Saturday, June 4, 2016

Public Storage

In the classic 1985 film, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, the protagonist's bike is stolen, an event which precipitates a nationwide road trip in search of his wayward wheels. Somewhere along the way, Pee Wee gets information that the thieves have stashed his purloined bicycle in the basement of the Alamo, so he heads to San Antonio.

There he joins a tour led by the late, great Jan Hooks, who insists that all questions be held until the end. Hand on hip, Pee Wee taps his foot throughout her windy narration and tries several times to get around the guideline so that he can pose his single inquiry. "Where's the basement?" he finally blurts out at the end of the tour.

Hooks giggles dismissively. "The Alamo doesn't have a basement!" she tells him.

I thought of that scene today as I scouted the Tidal Basin for scavenger hunt-worthy locations. Of course I made my way up the stairs to the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial. To be honest, although we walk there quite often, I can't recall the last time I made that climb since dogs are not welcome up the stairs.

Imagine my surprise, then, to discover that the Jefferson does have a basement. Complete with two gift shops, a short movie, and a couple small exhibits, I saw the whole place in a little over five minutes.

Sorry Pee Wee, your bike isn't there either!

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