Tag Archives: DC

Beat Poets and Wee Wee

I began reading Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five last week, and read a section about a character who is under a lot of familial and fiscal pressure who has just been a bit short with her father. Vonnegut lists her substantial tasks (which I currently identify with and stand behind her verbal affront to her crazy father) and defends her (albeit sarcastically) when he writes, “All this responsibility at such an early age made her a bitchy flibbertigibbet.” And I thought: someone’s got my number. That is what I’ve been for the past 3 weeks. Nearly had to turn in my “kindness” badge on more than one occasion.

I had reached the zenith of my stress-o-meter this past Friday, so last weekend had to hold a few cartwheel/bubble bath-type events, or it was possible this girl would self-destruct, like Inspector Gadget’s messages. My relationships were beginning to feel the impact of my anxiety. I may have overreacted, for example, when decorating the Christmas tree, I found that an ornament (with no sentimental value) was broken.

“ How could this HAPPEN!?! Who DID this???” is how the futile grilling began. I was clutching the ornament to my chest like it was a wounded bird, and glaring suspiciously at my co-tree-deckers.

So, Sunday night, I linked arms with a friend to go to a charity event at a local bar for the homeless in our area. I was a bit conflicted. For one thing, the last time I served the housing-challenged, I was criticized, followed, then made fun-of (DC homeless-folk are often smoking whatever they can get their hands on, was what I kept telling my wounded ego. That, and I don’t look my best first thing in the morning), and for another, it felt wrong to go spend money drinking booze on behalf of people who can’t afford it, but legitimately need to be lit in order to keep warm.

The local talent, when it comes to music, was quite pleasant. The local talent, when it comes to art, was “meh”. I mean, thank you for donating your work to a good cause, but please don’t quit your day job.

Now, the highlight of the night, nay, of my month, was when I went to the Ladies’ to relieve myself of a few spirits. I don’t have to paint you a picture, but I was there, in the Ladies’, and there were 2 other water closets, besides mine, that were occupied.  Enough said. So- I’m doing that thing you do, and can hear one of the evening’s vocalists crooning away back at the bar, when another voice interrupts business to yell,

“Ladies! Ladies! Ladiiiiiies! We. Are. All. Beautifulllll.”

Have you watched So I Married and Axe Murderer? Then you know what a form of slam poetry sounds like. Usually, there’s a similar voice pattern throughout, using inflection/intonation, and in this woman’s case, hiccups and lurches, ‘cuz she was very many sheets to the wind. So, this inebriated woman in the loo, while the rest of us “saw a man about a dog ” (as some Irish drinking buddies of mine once called it), was providing us with inspiration, Greek-chorus-style.

“We all have. The Voice. Of. That. Singer. Out therrrre. Deep inside of us.”

“Not me,” I called back, “My voice does NOT sound like that, unfortunately.”

“YESSSSS!,” she cried, “You. Do. We ALL do.”

Then, from the stall to my right,

“I WISH I had it deep inside of me.”

And, predictably, from the stall to my left,

“Oo. OO! That’s what she said!”

We all began to laugh, and I chortled,

“I don’t think I’ve ever had such fun while, you know, going wee wee!”

“Ladiiiiies,” interrupted our bard, “You do. You all have the voice. We are aaaaall. Lovely. SO. Beautiful. We have that voice. You. Have. A VOICE.”

“Not me.”

“Uh uh.”


This frustrated the poet deeply, and we all made our way to the sinks to wash our hands. The sight of this act inspired a new line of poetry: how different ladies are from men. Her face was flushed with renewed passion, or booze, and she waved tight fists around maniacally as she began anew,

“We. WASH. Our hands! We have…..” then began the anatomical discrepancies between the sexes, and I am nothing if not a verbally immature 30 year old, who still refuses to call anything on the body by its proper name, so I took that as my cue to head back to my table, but I did so with a grin on my face. The first in weeks.

Thank you, artists of Norfolk, and crazy/hazy beat poet lady who resembled Dame Tilda Swinton a la The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. “…for I dearly love to laugh.”

Exactly like this, but with candy cane clips in her hair, as opposed to a gold-plated warrior helmet.




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Dumping the District

I watched Alice in Wonderland last night. I just love watching Johnny Depp freak me out in new ways.  He’s a magnificent weirdo and I am smitten every time. It got me thinking of how I use the term “falling down the rabbit hole” to illustrate wandering into something unexplainable and so far away from where I originally intended to go, but exactly where I belong.

I’m diligently working on my manuscript (and by “diligently, I mean I wrote last week), which is about every guy who has been in my life, for any reason, and how they’ve contributed to my expectations and identity. The range begins with the usual suspects, such as family members and friends, to more complicated individuals who wrote poetry about my feet, proposed marriage in an Irish pub while reeking of sheep poo, and the classic Prince Charming who was and had and promised me everything, but simply vanished one day.

The more I write about the few aforementioned fellows that I had a relationship with, the more apparent it becomes that, things don’t often end the way we had planned (marriage….restraining orders…) and I’m tempted to feel as though it was a waste of time. What was the point? I’m back to square one. Nothing’s changed, when really, everything has.

I’m breaking up with DC this week. The District and I have been together for almost 4 years now, but I’m not the same person anymore. We both seem to want different things.  The 202 has been the facilitator of some my best kept secrets and he’s seen me through many a low time, and also been the one to bring me low once in a while. You know how relationships are. I can say, however, that it has been the most memorable affair of my life. I’m grateful for the good and the bad moments and I have learned so much. Here are some highlights:

I was driving near Logan Circle when I saw this man, clearly on a walkabout. Out of all the things wrong with this picture, I mostly wanted to shout, “Sir! Put some shoes on! I’ve seen people pee on the sidewalks here!” Second would have been to ask him if he could play a didgeridoo.

The Legwarmers at the State Theater. Best 80’s cover band in the land. Best hair. Best costume changes. Best out of shape back-up dancers. Reminding us busy upwardly mobile locals that we do, in fact, want to rock and roll all night…and party every day with copious amounts of Aqua Net in our hair.


Oh, Envirocab. Thank you for not reeking of month-old curry, nor having sticky seats. You are always on time, understand what I am saying, and accept credit cards. My first taxi experience, when I had lived here just 3 months, was trying to get from Adams Morgan to Capitol Hill on a Saturday night. Cabbies would speed away from me while I still clutched the door handle when I mentioned where I needed to go, so I ended up walking 1.3 miles in 3-inch heels and a fur-trimmed coat until an off-duty driver took pity on me and took me home. I thanked him profusely while I pried off my treacherous shoes and wiped my mascara-streaked face with the hem of my dress. He gave me the skinny on how to get a driver to take me anywhere and I gave him all the cash in my bag.


I was roofied for the first and only time at a black tie gala at the National Building museum. The theory is that the two crashers there, one in a powder blue tux and the other in a sharp black tux with tails…and no pants, were the culprits. Either way, I learned my lesson and have a healthy mistrust of men in silly dress clothes, unless I want to end up crawling home with my purse around my neck, asking trees for directions.

Even though I spent of my formative years in Great Bridge, a rural town in Chesapeake, VA, my first monster truck rally was in DC. When the trucks come to my hometown, everyone knows who the drivers are and come out to support their favorite while sipping home-stilled moonshine from a concealed flask, but in DC folks buy the $8 Miller Lite and pick the most outlandish fan in the audience to watch and cheer on.

I’ll miss playing softball on the Mall, at the base of the Washington Monument, while Marine One flies overhead and lands on the lawn of the White House. I’ll miss homeless people asking for a buck on my way to the Metro, while simultaneously carrying on a philosophical conversation with the invisible man beside them. I’ll miss the range of culinary experiences to be had, like wine tastings at Cork, greasy what-nots at The Diner, brunch with live jazz at Georgia Browns, 3 a.m. runs to Ben’s Chili Bowl, $7 curries and naan while watching Cricket on the flatscreen, Sweet Green’s yogurt, Cake Love, and Bistro Italiano with their 6 tables, rude staff, and the best Greek pizza anywhere. I’ll miss Eastern Market in the Fall, where they simmer apple cider in pots right on the street. I’ll miss the germy metro. I’ll miss free summer concerts in the Sculpture Garden. I’ll miss the fast and exciting beat of the city.

I’ve learned so much from you, DC, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you’ve changed me as I move back to a slower pace of life to a town where strangers say good morning as you pass by, people are slow to make changes, even for the better, they bring their children out to restaurants, and most acts of kindness are done directly to their neighbor, as opposed to through a charity organization. They also shop at Wal-Mart, on occasion. Thank you for everything. I hope we can still be friends.


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