I am on my way to the Metro, walking past the CVS in Dupont Circle, & I am not dressed in any particularly spectacular way - skinny jeans that sometimes make me look fat, with a lacy white top & a black "vest" & Chinese Laundry heels. I wear massive, cheap sunglasses that overwhelm my face & carry a massive, utilitarian bag that overtakes my body. A man in jeans & a paint-splattered T-shirt is walking my way, a nondescript man I wouldn’t have otherwise taken note of if not for this: As our paths cross, Average Man lowers his sunglasses, tipping them at the bottom so he can look me in the eye. I avoid his gaze, but as he passes me, he quickly says, very loudly, “Niiiice, baby.” And then it’s over, & I have passed this Average-Yet-Creepy Man, who has somehow made me feel exceptionally ugly & violated using only two words.
Outside my rail station, I ask two conversing bus drivers which port I ought to be waiting at if I want to catch bus 51. “Down that road, honey, that way,” says Light-Eyed Hispanic Driver, who is probably not much older than I am. Middle-Aged Black Driver says no, LEHD is lying, 51’s port is right in front of me, & am I new in town? Yes, I say, from Ohio, & they both recount to Ohio towns they've visited – Youngstown, Cincinnati, Warren, Orville. They know Akron; LeBron has turned the Rowdy into something legendary, for now. Middle-Aged Black Driver tells me he wants to give me his phone number, & when I ask why, he says something unintelligible, something about CDs. For some reason, I record this in my phone under the label “CD,” although I’m never going to call this random, middle-aged bus driver who is old enough to be my father, if my father were, you know, black. As long as MABD doesn’t ask for mine, I figure this is an okay situation; I’ll never call anyway, & if he asks for my number, I will lie. If he calls it while I’m standing there, I will be screwed. I mentally cross my fingers against this potential occurrence; he gives me his number & walks away to take a phone call.
Light-Eyed Hispanic Driver tells me his name is Hector, & do I like clubs or bars? Not clubs, I tell him, but I do bars sometimes. Nothing is open in Maryland late at night, he tells me, and weekends here suck – you have to go into the city for a good night out. If I want to go out sometime, to a bar & not a club, Hector says, I should call him. He gives me his number &, like MABD, doesn’t ask for mine, thankfully. And just like MABD, he walks away to take a phone call, waving at me as I head off to port 51, confused by this entire encounter.
I need to learn to avoid strangers. Entirely.
Friday, August 24, 2007
(For the record, this was written yesterday & posted on Myspace, before I got this badass domain name. Soooo... COPY & PASTE worked me some wonders.)
- The side of a local bus reads, "WELCOME! YOU ABOARD!" with the exclamation points in those places. My grammatically conditioned journalist-brain didn't (& stilldoesn't) know what to do with this greeting and/or well-wishing and/or warning.
- A sign in the women's bathroom beneath the House side of Capitol Hill reads, "DO NOT DRINK WATER FROM RESTROOMS." My coworker Ben does not find this sign amusing, but I do. Was it put up because the water is dangerous, perhaps leaden, or for some other, more amusing reason? And who, pray tell, is drinking bathroom water when there's a drinking fountain in the hallway?
- On the door of my local(est) Starbucks, someone has graffitied "Starvebucks." The bathroom requires a key for entry - a key only available to paying customers. Therefore I conclude that this tagger actually had to purchase Starbucks products in order to pen her anti-establishment proclamation. Ironic.
- Yesterday, the man sitting next to me at aforementioned Starbucks slurped the bottom of his venti macchiato for approximately five minutes. It had been fully gone for about four & a half.
- The English pub near Metro Center, called Elephant & Castle, serves Bangers in a Blanket. These taste amazing, but are especially fun to order. They're even more fun when your waitress is actually English herself. Jonah the Kosher-Keeper asks that we keep the traef away from him, as he is disgusted by our pork-eating ways.
- Tonight, I witnessed two-wheeled road rage at its finest: an angry biker screaming at a passing car,"Get off your fucking cell phone! Learn how to fucking drive!" When you're without a horn, I guess you have to use any means possible to convey your fury.