The City That Would Make Clinton Kelly Weep

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I wish I could manage to snap photos of all the horrifically dressed individuals who populate our nation’s great capital. Alas, I’m not yet that sly, so you’ll have to settle for some verbal imagery of my most recent favorites.

  • If your shrug is so small that looks like you’re wearing a coconut bra, it’s probably time to upgrade. Unless it’s Halloween, the Ariel look is best left under the sea.

  • If you insist upon wearing T-shirts with not-so-quirky sayings, at least make sure they match your “look.” For example, a shirt that reads “GLAMOROUS LIFE” is, not ironically, best when not worn with sweatpants & Crocs.

  • Ninety-degree weather is no time for a pashmina. Yes, it’s September, & if you’re Midwestern like me, you’re probably pining for a fall breeze. Regardless, please accept your southern location & remove your sweaty table-runner of a giant scarf.

  • Please invest in Spanx or some other form of fat-sucker-inners. And if you refuse to do so, please rethink your wardrobe choices. I have more rolls than a bakery, too, but I don’t wear underwear that’s three sizes too tight under dresses made of plastic wrap.

  • Dear Russian Guy at Starbucks: I know you’re foreign & probably unfamiliar with the term “Kentucky Tuxedo,” but I can define it for you – you’re wearing one. Denim on denim has never been & never will be OK.

  • Unless you are Carson Kressley or a picnic table, you probably cannot pull off the checkered look. This means you, Hot Blonde Guy Wearing a Checkered Shirt & A Pinstripe Suit At Farragut North.

  • Wearing a regular bra under a backless shirt isn’t punk or emo, even when you have 18 tattoos & tri-colored hair. Backless shirts are made for girls with no boobs, so if you’ve got got ‘em, please flaunt ‘em in a differently cut shirt.
  • On my way home today, however, I saw a somewhat nerdy guy wearing a somewhat hilarious T-shirt. I came home & Googled it for a picture & was unsurprised to find that it’s from…. but people’s angry opinions about the un-quirkiness of the tee kind of made me wish I didn’t find it so funny. Either way, that guy gets a thumbs up from this Clevelander.

    Monday's (not-so-)Melodic Metro Ride

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Dear Girl Who Sang Really Loudly On the Redline Home Today:

    Yes, I know you were practicing for an audition. Even with my iPod blasting Anberlin at top volume, I could hear you - both your singing & the very loud phone conversations interspersed throughout. I want you to know, however, that audition brush-ups are simply no excuse for Metro musicality. There’s absolutely no reason on this green Earth why you shouldn’t be able to wait 15 minutes to begin your one-woman operetta.

    I know you think you’re quite snazzy with your houndstooth scarf & your gold ballet flats, but your outstanding fashion sense was completely & utterly negated by your lack of public transportation courtesy. In case you didn’t notice (& I am quite sure you didn’t), the poor passenger who was squashed in a corner between you & your tagalong friend (your theatrical sidekick, no doubt) looked like she wanted to punch you right in the vocal chords. The guy sitting across from you actually had his fingers in his ears – I wish this was my wit running away with itself, but alas, it is true.

    Please forgive me for hoping that you do not get that part you’re auditioning for. For the sanity of future redline-riders, I pray that you never have any reason to practice that song in public ever again. Actually, I hope you don’t have to practice it privately, either, or I’m sure your household pets will start plotting how to best slit their furry wrists.

    In closing? Kindly shut your face next time you take a seat on the rocky road toward Glenmont – or anywhere else, for that matter, because I know I’m not the only one who was bleeding from the eardrums today.

    Yours truly,

    The Suburban Sweetheart

    Three Straight Days of Metro Exhaustion

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    The people in Washington, D.C., are permanently exhausted. This is especially apparent on public transportation, which many commuters take as an opportunity to get some quick shut-eye. On any given Metro ride, especially early in the morning, everyone from the businessmen to the schoolchildren has their heads down, relishing the short window of time before they have to begin the daily grind... & perhaps cursing the long commutes that keep them from staying in bed a few minutes longer in the first place.

    This week, I had three experiences with big-city fatigue:

    Day One -- Absent-Minded Monday

    • I never listen to my iPod on mornings when I'm really tired because I quickly discovered that if I start to doze off on the Metro ride, my headphones (I eschew the use of "earbuds") keep me from hearing the driver's announcements.

      On Monday, it doesn't matter. Even sans music, I not only "doze off" but straight-up pass out. When I wake up - groggy, confused & with my contacts suctioned to my eyeballs - the train doors are closing on the Tenleytown/AU stop... which is a whopping four stops past mine. I hop off at Friendship Heights, five stops past, & promptly turn around to travel back down the redline.

      I am an idiot.

    Day Two -- Tuckered-Out Tuesday

    • The next day, I try to accommodate my apparent need of sleep by napping in my car before work. I typically drive to the Metro around 7a.m. to get a spot at the parking deck, even though this means I arrive at work about 45 minutes early. So I figure I'll nap in my car after I park, then jump on the Metro around 8a.m., which would get me in to work right on time. Ghetto, yes, but a girl's gotta snag beauty sleep where she can get it.

      I fall asleep in my car, as planned... & sleep through my alarm. In my car. When I wake up - groggy, confused & with my contacts suctioned to my eyeballs - it's nearly 8:25. To top it off, the train stalls for 10 minutes, & I am 15 minutes late to work.

    Day Three -- Thankful Thursday

    • On my way home from work, I spy this guy asleep on the redline to Glenmont, his mouth wide open, not flinching at all when the stops are announced.

      Yeah, he's out. When we get to Forest Glen, he jolts awake, looking around frantically & sort of panting in worry.

      "Forest Glen," I call over to him - we're the only two people left on the train.

      "Was I snoring?" he asks. I assure him that he wasn't, feeling a little bit guilty for having just taken his picture.

      "I would've woken you up when we got to Glenmont," I promise. He thanks me profusely, then puts his head back down until our stop comes.

    On Having Baller Photo-Decorating Skills

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Here's the thing about city livin'. I love it, but I miss the 'burbs desperately sometimes. More specifically? I miss the people I love who are still in the 'burbs. And even more specifically, I miss the people I love who are still in MY 'burb.

    So on my way home from work (at 9:00p.m., after a 12-hour day!), I get a picture message from Sam, my bee-eff-eff back on the homefront. I am delighted to find that it contains this photo...

    ...with this caption: "I found the effects button in the phone. I shld be doing homework. wah wah wah."

    The next one promptly arrives with the following caption: "Have a happy birthday love emo sam." Please ignore the fact that it is not, in fact, my birthday. It came with this photo:

    My response? Locate the effects button on MY phone, of course! I quickly shot off this beaut of a picture with the caption, "Da seaweed is always greena in somebody else's lake."

    My point? Well, I don't really have one... but isn't it nice to have a best friend with sweet photo-decorating skills? And to have a camera phone of your own that allows you to adorn your face with scuba gear & large goldfish? Looks like your Suburban Sweetheart has a new Metro hobby.

    The War Against Metro Terrorism

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    This sign hangs on the wall of the Glenmont station:

    And in case you can't read the literal writing on the wall, it reads: "It's easy to let our guard down. 9/11 happened over four years ago. Nothing's happened since. Except for Madrid. And London. Part of the war on terrorism is a battle against complacency. So live your life, but be aware. And if you see something that seems wrong, let us know."

    Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you The Federal Government, not-so-subtly inducing fear & panic on a daily basis. Seriously - tell me this is not the most belligerently absurd piece of propoganda you've seen in our lifetime. This is akin to WWI stuff... only perhaps more obvious, if that's humanly possible.

    But the really shameful part? It maybekinda worked on me. Last Tuesday, on September 11, I was waiting for my train at Farragut North & noticed a man standing next to me, looking confusedly between a subway map & both sides of the Metro rail. "Do you need directions?" I asked him, trying to be helpful. He turned to me, stoic, & answered "no," then looked back at his map & started laughing softly, almost maniacally, swiveling his head to watch some of the passersby on the platform.

    And then I noticed his pockets - the bulging, overstuffed pockets of this guy's jean jacket (this is a serious story, so please contain your laughter at his fashion sense) were stuffed almost to overflowing with... something. I don't know what. Maybe it was maps & a wallet & his camera & cell phone. But how was I supposed to know?

    And when the next train came, he got on it - and I didn't. Why? I'm not sure. But the map, the laugh, the pockets - in my paranoid, post-9/11 mind, they all added up to a black Middle Eastern man who could be plotting to self-destruct on the redline as a commemoration gift. So he got on, & I stayed at Farragut North, waiting, worrying.

    Should I feel relieved for not turning in an innocent man on suspicion of terrorism? Relieved that I didn't succumb to racial judgments & government-induced fear?

    Complacency is the accomplice.

    So more importantly, if he had blown up the redline... would I have been guilty, too?

    The Merits of Owning a Camera Phone

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Welcome to the dollhouse! An off-the-shoulder sweatshirt & a side ponytail in line for the bathroom at the Cosi in Dupont? Heather Matarazzo called: she wants her (lack of) style back.

    Metro puke at the Cleveland Park station. I heard two guys next to me talking about how a guy in a business suit barfed three times & then just put his earbuds in & kept walking. "Only in America," they mused, like men don't barf in... whatever part of the world they're from.

    Two strangers sitting next to one another in the same unattractive hue. When I was younger, I wanted a career naming colors in the Land's End catalog (true story), but I can't even come up with a suitable name for this eyesore.

    This girl looks better pregnant than I do fat. As Heidi Klum's black twin, she's probably going to pop that kid out & still weigh less than my right thigh.

    Happy Metro Grafitti & The Return of the Angry Asian

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Sorry I've been absent. I stress a lot, you know. And you're probably not reading this anyway.

    ...Or are you?

    I love "happy grafitti," like the time I found a bathroom mirror on campus that someone had used as a canvas to write, "You are already beautiful." There's a TON of grafitti on my train ride from Glenmont into the city, but most of it isn't necessarily "happy." It's all really colorful, exceptionally artistic, though...

    This one is my favorite, at the Brookland stop. Sometimes when I'm having a bad morning, I look out the window and wait for it. Once I've seen it, I nap the rest of the way into Dupont.

    You can't really read it, but it says, "PEARS: Shank Paris." I have nooo idea what that means... but it's pretty, bright green & silver, & it looks upbeat, right?

    In other photographic news, someone familiar was on my train home the other day: The Angry Asian! As he muttered to himself & slurped on a smoothie & incessantly switched seats, I snapped this photo on the sly... & promptly moved to another traincar.

    Sorry it's not very clear, but I obviously wasn't keen on getting too close to the guy.

    Naked Chicken Fries & My Own Unfounded Annoyance

    Saturday, September 8, 2007

    There's a posh retirement community around the corner from my neighborhood, so big I heard it's actually got its own zip code. It's called Leisureworld USA, which I think is actually the least posh name ever & sounds like a waterpark, but I digress. Leisureworld USA has its own restaurants, convenience stores, doctors' offices... & a Burger King.

    As you can imagine, the Leisureworld USA community is designed to provide the elderly, retired citizens of Silver Spring, MD, with the convenience & leisure of having all their amenities in one place. But I bet I know what disrupts that convenience & leisure - ordering a Number 7 with chicken fries from the local BK & asking the drive-thru employee whether or not they have any honey, & her dismissive, eye-rolling response: "No comprendo."

    Well, yo no compendo why this city's minimum wage workers don't seem to care whether they do their jobs well or not.

    Yes, yes, I work for a religious non-profit organization, & I am supposed to be open, accepting & politically correct at all times. I support immigration & the American Dream & bilingualism & acceptance of foreigners, so don't cry racism. But seriously: If you don't know the (English) names of basic condiments, can you find someone who does when I ask you a question? I mean, swivel to the left & tell the burger-flipper next to you that your customer has an inquiry you can't help with. Nooot so difficult.

    In other news, I sat behind this gem of a haircut on the ride to work yesterday. PS, my new phone has a badass camera, so expect more not-so-sly pics of my real-life encounters with weirdos.

    The Local Indy 500 & Movin' to the Back of the Bus

    Wednesday, September 5, 2007

    Maybe I should re-title this blog "Adventures in Public Transportation" - it certainly seems as though all my city amusement comes from that realm.

    And there are no maybes about this one - I should definitely have splurged on the $12 to take a taxi home from the Metro tonight. Instead, I spent $.35 on the bus, and I absolutely got my money's worth. Let's just say that if Mario Andretti were a bus driver, he'd be taking lessons from the guy who gave me a ride home tonight. My neighborhood is filled with speedbumps, but this guy took 'em like they were yellow lights. I think I got an ab workout from trying to clench my muscles to stabilize my balance when he made stops, & my internal organs may never be the same.

    Also, some vagrant in the back of the bus was drinking from an actual paper bag. I'm not one to judge, so I have no guesses on what he could have been taking slugs of back there, but... oh, what am I talking about? "Judgment" is my middle name, & that guy was gettin' all liquored up in the back of public Ride-On Bus No. 26.

    Public Chessboards & Strange Metro Bedfellows

    Monday, September 3, 2007

    Granite tables with checkerboard tops line the sidewalk that surrounds Dupont Circle, where a gaggle of men sit & play pickup games of chess. It’s Sunday night, and my friend Jason & I have stopped to watch a competition when a guy in a “Chess University International: Dupont Circle” T-shirt approaches. He challenges Jason to a seven-minute game, winner gets $3.

    I stand by, watching, while a nearby bum hollers a Barry Manilow tune – “My baby loves me, yes, she does…” – while he waits for a pickup game of his own. This is big-time stuff! An egg timer, a fancy little chess set. But more importantly, Chess Challenger is a pretty badass competitor. After about five minutes, Jason presses the timer button that concedes his loss. “I’ll make you a deal,” Chess Challenger tells him, & soon they’ve begun again – seven minutes on Jason’s timer, only five on the Challenger’s. But again: total domination.

    “I’ll make you a deal,” the guy offers again, & they begin a final game – seven minutes on Jason’s timer & a measly one minute on the Chess Challenger’s. When the game starts, I’m astounded at how quickly the Challenger reacts, completing each move in no more than five seconds. With 20-something seconds still left on his timer, he’s beat Jason again. “I’ll make you anoth-” he starts, but Jason cuts him off & begrudgingly dredges $9 out of the depths his pocket: “I know when I’m beat.”

    On the way home, a beef-jerky-eating MTF transvestite sits next to me on the train, complete with peeling purple nail polish & thick grey chin stubble. A beady-eyed man who resembles “Now & Then’s” Crazy Pete gets on my traincar & reads The Washington Post while wearing gardening gloves, as though he's trying not to contract any public transportation-borne diseases.

    I might never get used to city life, but I sure do love the surprises.

    Overzealousness & Unreturned Communications

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Federalism Boy has called me three times & texted me four.

    I don't know why I expected big-city dating to be any easier than small-town dating.

    (PS: I accidentally wiped out my whole formatting. Does anyone remember what color any of my shit was before? Everything looks ugly now! Help?)
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