Sunday, July 13, 2008

a whirlwind tour of the district

yesterday, i partook in a scavenger hunt race under the guise of meeting some new people, doing something active, and seeing the city. the story line was that a spy was loose in the city; thankfully, the story line was limited to the task sheets we picked up at each checkpoint. it could've gotten quickly cheesy had we been chasing an actual spy. each checkpoint was a double dare kind of fun; there were mental challenges and physical challenges.

first, the team. just by careers, i think we had a broad cross section of d.c. let's see, we had the air force, army and marines represented. we had the defense and state departments represented. we had a government contracts employee for a big aerospace firm. we had three education representatives in varying degrees: summer camp counselor, teacher's assistant, and a teacher. hey, that's me! to add a bit of intrigue, one of our members was a tourist visiting her daughter from austria, who just happened to be one of the organizers. we ranged in age from 21 to 44, and were about evenly split by the sexes. so gung ho about the competition were we that we all ran up the down escalator at one metro station to beat another team to the street. what?! there were strollers and "escalumps" in the way on the right way!

second, the challenges. first hour consisted of mostly icebreaker activities. we had to talk to each other about our life stories, jobs and whatnot. we ran too far in one direction on the metro, only to show up late for checkpoint one at the supreme court. we did pretty well on the challenges there, easily remembering the specific facts about our teammates. we did a little better in the next hour, showing up on canadian soil third for some points with that. some trivia, sing the canadian national anthem, take a breather. this was clutch. we were all getting pretty tired at this point, especially the non-sneaker-wearing members. third hour, we took over. we completed almost all of the challenges and questions, beating the organizers to the next checkpoint at the white house. the final two hours were compressed into 90 minutes or so. that had us crisscrossing downtown and dashing up connecticut avenue, cutting hair and getting hassled by homeless people. we showed up at the endpoint well ahead of the other teams, completed nearly all of both lists, and were on our second round at the bar before they started trickling in.

at that point, we were likely in sixth place or so. our fearless leader for team boss was thrown into the irish jig competition...and summarily destroyed the competitors. who knew that ballet dancers could channel michael flatley and mary katherine gallagher at the same time? final tally had us in second place. six measly points out of winning. no matter, we still shared the same prizes that the winners got. too bad she and i can attend neither of them. i'm sure you'll hear about our consolation prize someday soon.

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