Wednesday, March 28, 2007

a starbucks named desire, a play in one act

s exits her favorite starbucks, a tall tea and three law books in tow, and takes a seat at an empty table. she grins slightly as she acknowledges the familiar homeless woman sitting a few tables over. she spreads out her ethics books dutifully, and tries to actually learn the material she's been hearing the professor yammer on about all semester.

a few moments pass.

a young woman exits the starbucks, and sits at the table next to s.

[internal dialogue: s]: does dolce & gabbana make jeans with a big D&G in sequins? hm.

wow. that girl's ta-tas are really out there. and so not real. i mean, she is obviously barely legal, but that level of perk doesn't exist in nature. and she's just way too thin for those to be natural.

ooh, i wish rk were here to see this tall strappy gold heels. should i tell this girl it's only 4pm?

god i wish i knew russian so i could understand what she's saying to the person on the phone.

why does she keep looking at her watch?

these GW undergrads just get sluttier and sluttier.

[cue 70s porno music]

enter john, pennsylvania avenue, driving sweet ass vintage mercedes convertible. approximately 52 years of age, well-progressed balding. john nods at unknown girl, she hangs up the cell phone and walks - ney, slinks - to the car. handshake. short discussion (negotiations?). nods. john drives off with her.

s drops her jaw unabashedly, a wave of realization visibly crossing her face. a quiet guffaw, and glance at the nearest starbucks patrons, who are laughing and watching john and unknown girl drive off.

[internal dialogue: s]: holy shit. that guy just picked up a call girl! from starbucks! 4 blocks from the white house.

god i love this city.

for the love of all things holy

ok, you've caught me. i watch american idol. i have always watched american idol. i was on a plane with ruben once from detroit to grand rapids, and it was very exciting. i called my grandmother. i love american idol.

you know what i don't love? this guy.

i mean, wtf.

he can't sing, and last night he showed up on stage wearing a hairstyle based on a sleepover i had with my girlfriends when i was 12, when we'd had too much jolt and found a full bottle of hairspray.

wtf is he/the powers that be at american idol thinking?!

america, listen. if this guy got voted through again, i'm going to be very, very disappointed in you. i'll scowl and shake my head, i'll say things like what has this country come to? and kids these days, i'll tell ya.

i'm sure he's a nice guy, and i hope his friends and family are understanding when he comes out of the closet. i support him. but that doesn't mean he should be on american idol.

Monday, March 26, 2007

metro monday: ew.

these are the two winners i was jammed between this morning: sniffles mcfrumpy and man-who-sighs-heavily-into-my-hair.

let's start with sniffles.

i knew this woman was trouble when she walked up to me on the platform. a train had just passe, so there really weren't too many people waiting. but, despite all societal norms that suggest she stand a reasonable distance from me so as to not intrude into my personal space, she stood right next to me. our arms touching close to me. my guess is that she has a spot she stands so she's right in front of the door when the train stops, and i'm in that spot. so she's standing right effing next to me, all frumply and sniffly, and when the train pulls in, she gently shoves me to get closer to the door. oh, not today lady. i didn't shove back, but i didn't move. ok, i may have shoved back a little, but she started it!

so i got on the train first (sucka) and she stood next to me. she's one of those people that isn't that large, but insists on taking a lot of space. she's got one hand on this bar, she's leaning up against this one over here, and her elbows are splayed as she reads her trashy novel. her hair is sopping wet. i don't even think she took a towel to that mess. she is a mess. everytime the train stopped, she would mop up where her hair had dripped on her face, wipe her nose, scratch her eyes, wipe the edges of her mouth, and then put that wet, germy hand back up on the bar when the train started. what's more, every three seconds she'd sniffle. i was literally thinking, one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, sniffle. and sure enough.

my inner germ-a-phob begins to freak out.

so that's on my right.

on my left, we have man-who-sighs-heavily-into-my-hair. sighs, as in, multiple sighs. i know, sir, that my suave conditioner is intoxicating. i'm aware. but please. try to control yourself.

turns out this was the least of my concerns, because he had a huge sneezing fit and pulled out a well-used, too small kleenex into which he blew his nose like his life depended on it.

i admit it, i was thrilled to find the bottle of purell at the bottom of my bag as i dug for my smartcard.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

alberto's: a love story

by and large, i am sorely disappointed with the culinary character of dc ... the dearth of bakeries, mom and pop restaurants, decent sausage (like fresh kielbasa), cheap clean diners for breakfast ... the city just seems to lack a personality when it comes to food.

but there is one gem, a diamond in the rough, a stand-out that has captured our affection. one place that i unabashedly adore and think everyone should try.

we first discovered alberto's a few years back after a night of moderately heavy drinking. i remember thinking that there was no way this pizza could be as good as i thought, and it was certainly the late hour and high blood-alcohol-content that had altered my tastebuds. but no, people. we went back on a sober, clear afternoon soon after ... and it really is that good.

for years, we have taken friends and family there on visits, and fought when bob went for lunch without me on a weekday. we grab a big slice, a pop (they call it pop! they call it pop!) and head out to dupont circle with our treasure to people watch. a better afternoon i cannot imagine. when we move into dc, the first thing i'll tell our real estate agent is that i must live within alberto's delivery area. that is not negotiable.

we, quite simply, love alberto's.

yesterday was a new chapter in our love affair. we ordered ahead and drove into the city to pick it up. i drove around the block, waiting for b to come out with the goods, my mouth literally watering. and i hope that smell never leaves my car, the smell of perfectly browned garlic crust, oregano and roasted red peppers. if heaven has a smell, i know what it is.

so for the love of all things holy, people. if you have not visited alberto's, do yourself a favor. there is no way you will be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

i love this kid, part 1 - M

anyone who knows me, i'm sure, quietly complains behind my back about how much i talk about my nephews.

obviously, i don't give a shit.

my nephews are awesome. they are brilliant and gorgeous and loving and pretty much perfect in every way. i adore them and hate being away from them. the older they get, the harder i cry when i leave. it's not pretty.

this is to serve as a preface to this and the next four weeks, in which they all three have birthdays. and today is the first.

today, the big M turns four. four? seriously? his mother was living with me when he was born, since my brother was in boot camp, so when she brought him home, it was to the apartment we shared. i spent so much time with him as a newborn, constantly in shock that my gene pool could be partially responsible for that little warm ball of perfection, that i really can't believe he's a kid now. but a kid he is, one who - he told me last weekend - wants cake and ice cream and presents at his birthday party. i told you he was brilliant. (also, his exuberant answer to my mom asking him who's coming to his birthday party is uncle b and aunt s! which obviously means he's getting extra toys.)

so happy birthday, kiddo. you're awesome. and adorable.

Monday, March 19, 2007

metro monday: metro - a promising second career for those with anger management issues?

originally, i was going to blog about the ginormous blue suitcase that was hanging out on the train sans owner right in front of the door ... about how no one seemed to mind ... about how big an explosive device could be in there ... about how i thought about moving to another car of the train for about a nanosecond before immediately deciding there was no way i was giving up my seat.

but then, i heard it. i heard this sing-songy voice over the PA announcing the next stop in a strange cadence that could have very easily transitioned into i do not like green eggs and ham, i do not like them sam i am without skipping a beat. i turned to b and asked, don't you think this guy's voice is really strange? and he said, guy? you think this is a guy?

that was at courthouse. so obviously we spent the next ten minutes before i got off the train eagerly waiting for another sample of this confusing voice. we'd quietly discuss our opinion and then stop mid-sentence as soon as we thought s/he would start talking again. there was no real consensus by the time we reached foggy bottom.

as luck would have it, we were near the front at the train .... so when i got off the train, i was hoping to catch a glimpse of him/her as s/he looked back before closing the train doors.

and i can't be sure, it was dark down there. but i'm pretty sure it was mike tyson. which kinda makes sense.

Friday, March 16, 2007

i have fucking ruined our washing machine: part three (in which the glorious misadventures of s and her crappyass rugs concludes)

yeah, the maintenance guys fixed our washing machine. and that's about it. i blogged with the word fuck a whole lot over kind of not a big deal.

but that's ok. fuck is my favorite swear. fuck fuck fuck.

i would like to say that if i still lived in a charles e. smith building (well, i certainly wouldn't have a washing machine, but still) this ordeal would have taken weeks, people. weeks. i hate charles e. smith. but that's for another day.

i have fucking ruined our washing machine: part two

the draino didn't help one bit. strangely, neither did the half(ish) bottle of wine, though to be fair, that actually wasn't for the washing machine so much as because of the washing machine.

b kindly assured me that he would have thrown those crappyass rugs in the washing machine too - any reasonable person would have. because, let's be honest, who the hell is going to handwash $3 kitchen rugs from target? i mean, b pointed out, what are we supposed to do, take them down to the stream and beat them against the banks? they filled all the creeks around here with cement long ago. and the potomac? b: i wouldn't throw trash in the potomac! let alone a rug! and you can take that to the bank!*

i hid the slightly torn up, crappyass rugs this morning, and made b tell the doorman, as i cowered behind like a little kid. i was afraid if he asked me one question, i would've broken like
khalid sheikh mohammed and admitted the whole thing. wait a second. i should check those transcripts with all the crazy things he's admitted to. maybe he broke my washing machine ...

let's hope this is only a trilogy. if not, rk can i come over and use your washing machine? i promise to leave the rugs at home.

*i don't know what the hell that means either.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

i have fucking ruined our washing machine: part one

let me catch you up to this point. b is at a happy hour which i declined to attend in favor of staying at home, reveling in the fact that i didn't bother to shower before class today, clean this messy apartment, do some laundry, drink some wine, in general just chill out.

at approximately 6:32 i realized that there was a problem. the new, cheap but cute rugs we bought from target (like a million we've bought and ran through before) had gone through the wash once a few days ago, but because i was positive mold had formed or something equally ridiculous, i washed them again before throwing them in the dryer. but when i went to throw them in the dryer, the washing machine kind of had not drained. at all.


i ran the spin cycle three more times after consulting with the sister-in-law that i was positive had done this on a number of occassions, and that's what she said to do. so i tried it. and then i emptied the machine, and tried it again. and again. ps using a 2-cup pyrex measuring to empty a full-sized washing machine - twice - really is pretty much the most frustrating activity i can imagine. or at least it is this evening.

for awhile, i just figured i'd do my part to take care of it since a maintenance person for the building wouldn't be available til the morning. but they'd take care of it. because, i thought as i checked the soaking wet rugs i had wrung out and thrown into the dryer, it's not my fault these rugs ... FUCK. handwash only. in other words, if you put these cheapass rugs in the washing machine, you damn fool, you are fucked.

so now i'm panicking.

i ran out in the freezing rain to giant to get some drain-o. that shit works miracles, right? ok, they're not going to make me pay for a plumber or a new washing machine, right? RIGHT? i was sort of pacing in the elevator lobby in the parking garage when i caught myself in the reflection. awesome - i just went out in public wearing the least flattering pair of yoga pants a woman has ever put on. so now i feel like an idiot for putting cheapass rugs in the washing machine, and i feel fat. goddamn it.

just as i'm putting the draino in the machine, i notice a few shreds of cheapass rugs floating. i started to reach in but looked at the back of the bottle. nice. if i touch draino, it will burn my skin. fanfuckingtastic. so now, if the draino doesn't work, there really is nothing more i can do except tell the management i'm a fucking idiot and hope they don't make me pay for someone to fix the machine.

then b calls. i'm on my way home now from the happy hour, he says. so i start going into the situation we have here, and he cuts me off. ok, well, i'm sure it's fine. i'll talk to you later. click.


he'd better be drunk. or in the lobby about to get on the elevator and surprise me because he's actually here and not leaving the bar.

it was the latter.

so here we are. he's positive it's no big deal and also that draino really won't burn his skin despite the warning label if he sticks in his hand. i'm positive i'm an idiot (and fat) (and that i need to get another big glass of wine) and that we're going to have to pay some amount of money to pay for this shit. (did i mention we have bought 4 plane tickets this week?)

the draino has been in for a half hour now. fingers crossed that it somehow eats away all the particles of cheapass rug. wish me luck.

on bicyclists and gay marriage ...

maybe someone can enlighten me (as well as the reader that suggest i address this really annoying segment of the dc population) about whether bicyclists in dc have their own set of special rules that state they can be total assholes and ignore all traffic rules and common courtesy ... because if the city council has passed some sort of legislation that allows this ridiculous behavior, i would love to know.

bicyclists, it seems to me, refuse to comply with either pedestrian or vehicular rules. i'm always seeing them blow through red lights and refusing to yield to either car or pedestrian. i love when i see a bicyclist get pissed when a car tries to pass them because, oh i don't know, they're going 7. i totally support bike riding as a very reasonable alternative to driving and polution. i think it's great. but i think the attitude of many bicyclists around there that they don't have to be polite or follow traffic rules is pretty problematic. if you want to ride your bike on the road, fine. but seriously - don't ride through a red light and then get pissed when someone honks at you because they've had to slam on their brakes when they were just trying to proceed through a green light. or don't yell at me when i'm attempting to cross the street with a walk sign and exercise my right of way. listen, spandex boy, i don't yield my right-of-way to cars, and you can be damn sure i'm not going to yield it for you.

(beware: this entry is about to take a very random turn)

it's quite possible, i admit, that my anger towards bicyclists is related to the fact that a certain dreaded acquaintance as well as a man from my past both are avid bicyclists ... and also stand for something that i despise: gay marriage. no, no. not same-sex marriage. i'm absolutely cool with that. (does any married couple REALLY think that their relationship with their spouse is at all impacted by the legal status of other couples? really? don't lie to me. because i think you're lying to me.) when i say i'm against gay marriage i mean i'm against secretly gay men who marry straight women. i happen to think it's a horrible thing. i mean, could you please own up to the fact that you're gay, deal with whatever familial or societal disapproval comes with that, and move on? rather than, i don't know, subjecting a woman to a life of wondering or finding out when you have an affair with a man ... and leave her with your fucked up children when you run off?

i’m not just running off my mouth here, i happen to have some authority on this issue. my grandfather was gay (he still would be except he’s dead). and i'm not angry with him - in the late 1940s when he married my grandmother, he really had little choice. society was different. i’m proud of him for the struggles he went through to come out. but the remnants of a childhood marred by parental depression, confusion, and the possibility that probably his father didn’t want to have a family are still with my dad, and have really scarred him. so honestly, i think it's terribly selfish, and in modern society totally avoidable. you don't want to go through the awkwardness of telling your family that you're gay, so you're going to ruin a woman and bring kids into the world that will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the fact that they were the result of a sham marriage and that you probably never really wanted them? awesome.

if you're a gay man and you're thinking about marrying a straight woman, please don't. also, please don't be an asshole on your bike. thank you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

the one time there's no motorcade ...

i'm sure i've written before about the motorcade starbucks, at 20th and penn, where i can't spend 12 minutes without a motorcade racing by. it's somewhat charming, or at the least very washington. sometimes i like being reminded that this is the seat of power. importance by proximity, or something equally flattering to my ego.

today, i really wish that there had been a motorcade. i know georgie-peorgie is in latin america (dancing awkwardly and avoiding protesters, so i hear...), but i wish someone had seen what i saw. a grassroots organization called ACORN stormed the headquarters of the mortgage bankers association to protest predatory lending practices. they even had people wearing shark suits ... loan sharks ... clever. those who didn't make it to the 8th floor of 1919 penn gathered in front of the building, shouting and marching and waving flags (and wandering into starbucks for coffee, or around the corner for a quick bite to eat).

i forgot to mention that while all this was going on, i had my nose in the bankruptcy code. in fact, a few protestors/office stormers asked me what i was studying, and had a good chuckle over the fact that i was studying bankruptcy while they were protesting lending practices that are resulting in the financial ruin of, according to their statistics, millions of americans. (ps i buy their statistics.) but the thing is, it's more than irony. my bankruptcy code is marked up with all the changes that happened in 2005, when congress made it so much more difficult for individuals to file bankruptcy. with the sharp increase in these lending practices in the past few years (adjustable rate mortgages, interest only mortgages, etc), coupled with all the hoops an individual has to jump through for bankruptcy - people are finding themselves in serious, serious trouble.

listen, i don't really know much about this, but it makes my stomach sink to think of all these people who took advantage of the "innovative" lending opportunities offered for mortgages, many probably buying a home for the first time, only to run smack into the only adage about something that seems to good to be true ... and congress has severely limited one of the traditional opportunites to salvage what they can of their finances.

i stuck around through all of the shouting and the marching and even the police showing up not because i was excited to have earlier scored a sweet table on the sidewalk outside starbucks, no no. i stayed through all that commotion to support their cause. i was hoping someone from the mortgage bankers association would sneak out for a coffee (since i imagine no one on the 8th floor was getting much work done just then) and see a student with her law books spread out, grinning at the protest and chatting with the protesters that sat down at their table to take a break from the marching.

Monday, March 12, 2007

metro monday: this crappy morning brought to you by congress

sure, sure. spring forward would have happened eventually. but in march? and to save energy? b and i were up until midnight last night, with the lights and tv on, and both of our laptops in bed with us. i struggle to see how much energy was saved there.

spring-forward-itis definitely had a palpable presence on the train this morning. the three commuters closest to me that had window seats were all sleeping. one in front of the other, their heads leaning against the window, i couldn't help but wish i had those little airplane pillows and blankets to tuck them in. the woman sitting next to the middle sleeper/commuter was mid-yawn when the snoring began. laughing and yawning is really unattractive, fyi.

and i loved seeing the put-together, well-dressed commuters showing no shame in letting huge yawns escape. i half expected to see some thumb-sucking and eye-rubbing.

we were all so sleepy that when the driver chastized people for crowding the train and promised there was another train ... uh ... in a few minutes (even though we all knew the next train was 14 minutes behind) there was barely a guffaw. what the hell did we care? we all got on the train.

anyway, it's much easier to nap standing up when the other comumuters are jammed in around you.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

white blood cells, my unsung heroes, please come back. i know i have taken you for granted, but i'll change. promise.

some of you may remember #4 of my new year's resolutions: chill the fuck out. i thought i'd been doing ok, but after this week, i'm not so sure. some women retain water. like my sister-in-law. that woman is always (claiming to be) bloated. it's just her thing. and i retain stress. i think i just carry it around with me, even when there's nothing to stress out about or, if there is, nothing i could possibly do about it ... (and yes, i do retain my stress in my ass. clearly.)

it all started at the end of last week, just as spring break was approaching. it started with me getting skull x-rays because of a huge bulbous mass that had appeared on the top of my skull, so large that i could actually see it under my hair. it started with me at my HMO at 6pm in the evening asking to see a doctor for said bulbous mass, and the after hours nurses thinking i was pretty damn crazy. luckily, the doctor who was the first person to touch my bulging head also thought it was freakish and didn't judge me. instead she sent me to a woman in radiology who clearly would have rather been reading her magazine. after consulting rk, and self-medicating with some benadryl and wine (what rk claims would be her first line of attack for any ailment, were she a doctor), i'm pretty convinced it was a stress hive on my scalp. either that, or it was the twin i absorbed as a fetus, the root of my genius, trying to escape. if it was, then everyone should know that benadryl and wine will keep that nasty absorbed twin at bay. you're welcome.

anyway, i thought i'd learned my lesson - if i'm so stressed out about nothing that freakish bulbous hives are forming on my scalp, perhaps i needed to work harder to chill the fuck out. but my immune system had other ideas.

my immune system, in protest, has also taken a spring break.

i woke up at 4am on sunday thinking some german soldier was standing on my face. (off, damn kraut!) instead, it was the nastiest sinus cold i have ever had, and only today - after taking most of the benadryl, sudafed and nyquil in this place, and indulging in approximately 12 hours of napping - am i approaching normal again. i feel like my poor little white blood cells have been holding back the germs for months now, until one of them said hey guys, you know she doesn't have class this week? and the others looked at each other and said, well, fuck this, and gave up.

if my immune system reads this blog, i'd like to openly apologize and pledge that i will try harder with that whole stress thing. will you guys get back to work now? thanks.

Monday, March 05, 2007

metro monday xiv: an open letter to boris

dear boris:

i noticed you the second i stepped on the train, your beady eyes peering out from those 1980s reading glasses. i think the shades of grey and dirt brown in your mangy fur hat really accentuated the dullness of your features. but boris, why did you think it was ok to take up both seats as you read the paper? boris, didn't you realize it was rush hour? as i watched you stick your thumb and index and middle fingers into your mouth, moisten the pages of the metro express and harshly turn to the next page, i wondered how such a worldly man could be so oblivious to the faux pas he was committing.

but then, boris, in walked karma, in the form of a lumbering, six-foot-three, seventy year old man. he walked right up to you and told you to move it. he struggled to fit all of himself into the seat next to you ... but he was a fighter, boris. and he made it. his elbows invaded your personal space as he spread out his express, and his nostrils were moist like a little kid playing in the cold too busy to wipe his nose. and i thought i saw a wave of realization (or disgust?) cross your face, boris. this is what happens when you are a dick during rush hour and don't let others sit ... you get stuck next to this guy and his runny nose.

i hope you've learned your lesson.

Friday, March 02, 2007

spring is definitely my favorite season in dc

prior to moving to dc, neither b nor i ever lived anywhere besides michigan. that is to say, we had never experienced spring. some joke that in michigan there are only two seasons (winter and road construction), but really the only season we're missing is spring. it simply does not exist.

so that first spring here, we were amazed. everytime we'd leave the apartment, b would walk into spring like a wall, look around confused and say, you know, i think spring is my favorite season in dc. every time we left the apartment. seriously. every year we say it almost as often as b did that first year and laugh, but it's still so true.

you'd think that, four years later, spring would be no big deal. but every year, i'm still blown away. today, i was walking down pennsylvania at my lunch break, and a woman with big black sunglasses, a white spring trench coat and tall boots rode past me on her bicycle, her coach bag perched snugly in the basket on the front of her bike. i can't be sure, but it may have been audrey hepburn circa 1958. people were out and they were smiling .... actually, they were grinning stupidly like little kids on recess.

in michigan, there are often a few warm days before mid-may, but they don't feel ... the same. it doesn't really ever smell like spring the way it does here, and the wind still has a bite, like old man winter is grabbing you by the earlobe to remind you he hasn't died just yet. the sun isn't as warm. and of course there is usually still some snow on the ground.

but here - god! the birds all start chirping and the sun feels great. the smell is intoxicating, even this early. and when spring arrives, it arrives. and usually so suddenly, like all the congressional staff after that long august recess. one day you can hear a pin drop and the next is all bustling, chattling, and clicking high heels.

the spring-induced endorphines coursing through my veins after just 20 minutes outside are so strong that not even hearing my boss Smelly clip his fingernails at his desk can bring me down. nor can the fact that i have that cheesy brady bunch song "sunshine day" stuck in my head.