On the way there, my friend Allison lamented the number of strangers who'd recently made "Hello, beautiful" remarks to her. Not five minutes after that conversation, a man outside a Chinatown liquor store looked us over in that piece-of-meat way & exclaimed, "Ooh-la-la! Hellooooo, sexy ladies!" Dear men of the world: Has that ever worked on anyone, ever? Has any girl ever been like, "You know what? Yeah! Actually I'd love to go on a date with you, gross cat-calling rando!" Still, I gave him credit for the French twist & for proving our conversation true & relevant.
I left the party around 11:30pm, hopping on the Metro from Chinatown to Dupont Circle all by my lonesome. As I got off, a seemingly intoxicated man approached me, one arm outstretched. In his hand, he held a small, white flower, obviously picked from some poor person's garden or some company's immaculately manicured lawn box. He held it out to me, & I accepted. "Do you know what this is?" he asked me. "This is a pansy. And I'm homeless, so I wouldn't mind it if you gave me a dollar or something so you can keep this pansy." I was already holding the pansy, of course, so I was, how you say, a little bit boxed in. Still, I gave him six quarters, because quarters are heavy & pansies are pretty, & I went on my merry way, flower in hand.
I tried to drive my car from my office to the place where I was staying, but there was nowhere to park. I circled the block for nearly 30 minutes &, exasperated, finally gave up & returned my car to my office's parking lot. It was already 12:30, & I was too exasperated (read: tired, lazy, etc.) to walk home, so I hailed a cab. The driver, a friendly man with a slight Middle Eastern accent, asked me about my job &, upon learning that I work in social media, about my educational background. "Kent State!" he exclaimed. "Even where I'm from, we know of Kent State." He told me that his daughter, a senior in high school, plans to major in journalism in college. "Do you think there will be any jobs for her?" he asked me, mining my journalism-grad mind for insight. I assured him that nearly all of my college friends are actual journalists & that even the ones who aren't see their degrees as being a solid foundation for other work. I tipped him extra, & he told me to have "a blessed holiday."
When I returned to my friend Sean's apartment, I let out his dog, Max. As I stood outside waiting for him to do his thing, a couple walked by with their small pink poodle, Shibby. "Why aren't you out tonight?!" one of the men asked me. "It's prime partyin' time, girl!" I told them I was all partied out, & they laughed - their partying hadn't yet begun. "Any good bars in the area?" they asked me, & I confirmed that the one they had in mind didn't suck before Max & I excused ourselves to head to bed.
As I drifted off that evening, Max at my side & latkes in my belly, I realized: This is what I miss about the city. All these people. These strangers with their stories & small talk & quick conversations. I miss talking to people I don't know, sharing little bits of our days & our lives, never to make contact again but for those few short moments, when we gather someone else's story, & those interactions become stories in themselves.
I'm a suburban girl who appreciates suburban comforts. Hell, I've even started to
Yes, I'm a suburban girl who appreciates suburban comforts. But no matter where I may roam, that city & those people will always feel like one of my many beloved homes.