Tuesday, October 21, 2008
the rain of vomit
After a morning of meetings in southeastern Maryland, I got back to Washington around 1:00. I was thrilled to find a free, two-hour parking space in the closest possible spot to the office, in the mysterious grove of gingko trees in Rose Park. I say mysterious because everyone else in the world plants only male gingko trees, and these are the first female trees I had ever seen. People (other than, I suppose, nurseries that breed gingkoes) plant only male trees because the females make thousands of little fruit that smell exactly like vomit. These are about the size of crab apples and ripen in the fall. I had not thought about this when I backed into this space, but as I was gathering up my stuff a gust of wind came and gingko fruit began to rain down on my car. It was, for a few seconds, like sitting in a car in a thunderstorm, as dozens of fruit banged loudly on the roof and hood. I was idly musing on whether gingko fruit were heavy and hard enough to hurt my car, when it occurred to me that even if they did no damage each one was spraying the car without a teaspoon or so of vomitous gingko pulp. So I moved my car, but when I got out and had a look I saw that the car was thoroughly spattered with yellowish pulp and smelled very strongly of vomit.