Nov 28, 2006

Lisa, do you like stuff?

I am in DC today. I actually came down yesterday and stayed at a hotel last night, where I will also stay tonight. Staying in hotels by yourself is boring as all getout, and also slightly existentially jarring (at least for me, but then a lot of things are). I say this because when you are in a hotel room by yourself, you are the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one to witness it. No one there to see if you use all the towels, or make the coffee or not, no one to see whether you hesitate over the porn channel while surfing the cable options. It's lonely.

So anyway, here I am. I am working in the DC office for these few days to help my nice coworker catch up on a job we're doing down here. (He's the nice one who cracks his gum, but so far so good with that these days. I guess I'll need a pseudonym for him - uh, we'll use DCGuy because he only did the gum thing once or twice, so I feel bad giving him a gum-related moniker.)

I am watching a helicopter go by, and DCGuy says it's either GW or Dick, since no other helicopters have rights to fly over downtown DC airspace. Yesterday we saw Dick going home to the vice presidential mansion. I guess these guys don't exactly hop on the Metro.

Topics to explore in this posting:

1. Why does DC suck? (or not)
2. TJ and I don't have a phone relationship
3. DCGuy went to a meeting and his computer is making weird alert noises
4. Reminiscence over living here in the past
5. Had lunch with Nuge


1. DC - everyone seems to have an opinion about the place. Some people really like it. Others who may not have felt any strong emotions in the past rush to defend it when Megan disses it. Some people seriously hate it; in fact, there's a website devoted to that: why.i.hate.dc.

All I can say is that it is an odd place. I can't comment with full authority, because I've never lived here in a context where I had a community of any kind, or was in school, or had many friends. I did live here for 8 months in 1997-98, but since I was somewhat isolated by my job to having a few friends of convenience, I felt pretty out of the loop. The young-people culture here is very different than what I was used to - people didn't dress the same, there were plenty of boys in ties and girls with pearls. I saw glimpses of a cool, livable DC, but I never got into any real groove here.

2. I already knew this, but the Teej and I don't really have a phone relationship. We never have, I guess because we never conducted any of our relationship from a distance. I first noticed we didn't have a phone thing going on when he was in Seattle for the summer - we'd talk on the phone, but it seemed a little forced, like, "we are engaged, so we should murmur sweet nothings to each other over the phone before we go to bed." Yesterday, I called him from here in the evening... I was walking around in search of a burrito, and I called to say hi. Interestingly, we chatted for a bit and then were like, "Uh, well, ok love you, bye."

I'm not going to ask, "IS this NORMAL???" because who cares? But I do know that I had phone relationships with boyfriends of yore, so at first I felt like one must be able to sustain an hour-long conversation every time one talks on the phone with one. Now maybe it's nice that we have a actual space-time relationship, and we usually get to hang out, like, every day! Still, it must be on my mind a little bit if I bothered to bring it up.

3. DCGuy went to a meeting and every once in a while his computer would make a Donald Duck sound. This was jarring, but it's over now.

4. Living here in the past, I seem to walk past my former 1997 self sometimes. For example, the office here is right across from the YMCA I belonged to briefly. I used to go there, do some ellipting or rowing or whatever I did, and then ride my Huffy home to Logan Circle via Scott Circle. I remember where I used to park my bike, and how I used to go... it's a little spooky somehow.

This is probably because I had just graduated from college and had no clue what I was doing in general. I was here by circumstance, working a term job that I extended briefly out of ambivalence. I lived, among other places, in a house with three slightly older people who had distinct points in life and career vectors, and that made me feel all the more confused.

I listened to a lot of music that year, some of which Tara laughed at me for when she came to visit. For example, I loved Sublime. (I still maintain that they were hella groovy.) I also somehow wound up listening to a lot of Henry Rollins spoken-word comedy stuff, which I found hilarious at the time, and also to a lot of David Byrne. Now, when I hear David Byrne, I am transported to the room in the house on Logan Circle, with the tan carpet and random furniture and a borrowed sewing machine and nothing else but a mess of Sublime CDs and that "Speculations on Seagullism" thesis I was working on. (Come to think of it, I also associate working in DC with Joel Boardman, because I remember he was a very good email correspondent and he was working on his "metro" web project at the time, which accepted the Seagullism thing once I figured out how to scan it and do some image-mapping so it was all clickable and interactive.)

I still think that DC will never be neutral for me, and even if I had to move here and made a million friends, it would still evoke the emotion of wandering-aimless-among-neutrally-dressed-driven-types. Not to mention the physicality of the place, which I find unappealing. Every single building is exactly ten stories high, so it's a bunch of ugly cubes with retail in the bottom if you're lucky. How could it ever compare to the vertigo of New York in that respect? It can't, and I imagine it's supposed to be more humane for that, but it's instead very drone-like in my own personal architectural opinion.

5. Bright side of being here is that I got to catch up a little with E.Nuge, who is now an avid reader of this blog as of yesterday. In fact, even though we hadn't seen each other in forever, she knew almost everything already because of the blog! How convenient, right? Anyway, we had lunch (too short for that much catching up) and as always I was reminded of the unique things about her: she remembers stuff you told her a long time ago, she's hella funny, and she's an all-around good girl who I wish had decided to go to law school in Philadelphia instead of here. See you next time I'm in DC, maybe, and we can move on past 2003 and continue the updating process! xoxo


Blogger Megan opined...

Actually, I liked the city of DC a fair amount, although not as much as your rockin' Philadelphia. The Arboretum was awesome.

It is wierd to be in places for which you have only one strong association. You keep getting reminded of that girl, when normally she's just a small part of you.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Will opined...

I spent a summer in D.C. when I was in law school, eating peanut butter and jelly. In hindsight, I wish that I had spent more time exploring museums. I loved riding or running in Rock Creek Park.

I didnt make enough of an effort to see the fun things in D.C.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Megan opined...

Dubin, I just found this, and it seemed like something you would like.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

dubinsky asks:

"IS this NORMAL???"

Yes, absolutely. Nothing weird about you at all. Get over yourself.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Shut up! I am too weird, you big freak.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Oh, Megan, I looked at the beautiful revolution just briefly, and the style is a shockingly direct copy of my favorite useless scribbler David Shrigley! check out the for-real deal.

10:24 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Shrigley rip-off! It was only a matter of time.

Dubin, that girl in DC wrote some of the best letters of all time. And she made the Chelsea Clinton mix tape! She seemed very self-possessed in spite of her aimlessness. And weren't we all aimless? I remember lots of "what will I DO with my life??" crying jags in the Oakland apartment. Everything in the general vacinity of Alcatraz and Shattuck makes me feel depressed and lost; that neighborhood is my DC. (Incidentally, Josh and I really liked DC when we visited last year. But we aim low these days; anywhere is better than here.)

If it's any consolation, we lack a phone relationship, too. And we haven't maintained much in the way of e-mail or postal correspondence, either. In a way it's sad, because there's no lasting record of our romance, but I take comfort in knowing that we've spent an awful lot of time in each other's presence. Like, every day, most hours, for almost six years. Is THAT normal? Who cares. I hate the phone, anyway.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Oh, boy. You're right. The intersection of Alcatraz and Telegraph makes me want to off myself. I remember why I was a mess, but why were you? You had a nice boyfriend and a job. I had a futon, a job that caused me grave anxiety, and no point in life other than to take up space in your apartment and make your white plastic phone somehow dirty all the time. Strange how that whole time should have been fun for us, like Three's Company without Jack Tripper. But it wasn't exactly. I guess it was the time in our lives for that kind of agitation...

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

You are SOOOO normal it hurts. BTW, your mention of futons reminded me of this classic line from Tara Zucker:

"And just so you know, a futon with a schmatta comforter on top is NOT a real bed, I don't care if it IS from Mr. Calvin Klein."

Feh Shui – Authentic New York Style Décor
Oct 13 2005 by Tara Zucker

Author Harriet Levenstein recently spoke to a standing-room only crowd at Barnes & Noble, where she signed copies of The Principles of Feh Shui (or Who Decorated This House, A Blind Monkey on Drugs?). Feh Shui, a style that originated in New York, takes its name from the Yiddish word "feh," which indicates disapproval or displeasure. This decorating concept can be applied to homes, condos, and that one room shoe box on the upper east side you call an "apartment" that your mother and father worked their fingers to the bone so you could go to a nice school and meet nice boys but no, you wanted a career, which, I realize, it's 2005, and I'm glad you're having a good time in the City with your friends, but would it kill you to dust under the couch once in a while?

6:12 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

Most of my association with life in DC is about "shit or get off the pot" and those married roommates (was that on Logan Circle?) with the very large Brita who had a copy of RE:Search #13 Angry Women which made me weak in the knees. Also Tom. Who is now living very cryptically in Sudan as a German diplomat or something utterly bizarre like that. Also that you used to come visit NYC and sometimes we'd sit in bed all day reading comics and drinking coffee. I can't even picture doing that anymore. Remember the time it snowed. Shoot.

I almost didn't finish this post before I responded because it has kind of freaked me out that N. and I are not so good on the phone. I can't figure out whether it is an age thing (we're old, we can't be bothered) or a doomed thing (our whole relationship is based on false premises as demonstrated by the fact that we don't talk on the phone for hours and hours whenever we are apart) or some other thing. I have a theory, and I think AEW just maybe bolstered it a wee bit more, that it is a right one thing. Which will probably upset some other person out there who's been whispering sweet nothings every night for six months and is sure sure sure s/he's whispering to the right one. I think it is probably all of those things.

How come that little bit of web art, circa seagullism, with the drawing of the view from Amber's breakfast table isn't on dubinoglogy anyplace? It was some lyrics. I can hear them. This is killing me, trying to remember the words to that song.

I don't remember feeling aimless, I remember feeling totally full of amazing excitement about the great things in my future. Now I feel aimless.

9:57 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

Well, shit, to be honest, I feel aimless AGAIN. Grad school really derailed me and I never quite got back on track. Still, I guess it's a better kind of aimlessness. True, back then I had a boyfriend and a job and a plastic phone that needed constant care, but I was DEPRESSED and I hated everything. Some days I just wanted to explode out of my skin. I chalk it up to post-collegiate career/future path angst and general bougie discontent. Plus, my boyfriend was a little, er, unresponsive.

Since moving to LV, I realize I still have no idea what to do with myself. Thus, I have chosen to rewrite Speculations on Seagullism as Maybe Being a Mommy is the Answer. Stay tuned to learn how much E gets screwed up by me sacrificing myself to my husband's career. Crap, I really hope I don't become one of those women who "opt out" and get crazy about themed birthday parties. Still, I can't imagine any job that is better than cuddling with her while she nurses.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Most of my association with life in DC is about "shit or get off the pot" and those married roommates (was that on Logan Circle?) with the very large Brita who had a copy of RE:Search #13 Angry Women which made me weak in the knees. Also Tom.

This is really fascinating. The only thing I remember from the above paragraph is Tom. I'm trying to picture who in the Logan Circle house would have been married or had Angry Women, or which place I lived when you might have come down. I remember going up, not you coming down. Did you come down? You must have, right?

Tom is one of the few pure memories I have of DC, such an affable chap was Tom. I really liked where he lived, it was up in Mount Pleasant in a big creaky old place with some conservative hippies whose house smelled like tea. He had a sun room off the back. I remember when I went up there the first time, he was very chivalrous and took all the maroon velour cushions off the couch and put them on the floor and slept ridiculously perched on them while I got the bed. And to think, now he's a foreign diplomat with a British accent and case of malaria.

I also remember Jen Singer who exposed me to such things as "Special K" which is the stupidest drug ever conceived since doing it puts you into a paralyzed state in which you can't even eat fritos or laugh, you can only watch T.V. But she was a cool girl who appreciated the small things in life, like giving out change only in dimes and rolling out pie dough. I wonder what happened to her.

I also wonder what happened to the Crazy Catholic Kids I lived with before that.

Noel Chilton, who I subletted from for one month while she was away, went to Oaxaca to take a painting class, fell in love, got married, and now is a Mexican lady with two kids.

It's kind of fun to be old, now, because then you get to see what happens if you wait around long enough...

5:25 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Oh, and the four-panel illustration is around somewhere, I could try to dig it up.

Jealousy can make you happy

Lust will make you come alive

Greed will make you grow and prosper

You need anger to survive

5:26 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

I spent a really long time trying to find those lyrics on the internets. I couldn't remember "greed will make you grow and prosper." Suddenly I realized that, like so many other quotable lyrics, it was probably from the Blue in the Face soundtrack.

I couldn't find your drawings, though. I think N. was wondering if I'd totally lost my mind. What is funny is that until just now I'd been saying "Love will make you come alive" not "Lust" -- even though "Love" doesn't make any sense.

You moved into this place on Logan Circle for a little while. There was a couple there, he was a bike messenger or something and they had just gotten married. Or they were getting married. Instead of being all "we love each other, love love love. and so we will bring our love and bear witness together with love. Love." They were like "well, been dating a while, seemed like it was time to shit or get off the pot."

They were older than us. Probably they were like, 30 or something. Old.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

In an effort to find a transcription of some of those scenes between the songs on the soundtrack, I googled the following:

1. "no type of frame"
2. "nails, glue, and shit was on the walls"
3. "She said, 'That's ART and you can't understand that cause you aint got no cultcha.' Yo, I'm from Brooklyn, y'all, I got MAD cultcha."

I got no results.

I also do remember that couple now, but the reason I am shocked that you do is that they didn't really live there - they were the ones who I sublet from, so they left the day after I got there! I must have told you about them... you have a good memory. Must have been that line about why they got married that made it stick.

9:25 AM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

I think that we went over while they were still there, before you moved in or something. I remember meeting the wife. Maybe you were even just looking at the room? What good will it ever do me in life to remember that they had a really big Brita?

The song is called "Mi Barrio" and it is by La Casa-- neither of which makes for good googling, but even on the Luaka Bop website they say they can't print the lyrics for copyright reasons.

Speaking of which, did I copy the whole album for you or just the Danny Hoch monologue and Mi Barrio?

I think the line is "She goes like this in my face yo, 'Maybe if you was more cultured ...' and I'm like 'shit, where you from? Paris? Take your little self to France with your shit hanging on the wall. Let me tell you something. I'm from Brooklyn, yo. I got mad culture.' Shit."

I cheated, though, because I have the CD. That remains the greatest and most useful monologue ever. I have to sometimes make new friends listen to it, so that we can have some common ground for when I need to explain that "nails, glue and shit are on the wall" and therefore it is some bullshit, straight up, and it is necessary for us to leave immediately.

I think what stuck, besides for the whole "shit or get off the pot" part was that they were married back when marriage was still novel.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

1. Sublime is awesome; I don't care. And don't try to act like we didn't spend the morning of your wedding day rocking out to Sublime in the bathroom.

2. I find it interesting that Berkeley freaks you people out so much. College was the best time for me. Post-college was the worst time for me. I did all my most intense and often crushing soul searching in the first five years after college, particularly in the eight months of unemployment after college. So maybe Lake Merritt should make me want to off myself, but it doesn't. (Alhtough it does make me want to duck around corners in case my 'Tross pops up.)

3. It's hot in here.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

No, that period we're talking about IS after we graduated and after I came back from DC. That's when everything got harder, although I admit the year before graduation was no emotional picnic for me, either.

4:14 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

Amber, it has been, like, a week since you sent any baby pictures.

It is looking like California might happen in February (and/or March).

Will you start a blog full of baby pictures, or put them on flickr or something? C'mon.

Not to totally change the subject. I just want you to play in the blogosphere with us. Yes, it is a total waste of time, but it is also kind of fun.

4:36 PM  
Blogger AEW opined...

I tried to play by uploading a picture, but it proved too difficult w/out a blog. Plus, I am always typing with one hand these days (yes, E nurses THAT MUCH), so I have to pick my battles.

So I chose the photosite option! I wanted to do flickr, but the g-parents need to order prints from a know quantity, so a Shutterfly Collection it is. Details forthcoming via e-mail.

p.s., when you say CA might happen in February, do you mean LV, too?

9:24 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

Shutterfly works, too. She is adorable.

9:44 PM  

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