Okay, just for the sake of sanity and dealing with boredom, I’m going to kick it old school and do the type of blog entry that I generally hate. I’ll keep it all to one post, and if it sucks too badly I’ll just delete it later. The type of blog that I hate is one where you spend your time reading pointless updates about random shit…….which, now that I think about it means I hate my own blog because I thrive on the random AND the pointless. I’m currently on a business trip out east, and I’m staying at a hotel right next to a strip mall that could literally be in any metropolitan area in the country…….I can look out the window of the Hilton and see a Chipotle, Boston Market, Borders, Bed Bath and Beyond, Quizno’s, Sam’s Club and McDonald’s. There is absolutely nothing that sets this place apart from Omaha, Des Moines or Tulsa. So as I sit this close to the nation’s capitol and still manage to be bored, I’ll give you updates between now and Thursday with a handy little timestamp…
March 10th, 2008- 11:25PM EST:
Two things…..First, I HATE to fly, and I have to say a lot of the pressure is lifted when you are finally at a “normal” enough weight to fit into a cramped airline seat without completely alienating the person next to you. Hooray for that. I know how mundane that must sound to most of you, but for me it was a real breakthrough. Secondly, I have zero embarassment about the fact that I can only eat or drink a small amount before I am full…..so it’s fun to eat four “happy hour freebie” mozzarella sticks at the Hilton lounge in front of your co-workers and say, “damn, I’m full”.
The best thing about the trip so far is this African guy downstairs named Lawrence…he’s kind of a bellboy/concierge/go-to guy that I liked immediately due to his eagerness to engage us in conversation about the whole New York Governor scandal, why it was okay for us to snatch Noriega and bring him to the U.S., etc. I’m going to tip this guy every time I get a chance, because that sonofabitch earns it. They have a shuttle here to run you around where you need to go within a five mile radius, and earlier tonight when we were sick of paying hotel prices for drinks he commandeered the shuttle and ran us over to a liquor store. When you go above and beyond to take me to a liquor store so that I can numb myself to the fact that I’ve got several days of corporate hell in front of me, you are my friend. I’ll get a picture with this guy tomorrow and post it on here, because he just fucking rules. So far he is the greatest thing about Gaithersburg; the strip mall capitol of the east coast……
March 11th, 2008- 11:58PM EST:
Do you all remember that scene towards the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest where Nurse Ratched calls out young Billy, who just got laid and lost his stutter? Well, my first day of training was a lot like that. Nurse Ratched goes “Aren’t you ashamed?”, Billy says “No, I’m not” (no stutter!), then she says “You know Billy, what really worries me is how your mother is going to take this”. Then the meltdown begins……”Um, um, well, y-y-y-you d-d-d-don’t have to t-t-t-tell her, Miss Ratched.” To which she replies, “I don’t have to tell her? Your mother and I are old friends. You know that.”
Flash forward to ME at 8am EST this morning when I go down to the lobby to meet the group of people with whom I will spend the rest of the week…….and suddenly I morph into Billy….”P-p-p-please d-d-d-don’t m-m-m-make me do this…….n-n-n-no…NO!…n-n-no….p-please, NO! N-n-n-NOT gonna d-d-do it!”…..first I slapped myself across the face, crying uncontrollably, and finally grabbed someone’s Snapple bottle, broke it and started carving gouges down my cheeks.
It didn’t do any good, I was totally fucked at that point. Apparently they get this reaction all the time. The rest of the day is not worth mentioning, SO…….flash forward to 7:30PM EST this evening and I’m standing in front of the White House taking pictures. You don’t have to be clairvoyant to know that I’m not the biggest fan of the current administration, so NORMALLY I’d be getting pictures of me grabbing my crotch, giving the finger or simulating autoerotic asphyxiation with my belt, right in front of the rose garden. But….there is something about the vibe down there that just…..scares you. It’s either the centuries of history, or the spooky amount of security and surveillance that you DON’T see that makes it too formidable to properly fuck around. In fact, I was downright polite to people…..like, OLD SCHOOL polite. I didn’t start saying “my liege” and shit like that, but when I went to ask one of the White House cops the quickest way to the National Archive area, it blew my mind because it came out like, “Excuse me kind sir, would you do me the honor of illuminating the path by which I may best traverse this fair city and find the archival landmark that will surely put me closest to that jolly tavern known as Cafe Atlantico?”. I guess they get this all the time, because he goes…”Certainly, you just go straight down this street, which will turn into Pennsylvania Avenue on the next block, follow that till you get to 9th street and turn left”.
Really, DC is one polite fucking city, at least up in the serious tourist corridor. It’s too polite and people are way too helpful when it comes to teaching you how to use the metro or give extremely useful directions. It bothered me. Fuck that town, man.
So dinner at Cafe Atlantico was fantastic, and I’ll write about that on another site for the food nerds who won’t roll their eyes when I wax poetic about how the combination of eel, jellied pineapple and toasted quinoa is a miracle that will eventually bridge the gap between the tastebuds of the elitist gastronomist and the lowly midwestern housewife.
As I rode back on the train from Metro Central to Shady Grove, I went to an emotional place that I have not experienced since I was eighteen years old and I was riding the train between New Haven Connecticut and New York City. The diversity of the travelers prompted me to pull out my food-nerd journal and take notes, as I connected with them in my own personal way…..it’s not often that I look at random people as actual human beings and make broad, emotional assumptions about them. There is a weird nobility to the stereotypes I place on strangers as I completely understand them after nothing more than a few seconds of observation. I became this portly Hugh Grant character who takes his patented self-deprecating method acting to a level where literally shitting your pants makes you the most smoothly murderous player in all of whoredom. So I look down the length of the train and see the gaunt, bookish girl with the ponytail, who is just TOO immersed in her book, zoning out in a way that makes a total scene….in order to ignore everyone around her, and I realize that she is secretly into the most exquisite styles of heavy BDSM. And there is the well-manicured business boy who takes such joy in brandishing his iPod that he loses control and begins to quietly dry-hump it and weep into a kerchief. The aggressively happy and loud Spanish girl in front of me is so animated and intense about making her points to her shy friend that when she gets off at the next stop and leaves the other girl behind, the entire train car feels bad for the lonely refugee because she has nothing left with which to entertain us when she is sitting alone. The obviously wealthy deaf man down the aisle is so flamboyant when he is signing to his friends he can’t know how loudly he is smacking his lips as he mimes along. The fuming, angry African immigrant next to the door is grinding his teeth so hard that he is drooling. There is a construction worker talking to his friend, and he has taken this train ride so many times that he doesn’t even know where he is…it’s simply a reflex action when he gets off at his stop. My favorite character of all is the tortured old man in his North Face jacket who buries his face in his paper to ignore his smiling, yammering wife. I miss those people now. All of them. I miss them like I’m missing my crazy dog who is sitting back home at a kennel thinking I’ve abandoned her.
Did it take surgery to calm me down enough to jot random observations onto a notepad like I did when I was eighteen and on the train to New York….and not only that, feel comfortable enough with myself to publish such pointlessly sophomoric imagery based on total strangers? I couldn’t figure out what brought such high-minded bullshit into my head, and I still can’t figure it out. In order to break out of it, I stole a big fire hydrant from underneath one of the seats and carted it through the Shady Grove station. And the only reason I did it was to see if my cab driver would give me a strange look when I heaved it into the backseat. I wonder what he is going to do with it. There was no way it was going with me onto the plane on Thursday.
March 13th, 2008- 12:58AM EST:
Unfortunately, I was unable to complete a blog entry this evening, but it was due to events out of my control. Jimmy the Cross-Eyed Cripple, Spastic Petey, Incontinent Gary, Louise the Hemophiliac Stutterer…..I apologize for not being able to fulfill my “Make A Wish” obligation to you and write a story where you all had parents who actually cared enough about you to not live a life of sin and curse you with such hideous afflictions. When you grow up you will have to learn the hard way that there are people in this world who think it is “all about them”. I was dealing with one of those people for the past hour or so…they were all like “hey, I’ve got cool things to say that you can’t help but respond to”…it cost me my integrity and it cost you a momentary, yet sweet respite from the fact that you are……fucked. Hopefully I’ll catch you on the flip side…….or not. I’m traveling tomorrow and by the time I get home I’m probably not going to be in the mood to crank out anything for you. The only reason you were getting it tonight was because I was bored and didn’t have any drinking money left. When you are saying your prayers before you go to sleep (or Petey, whatever it is you do in an iron lung at night), I want you to remember……it’s your fault your parents drink. Hey, you were going to hear it from someone, so it may as well have been me. Just keep counting your blessings…if you were my kids I probably would have drowned you or sold you off for parts by now.
March 14th, 2008- 12:09PM CST:
Got home last night, and more than anything I’m wanting to catch up on all of the HowardTV episodes I’ve had to miss all week. You have no idea how serious I am about that. Guess I also need to catch one of the million reruns of the season premiere of Top Chef as well…….I wish they would rerun No Reservations from Monday night. I hear it was the first not-shitty episode in a long time, so of course I was out of town and stuck with hotel cable programming. Yes, I DO know about the invention called a DVR…..but all of that money goes to my HowardTV subscription.
Anyway, I was going to put a picture up here the other night but forgot to take my USB adapter to upload pics onto my laptop. I’m not sure about the picture quality because my desktop monitor is about to die. But this is my Kenyan brother from another mother. Other than my meal on Tuesday night, he was the high point of the trip. He’s the kind of guy I would be more than happy to go out and get alcohol-poisoned with, because he’s a smooth talker and great storyteller….even better than ME, and definitely cooler than all of my damn friends combined (Yes, ALL of you! Bow to the master!).
Then of course I guess I’m obligated to throw in the gratuitous shot of dumbass’s house….
So that’s it, a run of the mill update type of blog entry with pictures. I hope to not have to rely on that type of thing very much, but travel stifles my creativity.
Oh yeah, I’ve been noticing something weird lately…I’ve lived alone since I got home from surgery in August, and I live in a nice, quiet crime-free zone where I don’t really have to lock my doors (but I still do). Nothing is ever missing, unless it’s something that my crazy dog thinks is food, but sometimes I’ll notice that my computer and mouse are all askew and the resolution on my monitor will be reset to something huge. If it’s a poltergeist, it really needs to work on its methods. Anyway, final boring observation of the day. I’m picky about my keyboard and mouse placement.