Friday, March 29, 2013

I Spy (Or Am Spied, Or Am Near a Spy, Or Something Else Spy-Related)


I'd been in D.C. for only about two hours when my old stomping grounds (hate that phrase) did me a favor by being really, really weird, just like I'd remembered it to be.

I was sitting in a little faux-park in Dupont Circle, one of those cement spaces with benches & pigeons where businesspeople can escape their cubicles & eat lunch outside on sunny days, smack in the middle of crazy traffic of both the vehicular & pedestrian varieties. I was eating a bowl of meatballs & rice from Shophouse, which I lovingly refer to as "Asian Chipotle," while waiting for a friend to join me, when a normal-looking middle-aged woman sat down on the bench next to me.

She was... well, a normal-looking middle-aged woman in every sense of the word. Chin-length grey hair, yoga capris, a puffy jacket, clogs. She looked like she could've been my mother, if I permitted my mother to leave the house wearing clogs (love you, Mom). I wouldn't have thought anything special of her, except...

When she sat down, I heard her mutter, "No change" - but still, nothing registered on my weird-o-meter. Maybe she had a meter to feed & was aggravated to realize she couldn't? Or hates Barack Obama? Or... something? Sometimes people talk to themselves (love you, Mom). NBD, right?

Thirty seconds later, I heard her say it again: "No change." I couldn't see a phone or an earpiece, but I assumed she was taking a call by Bluetooth - or was a crazy person. DC is prone to both of those types of individuals, so again, not a huge deal.

But then, for the third time: "Still no change."

That's when it hit me: This woman was surveilling something - or someone. As I tried to process what was happening, she spotted her target. Though I couldn't make out everything she said over the jackhammering going on a block away, what I made out was approximately this: "Subject is approaching near Metro. He's wearing a short leather jacket and brown shoes. He has a military-style haircut & appears to be about 30 years old." Unfortunately, try as I might to identify the subject of her surveillance, I couldn't figure out who she was talking about without looking like a total busybody. 

Obviously, my train of thought from there went like this:
  1. "Am I on Betty White's Off Their Rockers? That show where old people prank young people? That could totally be happening right now. Play it cool, Kate, play it cool."
  2. "Holy shit, this is just like Law and Order. Plainclothes detectives! Who else within my line of sight is an undercover police officer? Is this a drug bust or a sex scandal? Wait, is this Scandal?!"
  3. "Tweet this immediately. Duh."
  4. "Things like this happen all the time in D.C., remember? My God, I miss this shit."

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