A RROY REPORT Special Report
Part the Second: A Walking Tour from Hell
SATURDAY: The Wife had a meeting in the morning but the rest of the day was free so she signed us up for a 3-hour walking tour of downtown Annapolis. Sounded like a good idea at the time.
We arrived in the lobby at the appointed time to be greeted by a man dressed like Ben Franklin or some other founding father and a woman dressed like Betsy Ross or some other founding mother. There were so many of us that we had to break into two groups. As we so often do, we picked the wrong group.
Oh, there was nothing wrong with the group. NCACC lawyers are the nicest lawyers you’ll ever meet. Their families are nice too. I should have said, we picked the wrong leader. We went with the woman, who was nice enough and very, very, very knowledgable. And she wanted to share that knowledge. In very, very, very great detail. I knew I would forget everything she said 10 minutes after she said it, so I wasn’t really that interested. Plus, I had a 20-year-old autistic adult to keep entertained, and listening to the history of Annapolis wasn’t going to do it, no matter how fascinating.
I knew we were in trouble when she talked a good — I dunno, two hours? — before we even left the hotel. Ben Franklin’s group left long before us. We finally ventured out into the sun and, did I mention this already? We’re in a heatwave. At every shady spot our guide would stop and yadda, yadda, yadda, and did I mention there are no benches in downtown Annapolis? Did I mention it was hot?
We made it into the Capitol where there was, thankfully, air conditioning and a water fountain, but still NO BENCHES. Are you kidding me? How can you not provide seating in the state capitol? Now, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t stand up all day arguing for justice. I’m a writer. I sit. I sit all day. And thanks to the laptop, I no longer have to sit at a desk. I can sit on the bed and write. I can sit on the couch and write. I’m doing that right now, as a matter of fact.
So all the walking and the talking and the standing was starting to wear on me. Did I mention I hadn’t been feeling well? Did I mention it was hot? It eventually reached the point where every time she would stop and launch into another lecture, I would just sit down. I sat on the sidewalk. I sat on the street. I sat in the burial chambers of John Paul Jones. The Son usually joined me. The Wife, I’m sure, was aghast. It didn’t make the tour go any faster.
Finally — and this is the best part — we’re at the Naval Academy. We can’t tour the chapel because a couple is getting married. Our guide tells us the wedding is almost over and would we like to wait for the wedding party to come out so we can watch the traditional smacking the bride and groom around thing that goes on at Naval Weddings? Everyone agrees to wait. Everyone stands around. I notice a stone bench nearby and take The Son for a sit. There’s a water fountain next to it. It’s broken. Taunting me.
FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER, the wedding party comes out. Did I mention it’s hot, and I don’t feel well, and stone benches are not comfortable, and the water fountain doesn’t work? Our 3-hour tour took at least 4.5 hours and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the history of Annapolis when it was over.
When it was finally over, we were back at the riverfront and The Wife suggested we get something to eat. I was hot, exhausted, thirsty and not in the least bit hungry, but too tired to disagree. Plus, it probably made more sense to eat now that walk back up the hill to the hotel, rest a bit, then walk back down the hill and eat later. Which was my plan.
We wound up at Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs. It was advertised as being “kid friendly,” which I thought was odd given that crabs and ribs don’t strike me as a kid’s meal. But then I didn’t grow up on the coast.
We walked up the stairs and sure enough it was packed with little ones (We later learned that “kids eat free,” which may have something to do with it). The Son had his usual Fish and Chips, The Wife had the Crab Cake, and I had the Annapolitan — a chicken breast covered in crab dip and melted cheese. My goal was to have a crab cake at some point but now was not the time. Too hot, tired and not really in the mood to eat. I did manage to eat most of the sandwich, which was very good, but punted the fries. The water was delicious.
After all, I would have plenty of time to eat a Maryland Crab Cake.
How naive I was.
NEXT: Getting religion and a pleasure cruise