Friday, August 24, 2007

Unwanted Compliments & Phone Numbers I Will Never Dial

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.

Poor Punctuation, Starbucks-hating and Not Drinking the Government's Bathroom Water

(For the record, this was written yesterday & posted on Myspace, before I got this badass domain name. Soooo... COPY & PASTE worked me some wonders.)
  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
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