Wednesday, December 12, 2007

je suis une fille formidable

i'm allowing myself to be a little sentimental today, a little appreciative of the way things are. wait, that's not accurate. i'm allowing myself to blog about it is all. it's been six weeks now since we've moved into the city, from the burbs of arlington into adams morgan, from a high-rise to an english basement, from corporate landlords to a nice gay couple who are, themselves, just getting settled into this big old house. my commute used to be a walk across the street to the metro; now, i walk for 35 minutes to school and from school. i'm outside about 75 times more now than i was before, walking, soaking in sunlight and endorphines that are significantly affecting my mood, and my affection for this city and her quietly dignified neighborhoods is growing by the day.

in six weeks, i haven't stopped grinning to myself when i cross new hampshire and look at the fountain at dupont circle down the block, or when i pass the building where i used to work as a receptionist for an architecture firm when we first moved here. when i cross k, i usually slow up a little in the middle of the street, stretching my neck for a glimpse of the office that is just waiting for me to wrap up this whole law school thing and pass the bar already. i breathe in fresh air every day, to and from work.

i've tried before to write about how this move has changed me, has changed my feelings about washington. about how i feel like i've been a fraud all these years, telling people back home i live in dc. i didn't live in dc. this side of the potomac and that side feel completely different. and i'm a little ashamed it took us so long to get here.

i can see the washington monument down 18th on those days i do choose to wait for the bus. i don't have congressional representation. and my driver's license finally does not say michigan. this is officially home.

and i was feeling especially sentimental, brimming over even, as i snapped shut my phone walking past the world bank, away from my last fall semester, having called to announce to b that i was triumphant ... that against all odds i'd managed to write a solid antitrust exam ... that i won't be failing any classes, not this semester. i crossed pennsylvania, dusk closing in around me, smiling like a damn fool ... and i knew today would be the day i might be able to explain how much happier i am now living in the city.

i had considered slipping into circle one bistro, a favorite hotel bar near campus, the location of my bachelorette party, a surprise party for b, and many a happy hour through the years. but i thought it would be better to stop in someplace new, reward myself for being thisclose to finishing law school with a new spot. (and obviously i was stopping for a drink. because somehow drinking at a bar alone at 5:15 on a wednesday is way better than coming home and uncorking a bottle of two buck chuck alone at 5:15 on a wednesday. obviously.) so i grabbed a fresh copy of the onion, and snuck into this cute little italian place on connecticut, just north of dupont circle, called tomate or something. it's a little place, the first floor almost all windows, and coming to a point to fit snugly on the little piece of real estate it inhabits. i've always thought it was adorable, but we've never gone. so in i went.

i settled in at the end of the bar, facing the church of scientology across the street, all decked out for christmas. (scientologists celebrate christmas? who knew?) (also, they seem to be okay with smoking. either that, or the constant presence of two or three smokers on the balcony above the entry to the mansion were keeping an eye out, and the smoking was a cover. maybe they're actually watching for a space ship that could at any moment swoop down for them. obviously, my knowledge of scientology is impressive, and not at all marred by pop culture's satire of it.) i ordered a bellini - peach schnopps and champagne, because what else does a self-respecting girl drink at 5:30 on a wednesday night, alone. i cracked open the onion (btw - who knew that i own and love 4 of the top 7 albums of the year as dictated by the onion's AV club. i am so much cooler than i give myself credit for). and i took a nice deep breath. i watched a little soccer, eavesdropped on some conversations, and ordered a little snacky snack. and another glass of champagne. i inhaled and exhaled, inhaled and exhaled, allowed myself the small luxury of being one more round of classes from the end of this chapter. i felt a little like i was reading ahead in a book, like i stopped suddenly on page 150, looked around to see if anyone was watching, gingerly flipped to page 250 ... and just read a couple of paragraphs. i liked it.

for the record, i didn't ask the bartender to top off my glass of champagne as i neared the end, nor did i buy the excuse he gave as he grinned and winked that he just needed to finish off the bottle. i did, however, tip accordingly.

as i walked up connecticut, home, with the evening breeze just cool enough to soothe the hint of champagne-induced throbbing in my forehead, i passed an art gallery with photography blanketing the front window. one of the photographs was of a sign that read, je suis une fille formidable. je SUIS une fille formidable!, i thought. je SUIS! je suis une fille formidable qui:

1. really wanted a cigarette;

2. is officially in her last semester of law school; and

3. had to go the dry cleaners drunk on champagne. at 6:30 on a wednesday night.


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