Sometime around 2003 I was in Washington, D.C. I was taking the grand-all tour, visiting the National Mall in the sticky-thump weather that part of the East Coast is known for. Sweat was pouring, bored was prevalent, and the white heat of nationalism’s marble was starting to burn my eyes. I took a small respite in the park across from the White House, which oddly enough, looks smaller the closer you get to it, much unlike the Washington Monument aiming to put all of the nation’s men to shame.
I was sitting, being good, as I told myself I would, and just sweating outside the White House, just looking at it. I was too young to drink at that point, and had made a habit of taking one extra sleeping pill a night, so grogginess was endemic. I need a different perspective.
So I climbed a tree.
The wind blew calmly a few branches up. The leaves were pleasantly swaying. It was calm, and I felt at home in the Nation’s Capitol.
Then came a loud bark, and looking down was a surly bike officer beckoning me to get down from the tree. Which I did, mostly because cops are terrifying and there’s only so far up you can go in a tree. He told me that if he caught me in that tree again, he would arrest me on the spot. That I was lucky he hadn’t already. Yada yada, blah blah.
So I sat down at the base again and returned to my slump, when all of a sudden, with gusto and pep, up biked a gentlemen in full suit, oddly not sweating. He looked at me and said, “son, I saw everything that just happened right there, and as a lawyer, I want to let you know that you have every right to be up in that tree. There are no laws against climbing trees in DC, go on ahead, and climb back up it.”
So I did.
And I was happy again, and it was peaceful in the slight breeze and the leaves.
And then I heard another barking, and I looked down to see surly McOfficerface, looking surlier, and reaching behind his back for his handcuffs. I climbed back down and faced the phlegm and vitriol. Apparently, I was to be arrested and booked for the crime of climbing the nation’s trees. Me, a misshappened 16 year old, was going to jail.
I managed my way out of it. No arrest somehow, a camp counselor, or my father talked the cop down. Apparently, telling an officer that a lawyer told you so didn’t really fly.
I’m not sure why I told you all that story today. I think it’s mostly because I know the Cream Ale is back on tap at Dangerous Man, and thinking retroactively, that is a beer that makes me reflect on life and life’s stories. Numerous times I’ve stumbled into conversations while working, where there is a grand story being told of friends and friend’s pasts. It’s very comforting.
This Cream Ale is nostalgic in its own way. The yeast used in this Cream Ale was from the Imperial Golden Rose Ale, and sitting there, just slightly in the nose, you’ll get the smell of roses, and it is beautiful and calm, just like those leaves and the slight breeze up in a tree in DC.
Drink local, drink Dangerous, and, as always, do as you will.