Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My pride, served on a silver platter

Today at Trader Joe's, I got carded buying Two-Buck-Chuck. I handed over my license to the fellow ringing me up, and after taking one look, he told me, "Huh. I used to work in Devon". And thus, we begin to shoot the Pennsylvania shit.

It's a game I like playing.

He grew up in Norristown, where half of my delightful Italian molto mafioso family lives. He knew the ancient department store where my grandmother would take us shopping. He knew the random bar across the street from her house. He knew the zoo, and the slightly creepy Christophe Columbus memorial my great Uncle Frankie helped fund. It was a pleasant, breezy conversation.

And then he said:

"So why don't you have a DC license?"

I just don't. This is something I have often wondered about. I move around a lot here. Apartment to apartment, job to job-- it just doesn't make sense. I'm 24. Pennsylvania is still "home".

So I told him, "Well-- I went to GW, and now I work around the corner, so I guess I just never really left." Which sort of hung in the air. Bitter, almost. Without intentionally meaning to sound anything specific, out of my mouth came bitter.

I've lived here for seven years and everything is a bit the same, though at least now I live in a different quadrant. Not that the same, is bad. But it's the SAME. I've spent my days in Foggy Bottom on and off for 5 of those years. I take the same subway. I wear the same clothes. I have a lot of the same friends. The only passage of time is the length of my hair and the addition of shoes.

Check-out guy said, "Oh. Wow. You must like it here, then."

I said "yeah" and heaved my backpack over my shoulder and carried out my things. At least this city has water ice now. A transplant of my breed needs water ice to live, since we don't have acceptable substitutes like New York's Tasty Delite. (Or a FREAKING Wawa. What I wouldn't do for a Wawa hoagie sometimes.)

I walked up Pennsylvania Avenue, thinking about the interaction. What a pleasant fellow. I wonder which high school he went to? I wonder if he knows that the Dunkin' Donuts at the corner by my aunt's house on the main thoroughfare is being rebuilt. Did he also see movies in high school at the Oaks 10 theater when it was still new and big before the King of Prussia 16 moved in?

Walking along, eager to taste my TJ's treats, I opened a bag of pretzels and took a handful, pleased with myself, and began to munch. I am easy to talk to! I bought healthy things! I had a breezy conversation with someone from back home. Water ice! Zeps! Steak sandwiches! Valley Forge Park! South Street!

And then, reality smacked me in the face.

And by reality, I mean the cold, hard pavement, because I had lost my backpack-heavy, high-heel wearing balance and had fallen flat on my face.

I laid there sprawled out on the concrete, my weeks' worth of groceries heavy on my back and my one grocery bag tossed a foot ahead of me on the sidewalk. I lifted my cheek from the ground, rubbed my fingers against my scraped palms, and began to cry in a way where you are trying REALLY hard not to be that crazy girl with a backpack laying face down on the sidewalk, but what can you do? You look crazy, and for the moment you are. My ankle hurt. My knee is bleeding. I had hit my head and my hands were scraped.

I felt like I was down for an hour, but it was probably about 20 seconds. I pulled myself up and reached out for my bag. A passer-by asked me if I was ok, and I nodded with my eyes closed in embarrassment and lips pursed in anger with tears rolling down my cheeks.

It took the walk to Foggy Bottom to calm myself down. So then, I suppose, I was the crazy girl walking and crying with bags. Like walking with tons of bags and crying isn't just CODE RED for crazy.

I can't tell if I was in shock about the fall and the throbbing of my knees and ankle, or whether or not it was the stark realization that sometimes I still feel like my lost 18-year-old self; standing on a corner in Foggy Bottom wondering if this was, in fact, the right place.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Selected Haikus on the Oscars

Jennifer Hudson
the new "it" girl for the year,
minus that jacket.

Oh Jessica Biel,
Wearing a belt, but no bra--
I know of your kind.

So, Pan's Labyrinth
You were so brilliant, yet I
still sleep with lights on.

Nicole and Gwenyth,
Have you heard of "Locks for Love?"
Ample for ten kids.

You, Ryan Seacrest--
I'll double what they pay you,
If you just shut up.

Penelope Cruz,
Wrongfully a Mexican
For five full minutes.

Abigail Breslin
Secretly, I wish you won.

Ms. DeGeneres,
Infinitely better than,
Yup-- Billy Crystal.

Beyonce, diva--
you want to cut Jennifer,
Shameless fake smile.

Oh my dear Leo,
From under what rock do you
Crawl looking so fine.

Al Gore wins cool points.
You don't see Dan Quayle here,
That couch potato(e).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Done. With. It.

Right now is one of those times where I hold up the white flag. This is me surrendering, people.

I, Katastrophe, am not cut out for apartment living. I am just not.

Upstairs neighbor (remember her?) is HAMMERING THE FLOOR. HAMMERING THE F-ING FLOOR. In my day dream, it's called "securing your new THICK, THICK wall-to-wall carpeting that will block your stomp foots and your boyfriend's vocal boom" but I doubt that is true. She's probably doing it just to be irritating because I've complained about her behavior and she's been gone for the weekend so she has to get her digs in. But seriously-- it's not human to wear high heels and clomp around your not-so-carpeted-should-be-carpeted bedroom floor at 6am. It is not human to listen to your TV that high or to let (make?) your linebacker-who-let-himself-go boyfriend stay over every freaking night. Doesn't that stort of immature bad girlfriend behavior fade when you start getting wrinkles?

Outside, in the back of the building (which my bedroom faces) the owner of the building is ice-picking the parking lot free from its wintry tyranny.

Inside the lobby (right outside my front door) the landlady is vacuuming, making sure to bump into all the corners that she can.

It's been like this since 10am.

Is it impossible to have a QUIET apartment and not pay 1600 for a one bedroom? A federal holiday is a precious thing, and I'm wasting it sitting around thinking about how MAD I AM. It's not like I don't pay a pretty decent amount of money for this place. I know some of that is being on the first floor-- but I am just losing it here, and I am not an angry person. I am mad at being mad.

My man-friend has never had a loud apartment. Yeah there was street noise, but that doesn't bother me as much. He never hears a peep from anyone else ANYWHERE. But he always lives somewhere swank and shares the place with a friend. I'm trying to afford my own space, and my budget is different.

Tell me of apartments available on the Hill, because complaining a lot often gets you out of leases. Tell me of how I can get this stompy fool to move out. Tell me how you cope with this, because all my own answers are falling short and I am about two weeks away from hammering my ceiling back and starting a serious war, instead of going through management and trying to be polite.

Being nice only gets you so far.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Things people have googled to find my blog

all together now:

"strutting like my daddy"

[ i have no idea how that came up. I don't write about strutting (or, struting, as my searching friend put it) and I haven't called my father 'daddy' since I was like 5 ]

"proper bathroom ettiquette"

[i wrote a post about this like, a year ago. it is still something very near and dear to my heart, especially since ladies know what kinds of shoes we all wear and then you know that Carol So-and-So over in Finance totally had a burrito for lunch. And that is gross and weird.)

"...calories in Andre Brut champagne"

[I love Andre. It's the two buck chuck of champange, only not as good. But cheap! And plentiful!]

"is Giada de Laurentis a midget?"


"ladylike belch"

[My boyfriend thinks that my burping is less of a 'belch' and more of a "blooorrrppppp". Whenever I burp (which is an embarassing frequency. I must be VERY attractive, since I burp with such reckless abandon and he only looks the more triumphant each time). SO attractive, perhaps, that I had a problem with a short haired ladies fetish site stalking my flickr and my blog. That actually didn't make me feel pretty. It made me feel pretty gross. ASK ME ABOUT THAT SOME TIME. I DIDN'T LIKE THAT VERY MUCH. ]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

When the moon hits yer eye

Today, at work, since we weren't home in sweatpants like we had all PLANNED, we ordered pizza. Ordering lunch to be delivered at work is pretty indulgent. No fetching, no wind, no winter, no scarf that smells like breath over my mouth and nose.

We placed a Papa John's order at 12:15. We called to confirm. They said about an hour.

We were overjoyed! PIZZA! On a cold day! The fat will keep us warm! Pepperoni will keep us alive! With the coupon it was like $4 each with a generous tip for the delivery person.

We sent around emails being thrilled! Hurrah! Pizza jokes! Pizza face! Pizza, pizza, pizza!!!!!!

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Until we said "F this" and threw in the towel.

We called the store. And called and called. The phone kept ringing and ringing, and eventually we had Papa John's CORPORATE cancel our order because we were starving NOW. And while we realize that ordering out on a day where everyone and their MOTHER probably wanted to order in, and cancelling was crappy, we waited well over 2 hours. We were defeated.

So everyone else went to Subway and I had low-fat split pea soup that has lived in my desk since about October. The moment was gone. Gone was my desire to eat something crazy fattening and different. I was going to punish myself with a boring lunch for tempting fate. It was only right.

Also I didn't want to go outside. If all was right with the world and I was home in soft pants, I wouldn't have gone outside anyway. I abide by snow day rules on rightful snow days.

When everyone returned, we chatted about a friend's brithday and then how everyone is finding my seventeen-year-old vocabulary coming out out of our twenty (and thirty!) something mouths. Totes. Betch. W00t! OMG!

Then we went "back to work".

At 3:15 our pizzas arrived.

Fate is cruel.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Staff Meeting Haikus

these were all taken from what people said or looked like during a staff meeting:

a death stare he gives
daggers shooting from the eyes
eyebrow arch. contempt?

No news is good news
have you heard any mention
of the millions due?

this is my blank check
if i seem extra bitchy
waa- my deadlines

slowly passing time
a bit of a problem here
come out of the shoot

the puppet master
the camera just loves you
smile pretty for me

bullishly stubborn
disbelief takes form of fist
beating on forehead.

it's lonely here, at
parents without state partners
pony up, casserole.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Love thy neighbor

Like any good district resident, I spend a lot of time hating on the suburbs.

It's pretty easy. People from "out there" come "in here" and mess everything up. Traffic. Standing to the left on metro escalators. Crowding the sidewalks yelling "woooooooo!" coming out of the bars that would make me rather take my twenty dollar bill and swallow it, rather than enter. The suburbs are these ominous glistening towers of Harris Teeters and Targets where people live who want to afford home ownership.

I venture out into the suburbs sometimes, though. As a lady without a car, if you have a friend with a car who is going to Virginia to buy things, it's urban law that you MUST accompany them and MUST buy as much as you can such that getting to your ground floor apartment is a challenge. It's nature's will. If someone is going to Target, I must travel to the great unknown with them. Who doesn't ALWAYS need something at Target?

This past weekend, I was in Virginia both days, and as much as I hate to admit it, both were for good things.

Good thing the first:

The Cat Empire concert. At the State Theater. Man oh MAN was that a good show. Take 6 Aussies (5 regular band Aussies and one PAR-TIC-U-LAR-LY hot singer Aussie) and have them beach-jam-band-slash-Cuban-jazz their way into your heart and see if you don't tap those hipster-flats you're wearing. Dueling trumpets are something that I had not properly prepared myself for. Listen on myspace, it's worth it. Close your eyes and revel in the 5 + 1 who are awesome and surprisingly do not have a guitar amongst them.

The prize of the evening was the keyboard player. He was an amazing musician for sure, but was one of those band members who takes himself a bit seriously and John-Mayer-grimaces in some sort of painful orgasm of his own musical brilliance.

That aside, the State Theater is kind of an odd venue for this show. And there was an odd crowd. The crowd was like, 50-year-olds. But for every 50-year-old, there were two 16-year-olds. And then we twenty-somethings filled in the gap. Lots of people sitting down at tables, eating hamburgers like civilized people. And the 16-year-olds were crowd surfing. It did not compute.

Nor did the angry table-sitter who shoved the guy standing behind me to get out of his way, and the guy behind me managed to spill half his beer on me and my friend. I expect beer poured on me other places, not ones with table service. Apparently, standing and dancing was not allowed. At a concert. How Virginian of him!

Good thing the second:

The Italian store. Sweet Jeebus it's like going home! Everyone messed around with sandwiches of thinly sliced cold meats. That's delicious and all-- but child's play. Sausage and pepper sandwiches are where it's at. We waited a while for our lunches, but it was well worth it.

We ate in about 6 minutes outside in the balmy 38 degree weather before driving off to the Harris Teeter where we and all of Arlington fought for the last yellow onions in the behemoth store. I know Sundays are rough, but EVERYONE was at this store, and everyone was being pushy. I stopped saying "excuse me" when I was playing supermarket cart chicken, and instead just did what I had to do. My poor man-friend's deli meat took TWENTY FIVE minutes to arrive. TWENTY FIVE.

But I would say for the most part that I've had enough Virginia for a while, thankyouverymuch. You people have a lovely state with delicious sandwiches and tall buildings, but a girl cannot exist on sandwich or building alone.