Thursday night, we felt like we were really in the swing of things. Dinner at Le Diplomate, the French restaurant at 14th and Q NW, recently opened, getting rave reviews and always crowded, with groups waiting out on the sidewalk. Even reservations can be hard to get. But we found a parking place on Q Street, down the block from the restaurant at about 6:30, walked by (we were actually on our way to Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant down the street at P and 14th, and saw that it looked like there were some open tables at Le Diplomate, walked in, asked if they could take the two of us for dinner and they said “sure”. Le Diplomate has several rooms, in addition to outside space, and they put us in their heated semi-outside room, which seemed a little chilly when we were seated, but warmed up quickly enough. We had a simple dinner – delicious salmon served on cooked red cabbage, and a cheese omelet served with a large green salad. Each of us had a glass of wine, and I had an espresso. And the food was good, the service good, and the chairs comfortable. It seems worth its new reputation, and will undoubtedly continue to do well, even as 14th Street below U Street is approaching the extraordinary number of 100 restaurants.
We then walked the block to 14th and P to the Studio Theatre to see Quiara Alegria Hudes’ “Water by the Spoonful”, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (but who knew?). It’s a play about addiction – addiction to drugs and addiction to pain medication, how it limits one’s life, and how hard it is to kick the habit. If you ever can.
There are two worlds depicted in the play – the real world as we know it (in its grittier aspects) and the cyber-world, where people communicate with each other but don’t know each other (or do they?). Three addicts (an African American IRS employee, a young woman of Asian-American heritage, and a WASPY-business man with a hidden drug problem) participate in a chat group run by a fourth (a tough talking, but very supportive ex-addict), giving the hostess credit for helping them break their habits and remain clean. They appear on the stage together, while speaking over a computer network – no mean trick, and beautifully brought off.
The real world involves a young Army veteran , who had been injured in Iraq, and his young cousin, a music teacher, each with their own problems, and carrying with them the problems of their struggling family. A story as worthy as the first, it begins to intersect with the cyber-world in surprising ways. Things are never exactly what they seem.
Beautifully acted, beautifully constructed. A play to see.
Ah, that’s the ticket. Not exactly,
We walked back to the car. Got in and drove away. Driving north on 13th Street, I noticed (to my surprise) that we had a ticket under the windshield wiper. I could not figure out why.
I didn’t look at it until we got home, and then saw that we had a $30 fine for parking “on the north side of Q Street” (that was accurate) where parking is limited to residents of Ward 2 (that was not accurate). Parking is getting harder in the city, as more blocks have been taken away from general parking and limited to neighborhood residents. The 1300 block of Q Street is, though, a bit different from most. This is because the eastern half of the block is limited to resident parking, but the western half of the block (where we parked) is not. Unfortunately, rather than listing the precise address where we parked, the ticket simply said that we parked on the north side of the street.
What to do? I went back this morning, and took photos of the two differing signs on the two parts of the block. I tried to show addresses of the townhouses behind each sign, but there is no real way to prove that I took the photos on this particular block. At least not through the photos. (Maybe the hearing officer would let me use Google Maps to show the block on my smart phone?) And even if the officer takes my word for it that this is Q Street, how can I prove where on the block that I parked?
And is it worth the time to challenge $30?
Well, I have to decide what to do, and not take it as a personal defeat if I fail to overturn it.