This evening my firm had a social event near Georgetown, but since it was a beautiful day I thought I'd walk instead of cab over. For the previous couple of hours there had been shouting and distant bullhorns, but I attributed it to another protest (there was one against genocide in Cote d'Ivoire earlier today - how odd is it to see people in DC waving signs decrying the policies of Chirac?) or general neighborhood noise. Only two blocks from my apartment, though, I ran into a march. The streets were lined with people, but until the rainbow flags peeked over their heads I didn't know what was up.
It was the Gay Pride Festival Parade.
It worked out that the route from my apartment to the hotel where our event was located exactly followed the path of the parade, so I saw the whole line of floats, from political candidates to PFLAG to (many) drag queens prettier than I am to the DC Bears Club. A guy trotted up, made a little bow, and asked if he could have a hug. I gave him one. A woman from one group handed me some Mardi Gras beads. Even the cops seemed to be caught up in the spirit (the salsa music pumping from the Latino group's float had to help).
One of the great things about living in a city is you just happen upon wonderful things without looking for them. The firm event was fun, but if I could do it over again I think I'd be a half hour late to the cocktail reception and stay to watch the parade.