, while the outside brick was burgundy red lead to a quad filled with students. I asked Deion if it was always like this, and he replied “If it’s nice out, people are out.” Students scatter in groups everywhere, with a lot of random chatter transpiring all around. People just seemed to be enjoying themselves as if they had no cares.
In the middle of the quad was a stone fountain with two layers. The bottom part was a circle about 10 feet around and two feet high and the upper part was about six feet around. A jet stream of water shot up in the air and landed back in the upper part of the fountain while the water over flowed to the bottom half of the fountain. I walked up to the fountain and wouldn’t you know it, the fountain was littered with various coins. I felt it would only be right. I dug in to my pocket for a loose penny, gave it a good flip in the air, closed my eyes, and made a wish as the coin made a slight splash in the water. After hanging out for a while, Deion brought us to his apartment. With no lack of students, it was almost like walking in the city where you may have to dodge a few people because it’s crowded. We made our way to a building that looked almost like a giant hotel you would find in a place like Las Vegas. We entered the lobby and to the left was a row of mail boxes.
The elevator doors opened, and we got on and headed to the tenth floor. I gave him a double look only because I did not realize there were so many floors. The whole building was tiled with marble floors and was exceptionally clean. Walking down the hallway, every door looked similar with a light brown door and gold numbers. We stopped at Apartment 6 and walked in. The first thing I did was go right to the couch. I plopped right on the sofa, and Deion walked by and saying, “Don’t get too comfortable_ were leaving in an hour.” So focused on being lazy and wanting to just sit down, I was unaware how nice his apartment was. There were three black leather couches just alike, a sleek 40-inch television mounted on the wall, but best of all was the view he had. You can only imagine being 10 stories up and how far into Georgetown you can actually see. I stepped out on to the balcony and took a little lean over the rail to get a better feel of the breeze. I could see the Key Bridge from where I was, as well as a sunset that hit the water and made the whole city look like it has a glow to it. The waters reflection was so bright; if the sun had eyes it would blind himself from looking at his sun.
From there we did what college kids love to do most on weekends. Party!
I woke up in the afternoon on Sunday, still a little tired from the previous night. I promised my girlfriend I would take her out, so my roommate hung out with Deion until we got back. Briana and I left the school and got back on the road shortly after we hit M Street. Now, I am not a city person, especially with regard to the parking aspect. I’m sure I broke several traffic laws, and to be honest, almost hit a few people; fortunately no one is harmed from my driving. Traffic made it difficult to find a parking spot, not to mention the only parking was in a garage or parallel park on the street. After getting fed up with trying to wait for side spots to open, I decided to park in a garage. We got out and quickly walked to the shops and wouldn’t you know it, my favorite store, Nike, was right by the parking garage we went to. My girlfriend looked at me like a weirdo because of how I was gawking at the store. In the window display was the newest Nike gear on mannequins.
We walked in and the vibe was relaxed, the workers looked like they could as well be customers and there was a theme on each floor. We walked up the metal staircase that spirals. The theme of this floor was all about football, with mannequins the size of actual football players, head to toe in various NFL team uniforms. At the top held the best part of the store, a collection of shoes. Not just any collection though, the Jordan brand collection 1-23 in Georgetown University’s color way. Some might feel it’s crazy for people to display shoes in a glass case as if they are a treasure. Those people don’t understand though that this collection all together could get you a minimum of $20,000. It’s what the sneaker community refers to as a “Holy Grail” of shoes. I ended up grabbing a shirt from the Nike store and as I walk out I hear someone call out “Arcell!”
I turned and it was my friend Keith from my previous college I transferred from. He told me he left the school the semester after I did, and came back home. I asked how the area here was and he said, “All of these convenient shops are nice, the food around here is great, and it’s a good time to go on Georgetown campus. However, when you live right around the corner from here all of these attractions get old. The only thing that never gets old is the peace and quiet you can find by the water, no matter the weather.” I talked to Keith for a little bit longer, then we stepped out the store and I examined the rows of stores. Each store looked so different, like a lane of townhouses made into a business: no one store is exactly the same.
Exhausted from all the shopping, we decided to grab something to eat. We went to Jonny Rockets. The Jonny Rockets had the usual theme, an old fashion diner/ burger place. The food was always reliable and I hadn’t had one of their classic milkshakes in a while. We received the check, I slid my card in the slit and on her way back the waitress, Jessica, grabbed the check and asked, “Is this our first time here in Georgetown?” I replied, “She’s been here before, but this is my first time.” After a little bit of small talk I ask if people here are stuck up or rude when they eat here? “Actually people seem to smile more, once they get to sit and relax after walking around shopping. Also the area seems to be calming for many.”
Our stomachs were full and satisfied, but there was only one more destination I was really concerned about and that is the C&O canal. We finally got enough energy to get up after giving our stomachs much needed time to digest and leave out to head to the canal. The canal was a street down. While walking through, we saw an almost unbelievable line coming out of a store. The store was, “Georgetown Cupcakes”, so I decided to go over to take a look. Peaking inside the window, I saw a display of cupcakes are everywhere; it looks similar to an upper class Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of cupcakes. A greeter outside asked “It looks great in there doesn’t it?” I nodded my head, and then turned to him asking, “Do you eat a cupcake every day?” He started to chuckle and said, “You’d be surprised how many people ask me that.” He continued and said, “I bring a box of 12 home for the family, so maybe two or three times a week.” I then asked, “What’s up with the line going all the way down the block is there a promotional thing going on?” “Nope people just love our cupcakes,” he said. “I see, from the size of the line,” I said. “I’m Anthony nice to meet you…”, “Steve, nice to meet you as well Anthony,” Steve said.
We continued down to the street to the canal, still random shops align the sidewalk. We began walking up a set of steps; a restaurant called “Nicks” with a dining area outside for the customers to enjoy a great sight of the water with their food was in front of us. There are massive pillars sky-high at the top step. Finally, at the top of the steps, you immediately saw a great deal of people walking the peer, some by themselves, with others, walking a dog, a few joggers and many sitting on benches enjoying the pleasant weather. My girlfriend and I saw others sitting up and down the edge of the peer, so we decide to find a spot as well. Ducks were everywhere lurking for food as if it was a housedog waiting at the end of a table for scraps.
I looked out to the water; across you could see the other side of the city, more apartments and homes, and to the left you could see the Key Bridge. As I stared out to the water and saw the ripples in the water move so seamlessly from the fair boats passing and the light breeze with the right amount of sun, it made me feel at peace. As great as the weekend was, from the experience of a great University, to partying, and shopping, I enjoyed my time at the water with my girlfriend the most. I guess simplicity is what amuses me.