Don’t Be That Girl: Fall Fail

I know you can barely see her blurry image in the top right hand of this cell phone picture I snapped yesterday evening on my way home, but trust me on this: this girl in this picture is hella excited for fall.

FALL

She’s got her green striped sweater on. She’s wrestled her way into a pair of thick, dark brown tights. And she’s brought her brown knee high boots out of their long summer retirement.

She’s been buying pumpkin beer, and has already had her first Starbucks pumpkin spice latte of the season. In fact, if I could have gotten closer to her, I’m fairly certain she would have smelled like pumpkin. Or hot apple cider, of which she’s already been drinking gallons.

Her October weekends are completely booked with every OktoberFest in the greater Virginia-DC-Maryland region. She’s lurking in bushes, trying to find even one hint of a leaf changing from green to red or even orange.

She’s got her football jerseys all laid out and pressed and has been chopping wood to feed her fireplace. She’s already stopped shaving her legs, envisioning all the flannel and tweed and corduroy work pants she’ll be wearing.

This chick is mother-foilage-flipping, pumpkin-scented-pee-in-her-tights pumped about fall.

The only problem is: I snapped this picture on September 4, at 6 p.m. and the temperature was a not-so-crisp 84 degrees.

That, by the way, was the above-ground temperature. But as you can maybe discern, she’s entering a DC metro station (which explains my quick and blurry picture – I was afraid she’d get away). Fun fact: DC metro stations (though underground) are generally at least five degrees warmer than outside. Not to mention the metro train, which has probably already stopped running its air conditioning and will be a nice, crowded and toasty 110 degrees and humid.

So enjoy your fall day, dear female lumberjack. And keep working on those arm muscles for all the leaves you’ll have to rake in the coming months. I’m going to continue to wear flip flops, and drink gin and tonics, and use deodorant a little while longer.

fall excitement

Advertisements

Friday Linkage: Big Cats Find Love on Metro

  • crowdWant to get even closer to the sweaty intern swaying next to you on the packed Blue line this summer? Now there’s a dating website for DC metro riders. Giving new meaning to “weekend track work.” (I have no idea what I was insinuating there. Doesn’t really work, does it? Look! Something shiny!)

big cat

  • Speaking of metro, I saw the above advertisement on the way home the other night. Apparently, big cats are roaming the wilds of DC and disrupting public safety. Maybe I should alert them about this beastie.

Petunia Garbo

 

  • My super helpful friend Emilia (who’s killing me with her Instagrams of her vacation in Cinque Terre right now) sent me this list of shark-infested waters a couple of week’s ago, with a note: “I bet you’re in the midst of planning your next vacation. Be sure to pass this along to XFE so he can consider one of these & please his loving girlfriend.” Nice. Don’t fall off any cliffs, Emilia.

 

  • It’s only a month till our trip to Croatia and I have not started my packing matrix! Just kidding. Of course I have. And I incorporated a few tips from this packing tutorial on Refinery 29, even though I will obviously NOT be trying to live out of a carry on.

 

  • Life is full of difficult choices. But deciding, NAY, knowing when to drink beer in the shower is no longer one of them, thanks to this handy infographic. Have a great holiday weekend!
Should I Drink a Beer in the Shower?

 

I’d Rather Be Having a Beer

I know, I know. This isn’t a real post. But work and life in general have been kicking my butt and  it doesn’t appear that it’s going to let up until sometime in mid-May. Plus, it’s still freezing cold here in DC, which has put me in a very foul and non-chatty blogger mood. I am still wearing a winter coat and tights in April.  APRIL.

AND, to just heap the awfulness on the crap plate that can sometimes be one’s daily existence, it’s High Touron season here, which is just so, so aggravating (for more on this phenomenon, go here).

The other night during rush hour, I literally had to listen to a cheerful (and loud) Touron lament the fact that us DC-Northern Virginia commuters seemed so grumpy on the metro. I’m sorry, excuse me? We’re just trying to get from home to work and back again. It’s not a freaking roller coaster ride: it’s a commute. What do you look like when you’re driving to work, balancing a cup of coffee, your phone and whatever other stuff you have to schlep around all day while weaving in and out of traffic around people who may or may not know where they’re going? Are you cheerful in rush hour traffic? Are you whistling Dixie because you get to go to work? I don’t think so.

Now try doing all of that, standing up, in a moving train, in a skirt and heels, pressed up against some government bureaucrat with a body odor problem.

And then let’s just pretend for a minute that some weird stranger is sitting riiiggght next to you in your car and gabbing away two inches from your face about how uncheerful you are about the often-tardy, always-overcrowded and incorrectly-ventilated logistical device that transports you to work at a highway robbery fair of $7-plus dollars a day. Still whistling, Tammy Tourist?

Sorry. I got a bit wound up there. Better to think of something pleasant. Like beer.

Because, even though life and work are kicking my butt, at least there’s nothing preventing me from enjoying a beer. Maybe if they’d install some serve-yourself coolers in the metro cars, we’d all be much more cheerful about our commutes.

Ode to a Man on the Metro

Me: Standing in the aisle of a hurtling train

You: Comfortably ensconced in a hard plastic seat.

I had no reason to notice you in your pilling Old Navy fleece

But perhaps your Administrative-Technical-Defense-Marketing Conference 2007 lanyard weighed down with your numerous government-issued identity badges should have tipped me off…

You are a very important Metro rider.

“Metro White Guy” by Robert McClintock (click on picture for more)

We approach the Pentagon Metro stop, still moving through the Metro tunnel

Brakes have not yet been applied.

You jump up and charge me,

Informing me that you “need to get off here.”

Dear sir.

I am not trying to keep you on the Metro.

It is not my goal to keep you from your very important job,

From procuring the funds necessary to buy more cheap Old Navy fleeces.

I, like you, do not wish for you to continue occupying that hard plastic seat either.

I’d actually like to rest my weary high-heel-encased feet in said seat.

We have the same goals, you and I: to get you off the train.

We have the same wants (well, maybe not. I do not desire an Old Navy fleece),

We have the same needs. I, too, need to get to work on this Monday morning.

To think:

A week ago, I was galloping through the Spanish countryside with my lover,

Drinking delectable wines,

Eating delicious foods.

Today, I’m getting cold-blocked by a very important Metro rider.

Dear sir.

I am not trying to keep you on the Metro.

 

This poem was inspired by actual events.

Perhaps Mssr. Very Important Metro Rider should watch this catchy little PSA from the Australian Metro authorities. The song, by Australian band, The Cat Empire, details all the “Dumb Ways to Die,” including being careless while using the metro.

What is not listed as the “Dumb Ways to Die,” is aggravating another Metro rider fresh off her wonderful Spanish vacation. Dying because said Metro rider hit you over the head repeatedly with the business-end of one of her high heels would indeed be a dumb way to die.

Speaking of The Cat Empire, or actually, cats who think they’re running an empire; somebody needs to buy me this book of poems written by cats. Because, yeah. That’s a thing.

Don’t Be That Guy: Metro Edition

It’s finally summertime in Washington DC and therefore, it’s time to partake in a season ritual known as “complain about metro.” (There’s even a whole blog about it)

Don’t get me wrong….this is a sport that can be played year round. It’s just that it becomes especially strident when the town is (a) incredibly muggy and odor-producing and (b) overrun by tourists.

I have nothing inherently against tourist. I, myself, am often a tourist in strange locales. If tourists stop and ask me questions, I generally try to keep the eye-rolling to a minimal and not only answer their stupid questions, but point out the steps I took to come to that answer. For example, here’s a typical exchange I have with a tourist about 90 days of the year:

Red sweaty tourist: “Do you know if I’m on the right side of the platform?”

(Sometimes there’s even a timid “excuse me” thrown in there, which is actually appreciated, unless it’s followed by a “ma’am,” which will get you cut. Other times there’s a whole life story involved before the question, which is not appreciated. I don’t care what part of the Appalachian you came from or how many of your children you brought with you or how this is your first time riding public transportation. I’d already figured that last one out, by the way.)

Cool composed me: “Where are you going?”

RST: “Washington DC.”

CCM: “Well, if we look at the clearly marked electronic signs above our head, they indicate that trains going in this direction end at Largo Town Center. Then, if we cross reference that with the sweat-stained map you’re holding in your hand, or the identical metro maps emblazoned every two feet along the platform, or even the tall brown pillars with a little dot-by-dot list of stops serviced by this platform, we can deduct by the names of the stops that you are indeed on the correct side to go to Washington.”

RST: “When is the next train coming?”

CCM: “Well, I don’t actually control the trains with my Big City Magic, but I can refer you again to the electronic signs above our head which clearly indicates that the next train is in 3 minutes. Don’t worry. There’s no reason to be suspicious of that information. It is generally true and reliable, and the signs are located on every platform in every station on every line.”

Well, usually. These are the instances when I have to keep my smart comments to myself.

There’s a lot more I can add to this, but these tend to be the most often asked questions, although other questions about specific landmarks or locations are often thrown in, to which I have to reply that there is no metro stop called “Lincoln Memorial,” and since I don’t often travel to the memorial because I don’t work there and there isn’t really a restaurant or bar there, I can’t help them any further.

So back to my point: I don’t mind tourists. I understand that they bring money into our fair region – money that, in some magical accounting mystery, doesn’t actually lead to better metro service or lower fares. I just wish the tourists wouldn’t ride the metro when I’m trying to ride it. They can have at it between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm and again after 8 pm. Actually, let’s make that 9 pm. Sometimes Happy Hour runs long.

No, today I’d like to complain about my commute last Friday. Let me set the scene, which is easily done in about four sentences: It was a hellacious workday. My normal team of three was just down to me. I had worked harder than a preacher in Las Vegas. I just wanted to go home and have some wine.

My home metro station is serviced by the blue and yellow lines, which runs together for a little while before splitting and going two different directions. The metro station near my work is the blue line, so I take blue line trains to work and home.

But some days, especially on very bad Fridays, you get to the metro station near work and the platform is packed. Which indicates that there are delays on the metro. Probably from someone trying to commit suicide by jumping on the tracks – it actually happens a lot and seriously tests your humanity because while you know that someone has been seriously hurt and probably even killed, all you can think is “dammit, this is so freaking inconvenient.”

When there is a delay on the blue line, I have a serious calculation to do based on very little information: Do I go down and pack myself in with the rest of the herd and wait for the  blue line train, or do I resort to Plan B? Plan B involves backtracking several stops in the opposite direction I wish to go in and then switching to a yellow line train, which is (a) obviously less direct and (b) requires changing lines in the intimidatingly large and exceptionally crowded L’Enfant station (which services four different train lines and therefore has about eight platforms, plus a Virginia Rail Express, I think).

So I have to decide whether I think the time it will take to navigate the yellow line option is less time than what it will take for the metro crew to scrape a body off the train tracks and get the train moving again. Sorry, but those are the factors to the formula. No way to sugar coat it.

Unless we’re just dealing with a sick passenger (usually some heat-stroked tourist). Then, things could, hypothetically, be resolved in slightly less time. Unless, that sick passenger got sick all over the train, in which case everyone on the train will have to be off-loaded, the train will have to be taken out of service, which involves backing it to an unused platform, then adding another train to service to pick up all the offloaded passengers, etc. etc. etc.

The point is, there’s really no way to know. It’s a crap shoot. I usually find that whatever Sophie’s Choice I’ve made, I have a sneaking suspicion it was the wrong one. On Friday, I decided to go with the platform that had moving trains on it versus the one that didn’t, and went in the direction of the yellow line. (This is my station. My platform is on the right. Plan B is on the left. Which would you choose?)

Another calculated risk when riding the metro: When the doors open, you have about 3 seconds to discern whether an empty seat on a very crowded metro during rush hour is empty for a reason, ie: crazy person sitting there. But when I looked at my potential seatmate, no bells went off. I had no gut check, so I sat. (To be fair, neither the train nor station were air conditioned, so perhaps this fogged up my situational awareness ability.)

Sitting next to this guy was the other option.

It wasn’t him I should have been worried about. It was the group of about eight hooligan teenagers who were heckling him mercilessly with very loud questions like, “Oh, are we bothering you? Are we? Huh? I bet you wish we would just get off this train, huh? Oh you’re not going to talk to me? You’re just going to ignore me? Why are you so angry? We’re just all going home to party, right? What do you drink when you party? I bet you drink wine coolers! Did y’all hear what I said? I told him I bet he drinks wine coolers!”

We all heard what you said. Because you said it repeatedly and very, very loudly.

This went on for about four stops, or around 15 minutes. They made sure to beat the windows next to me (he was seated in the aisle seat) to get his attention and wish him a fond journey to his destination. By fond journey, I mean, flip him off and jeer at him.

Switching train lines, I patiently wait on another packed platform for the next yellow line train (by the way, there was a National’s game that night, so extra special times). One pulls up and there’s a mad push towards the doors. It’s not quite Tokyo style where there are little men pushing you in from the back, but as I said, I’m already hot and sweaty and not looking forward to jamming in.

But I need not worry because a woman wearing about 12 laminated work badges, some Reebok/Sketcher fake workout shoes, and the world’s largest gym bag/body duffel (unused, I’m fairly certain) appears out of nowhere and wedged her wide acid-washed jean-covered ass in front of me. She basically shoved me into the side of the train. To which I commented out loud, “Oh yes, please, you should totally go first. I didn’t realize that YOU were waiting for the train. Don’t mind me at all.”

Then, as the doors opened, she maneuvered herself in front of – I kid you not – a man in a wheelchair. A wheelchair!! To which I huffed into the back of her thinning, cotton-candy textured hair, “Oh, you’re going to cut this guy off too? Are you kidding me??”

She did indeed, cut him off too. And she seemed quite satisfied in her seat for the next two stops, while I glared at her from the aisle.

I eventually got home, quite worked up and rattled, which isn’t at all the way you want to attack a bottle of wine on a Friday night.

I’m telling you, if you hear about a shoot-up in a DC metro station, please delete this blog post. Or use it as evidence for why my actions were justified in the name of humanity.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not really much into New Year’s resolutions. (Wait, is it “New Year resolutions,” or “New Year’s resolutions?” Now I’m not sure….)

Anyway, I’m a work in progress and this project is way over schedule and budget, so making goals once a year seems a bit silly. Plus, I make (and break) goals all day, every day. For example: “I will not make eye contact with crazy people today.” Ooops. Failed the minute I entered the DC metro system.

Or, “I will not cuss at work today.” Damn. Already failed when I got to work and realized I did not have my work badge and had to call a supervisor to come escort me to my floor.

Also: (and far more common) “I will not be a whiny little wimp when my Full Time Lover for Life XFE busts my chops over some trivial little thing, such as my age or clumsiness.” Nope. Chops busted = sniveling and sensitive.

BUT, in the spirit of the New Year, I figured I’d give this whole resolutions thing a go. And, since I am a wimp, I decided to make resolutions that should be really, really easy to keep. Unless I just lose all control over myself. Which could happen. But hopefully won’t.

  • I will not break into a beauty salon and steal hair for weaves.
  • I will not snort bath salts or other toiletry products that are not intended to be snorted. Which I think might be, oh, I don’t know, ALL OF THEM.
  • I will not get eaten by sharks in Australia. Well, I can’t really guarantee that, but perhaps by just verbalizing it, it might come true?
  • I will not get into a hot tub with a weatherman carrying a dog collar. Maybe just weathermen not carrying dog collars? No, that’s not prudent either. So, to recap, no hot tubbing with weathermen.
  • I will not pick my nose and put it on the bathroom walls at work. (Notice I said “at work.” Other locations are fair game!)
  • I will not poop in other people’s yard. Nor mine, for that matter. So no yard pooping, just as a general, overall rule in life.
  • I will not eat mushrooms just growing willy nilly anywhere. I will only eat store-purchased mushrooms. I’ll even stay away from the ones at the farmer’s market, just to be completely safe.
  • I will not stab anybody in the bootie. Actually, let’s just add “I will not stab anyone anywhere.” I feel pretty good about my ability to keep that resolution.
  • I will not use a neti pot. Not that I ever have. Or would. I’m terribly squeamish about putting things up my nose. Which includes my finger, which brings us back to not picking my nose and putting it on bathroom walls. Or anywhere else.

Man, that’s a long list of stuff I can’t do. Really doesn’t leave much in the way of fun now, does it? Sheesh.  Maybe my “to do” resolution list should include “stimulate the economy by shopping far too much” (puhlease, so easy), “watch more bad reality television” (snort. AS IF.), and “subscribe to more magazines.”

If you’re having a hard time coming up with some resolutions, go check out this “resolution generator.” Some of them are pretty funny. And lame.