An American Girl in Washington

Context and Catharsis on the Metro

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 31 October 2010

On the way in to volunteer at the DNC today (shameless plug: we need lots of help!  Go on the website and volunteer for a few hours before or on Tuesday!) I checked the balance of my Chase account while on the down escalator in Dupont Circle.  Big mistake.  Lucky as I am to have a job at Local Department Store, the sad fact is that my paycheck is not enough to survive much beyond the weekly bills.  So, after a day and a half of dinner and lunch and a rally and a bottle of wine, my available checking had dwindled to the low teens.  Like, seriously, it wouldn’t be able to drive.  I should be used to this, but it’s always a little upsetting, especially when I know I have to load my SmartTrip card at the bottom of the escalator.  So of course I started thinking, and brooding, and feeling sorry for myself, and pretty soon the tears were starting to well up in my eyes while I was being bumped and pushed and elbowed by thousands of marathon watchers.

As I rode the red line to Metro Center I started thinking about how sad my life is, how I’ll probably never find a job, how dating in this town seems to be impossible, how tired I am of being broke, and how angry I am at the Dems for losing the message and having no spine and how nauseous I am about this election.  Pushing past the crowd at Metro Center, trying to find my way to the blue line, I couldn’t help but think about how I’ll probably spend the rest of my life adding money to my SmartTrip card a few dollars at a time and eating bean soup from the bag of beans my mother sent me in one of her Costco boxes.

Waiting for the train I started to think about the winter clothes I’ll have to buy, the health insurance I don’t have, and the Indians who call me every week to ask me when I’m going to pay my credit card bill.  By the time I took hold of six inches of pole I was wondering if I could get a job dancing on one just like it.  But then we reached Smithsonian, the tourists got out, I got a seat and felt the rumble of the train under my feet.  I remembered that I’m living in DC, that I have an amazing Palace to sleep in every night, that I have great friends and am meeting more amazing people every day, that we’re going to keep the Senate and so many people are motivated to vote that maybe the House slaughter will just be more of a butchering.  I remembered that at least my job at LDS means that I am staying ahead of my bills (except for the aforementioned credit cards), that my mother is sending me beans and canned tuna, and that I have, in fact, lived most of my life with somewhere between -$38 and $15 in my bank account.

By the time I stood up at Capitol South, put on my sunglasses, and rode the escalator up into the sunlight, my spirit had been lifted and I was ready to face another day.

Never underestimate the healing power of catharsis in an underground train.

Enjoy the sunshine!

AGinDC

Reasonable people are Americans too

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 30 October 2010

Seriously people.

Reasonable people are Americans too.

That was basically the theme of today’s incredible, powerful, brilliant and ultimately cathartic rally.  Just because we’re not crying on television, screaming at the parents of dead soldiers, carrying guns to Presidential town halls and using our Second Amendment rights to bear muskets doesn’t mean we’re not Americans, and damned good ones.

As always, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert captured the zeitgeist of a nation at peril.  We’re mad as hell, but not at our President, who most of us actually think is doing a pretty damned good job, not at socialism/fascism/communism, which most of us can actually define with reasonable accuracy, and not even at Hitler, because he’s dead and not actually the current President of the United States.

No, we’re mad at the media, which, as John Stewart so brilliantly put it, “can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected, dangerous-flaming ant epidemic.”  The media takes fledgling (albeit FNC-started) fringe political parties and turns them into stars.  They only illuminate the ratings-catching stories that shame, scare, and enrage viewers, not the serious, honest, bare truth that would educate, inspire, and motivate us.  But they’re not the only ones.

Most of us are mad at Democratic Party for not having any balls.  Seriously.  Grow a pair.  And then use that pair to hire a PR company.  And then use that PR company to craft a message about the President and Congress’s serious accomplishments over the past 18 months.  And then take that newly crafted message and SPREAD IT AROUND.  On the television.  And the interwebs.  And wherever else you think people will see it that is not in my email inbox four times a day, thank you very much.  And while I’m at it, Congressmen running for office: Grow a pair and stand up for your President and your votes and the accomplishments of the last year and a half.  WTF is up with acting like you’re not proud of health care??  It’s a f*ing HUGE accomplishment!!  Own it!  And do the same with the work you did on the economy, and education, and small businesses, and lord knows what else.  Most of us don’t know because you never tell anyone about it.  Maybe if you grew a spine and bragged like politicians love to do, people would actually, I don’t know, appreciate your hard work and, you know, vote for you.

Most of the signs were mocking other rally signs in a bloodless signage war.

And lastly, we’re mad at the people who are so eager to show us that you’re mad.  A lot of us are unemployed.  Most of us are broke.  Most of us don’t like at least three things that are happening in government right now.  At least.  But the large majority of us do not feel the need to resort to hyperbole and name-calling and violence and listening to Glenn Beck.  Why do you?  We’re Americans.  We’re a team.  We’re all in this together, for better or for worse.  Why can’t you just talk to us like humans who deserve respect, and we’ll do the same with you, and then we can all sleep at night knowing that we behaved like our mothers taught us.  Is that too much to ask?

These are all of the things that were so brilliantly addressed in the rally today, if not by words than by deeds, songs, and even just seeing everyone’s hilarious signs and knowing that there are other people out there screaming the same things at MSNBC/CNN/Faux News that we are.  The best part was the awards for reasonableness, which highlighted the people we should actually be paying attention to, the ones we should really respect.  The woman from the CNBC town hall should be teaching “Town Hall Manners 101”.  She was respectful and articulate and thoughtful and was obviously thinking that she was addressing the President of the United States and that she was going to address him respectfully but was not afraid to ask him the tough questions.  He’s a smart man.  One of the smartest, in fact.  I know that’s difficult to get used to after the last eight years.  But the President can handle tough questions and challenging dialogue.  He can stand up for himself.  But he has also earned the right to be treated with respect.  I was so glad that she was being recognized for showing us all how to behave.

The spelling on the signs was impeccable.

That brings me to another point.  A sign at the rally today reminded me of one of my pet peeves.  How is it patriotic to hate your President?  How is it patriotic to bring guns to an event that the President of the country that you supposedly love so much is attending?  How is it patriotic to say that we need “Second Amendment solutions” to use against our elected officials?  I have never understood (and this was, of course, brilliantly addressed in an episode of the West Wing) how people who claim to be more patriotic than most can go around threatening the life of the man leading them.  It boggles the mind.  But I think it’s also the perfect example of the ignorance and clouded judgement that has led us to a political climate so damaging that it was necessary for two political satirists to throw a damn rally to remind people that we can disagree without calling each other Hitler.

Reasonable people everywhere

And that’s why I love Jon Stewart.  Because he saw that we needed a change, that we were angry and frustrated and just wanted someone to listen, and he gave us our chance.  And he did it with freaking Cat Stevens and Ozzy Osbourne.  Who else could pull that off?

I hope you were there, but even if you weren’t, I hope the rally today gave you pause to think about what’s really important, and that we can all be good Americans, even if we don’t watch Fox News.

God bless America!  And VOTE ON TUESDAY!

AGinDC

Drag Race!

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 26 October 2010

I love my neighborhood and tonight was just another reason why.  Dupont Circle is famous for a high heeled drag race that takes place every year and tonight was the night! After a meeting of the Smithsonian Young Benefactors Community Service Committee (of which I am now a member :-)) I met up with Rev.Dave and we headed over to 17th & P, the site of the finish line.  For the hour before the race the Queens paraded up and down the street in absolutely fabulous outfits.  Most of the girls really went all out and a lot of them were born performers.  Even with the drunken cliche straight guys and the middle-aged housewife and her daughter visiting from Tennessee annoying the hell out of us, Rev.Dave and I had a great time and we got tons of pics!  Next year, our goal is to work for the race so that we too can earn t-shirts that say “High Heeled Drag Race Volunteer”.  A girl can dream.  😉

Vegas anyone?

Apparently the rest of her uniform got lost in the jungle.

It's DC, there just had to be a patriotic drag queen

Avatar?

Why it's Chanel, dahling

Maria Von Clapp (I didn't make that up)

Some folks got political.

Christine O'Donnell was a popular choice, for obvious reasons.

This guy was just amazing.

Princess Lolly from Candyland.

Yum!

Oh! And the shoes!

After all of the draggy excitement, Rev.Dave and I went to the Front Page for a drink and discovered it was trivia night.  We weren’t interested.  A quick beer and we headed to our respective homes.  What a fabulous Tuesday.

Great job ladies!

AGinDC

Volunteer!

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 24 October 2010

The DCCC and DNC really really need volunteers to help us kick some Tea Party ass next Tuesday.  Yes, I’m biased.  Very, very, very much against witches in the Senate. Bitches, yes.  Witches, no.  So volunteer!

That is all.

AGinDC

I’m 3 years to 30!

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 21 October 2010

Yesterday was my birthday!  I love birthdays because my mother always went out of her way to make them special when I was a kid.  Now, I anticipate them for weeks, planning and plotting and even when I don’t do anything special it’s just thrilling knowing that I’m turning another year older.  I am fully aware that this will change after 40.

Last year, I celebrated my birthday in Durban, South Africa and it was amazing.  I went to tons of great clubs with my friends and had an unbelievable time.  I didn’t think I could top it this year, but I did, for three reasons:

1.  I have really great friends and have already built a pretty awesome social group here.  I had friends who called and texted right at midnight to wish me a happy birthday, Ferr took me to lunch at Pete’s Diner on the Hill, and a bunch of people came out after work to celebrate with me.  Chi Chi even drove all the way from Virginia just to spend an hour (plus she bought me Bob Dylan tickets so I am dying)!  I’m so lucky to have so many amazing people around me, not to mention my wonderful family who called and sang to me from all over.

2.  I have been dying to go to the new Buddha Bar ever since it opened and I finally got to go!  I absolutely loved it.  A lot of people told me that they didn’t like it and I could immediately see why.  It is so not DC.  Buddha Bar here feels like the ones in New York and Paris.  It’s big, lush, crazy luxurious and makes you want to throw on your highest Louboutins, your slinkiest dress and drink champagne and flirt until you’re whisked off in your limo to catch the jet to Monaco.  It’s fabulous, and DC is just not used to the over-the-top luxury that Buddha Bar brings to the table.  But they should be, because even the bathrooms are designed for sex (just visit and you’ll see what I mean), and what’s more DC than illicit sex in darkened bathrooms???  Anyways, I’m obsessed now and will be going back very, very often.  They also did an amazing job hosting the Smithsonian’s Young Benefactors Society Happy Hour, which is why I decided to go, and I am so excited to not only host future events at Buddha Bar, but to be joining YBS.

3.  This was my first birthday where the future lies wide open and unplanned before me!  The last 26 birthdays have always been in the midst of school, college, Teach For America, or law school.  This is the first time that I am a fully uncommitted and unencumbered adult out for whatever the world can throw at me.  With no job and no relationship and nothing holding me down, I have absolutely no idea what the next year will bring and no clue where I’ll be when I turn 28 and it is SO EXCITING.  I adore change and freedom and an unmarked trail and I have nothing but opportunity in front of me.  I feel like the book of my future is completely blank and all I have to do is write the page.  It’s an amazing feeling and I know that this may be the only time in my life that I feel this way, so I’m going to celebrate it with everything I have.

I had an amazing birthday and am so lucky to have the people and support around me that I do.  And I am the luckiest girl in the world to have had a birthday in DC.  The city never looked as beautiful to me as it did last night.

Here’s to many, many more DC birthdays!

AGinDC

Tortilla Coast

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 18 October 2010

Short post tonight,due to a more-gruelling-than-usual schedule at LDS (apparently we’re cranking up for the holidays.  Goody.).  Went to happy hour today at Tortilla Coast, right outside of the Capitol South station.  Yummy $6 margaritas, $3.50 Dos Equis (I wish the beer was as good as the commercials), free chips and salsa and cheap food (I had the $4 mini tacos, not bad).  Great place to hear people in suits talking about typical DC biz while getting buzzed.

Happy Monday!

AGinDC

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Can we have a MObama moment, please?

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 14 October 2010

It’s no secret that I am completely obsessed with FLOTUS.  In fact, she’s #1 on my “women-I-would-go-les-for” list, for all of the following reasons: she’s gorgeous, smart, stylish beyond belief, the mother and wife and professional that I desperately want to be one day (although, with my mouth, it’s seriously unlikely) and she’s making black folk care about healthy eating.  Love, love, love.  I also really really really want to be on Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List one day and she’s been on it so many times the committee is considering calling it the Michelle Obama List and just being done with it already.

I also adore that in the same year that we got Princess Tiana we got a black woman who Americans adore, look up to, admire, and are a little afraid of (which is why POTUS will never cheat.  MObama would cut a bitch).  We finally have a black woman other than Oprah (who is a little too unrealistic even for black folk, plus she’s not married and doesn’t have kids so there’s a whole part of the Superwoman dilemma that she just doesn’t apply to) who midwestern housewives can look at as an example rather than a mystery.  And for once when people see me, they think of her, and not video ho #46.

I also really really want daughters as cute as the WeeMichelles.  Really really really really.

Well, apparently the white men at Forbes have felt the power of MObama, because the “Most Powerful Women in the World” list came out and guess who was at #1??  Exactly.  And, amazingly enough for the 21st century, it isn’t because she’s sleeping with the President and can make him vote for nuclear proliferation if she damn well pleases.  Nope.  It’s because she took the East Wing on her own terms, made being First Lady mean something for the first time since Nancy Reagan made us (well, made somebody, I wasn’t born yet) say no to drugs, and is making fundamental changes in the way we eat, exercise, and fatten our children for the slaughter To Serve Man-style. (Isn’t that why we’re feeding them that crap?)  She’s also making fundamental changes in the way we see mothers, families, women, black folk, upper arms and print dresses.

Sigh.

It’s no mystery to me, or anyone else, why FLOTUS’s approval numbers have remained astronomically high while her husband’s are falling like the average American credit score.  For one thing, her PR people are waaaay better than his.  Maybe they should give the West Wing some lessons?  But mostly, they just have an easier subject to work with.  He’s hot, but she’s gorgeous.  He’s smart, but she’s brilliant.  He’s charming, but she’s phenomenal.  Plus, you know, he has to do the hard stuff like get people jobs and fix global warming and she gets to do the good stuff, like go on Sesame Street and make people skinny.  But isn’t that so much better though?

I’m starting a MObama fan club.  Want to join?

AGinDC

I guess this is a good thing?

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 13 October 2010

Apparently, folks in DC are generous with their time.  When I first got here I was all excited to become a mentor and I found an awesome program called Mentor’s Inc.  I called, we spoke, I was interested, I filled out the application and got the references.  But, they required a $40 application fee and being unemployed and all (and, admittedly, spending that much each week on happy hours posing as attempts at networking but that were really only veiled excuses to drink on the cheap) it took me a few weeks (read: two months) to get the cash together.  As soon as I did, I sent it in, and lo and behold!  They ran out of money and can’t pair any more people!  Aaaargh!

This is devastating on two three four levels:

1.  I was really looking forward to being a mentor and starting a volunteering gig in the city.

2.  Some lucky kid is being deprived of my mentorship.  In fact, lots of lucky kids are being deprived of good mentors.  This saddens me.  It probably saddens them too.

3.  Perhaps a little prematurely, I already added the “mentor” thing to my resume and have been sending it out!  I even put the name of the org!  Damn.  Maybe I shouldn’t have but who gets rejected from volunteering?  And having just moved here, it’s not like I have a lot I can say I’m super involved in.  One meeting does not equal “active” and everything costs something to join!  Poopity poop poop.

4.  I can’t imagine how much money it costs to just pair up two people, especially when one of those people is paying for their own application fee, but it’s sad that in these here economic times there ain’t enough money in the coffers to bring together two more.  That’s the economy, Mr. President.

Anyways, now I’m frantically searching for another mentoring/volunteering op.  Mostly because I’ve been here for more than two months now (yaay!) and a little because I need something to put on my resume/talk about at my imaginary interviews.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks for being so freakin’ generous DC.

AGinDC

Blue Skies

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 8 October 2010

After another soul-crushing shift at Local Department Store yesterday, I came home holding back the tears and too hungry to eat either the canned black beans or frozen broccoli that stock my kitchen.  I wanted to die and barely managed to send out two resumes (shitty work is a hell of a motivator) before I crashed, too tired to even watch Craig Ferguson.

This morning though, I woke up, realized I had forgotten to do the three dishes in the sink, ran downstairs to apologize to the housekeeper (yes, you read that correctly) and went back to bed.  When I woke up the second time, my first LDS paycheck was in the bank (not enough to even pay this week’s bills, much less last or next week’s), the sky was blue, and I got a phone call from my new friend ChiChi asking if I’d like Dylan tickets for my birthday.  Hell to the yes I would!!!

With my morning off to such a Bobalicious start, I decided to count my other blessings.  For instance, yesterday when I saw my paystub I noticed that I was being paid a full dollar less than I had been promised.  I talked to my manager who fought for me for a full half hour after she should have gone home and I got it!  Holla at more money and two people I just met who are already acting like good friends!  (Yes, I was momentarily dropped into a deep depression when I realized that I was celebrating that my pay had gone from $8.50 to $9.25 but then I decided that that extra $17 a week is two days of  groceries and I went with it).

Next, I counted the two Mount Holyoke alums who I’m meeting with today and next week who are trying to help me get jobs.  Thank goodness for uncommon women and alumni connections!

Next I counted The Palace, of course.

Then I counted my old and new friends in DC who are making my life here not only tolerable, but actually a lot of fun.  I also counted my unemployed friends who remind me that I’m not the only one in this predicament (special shout out to my friend, the waitressing engineer!)

Then I counted happy hour.

Twice.

Then I counted the usual, family, friends, health, gin, Three Buck Chuck, etc.

And then I went to the gym and sweated out the rest of my aggression.

And now everything is blue skies.

Have a great weekend!

AGinDC

Dickson Wine Bar

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 6 October 2010

Tonight I went to the cutest little wine bar at 903 U St.  It’s called Dickson Wine Bar and I love it.  The super small space compensates with all organic alcohol (I stuck with sparkling wine, which was delish), yummy sandwiches, salads, and cheese plates, and a very, very good-looking male wait staff.  Yum!  Some guys and I went for happy hour where the wines were $5 a glass and the IPA was $4 and we had a great time.  We got there early and by the time we left the tiny bar was packed with a great-looking crowd.  Thanks so much to @ji_hee_ya for suggesting it, I never would have known about the place without you!

If you’re looking for a cozy place to hang out with a few friends and drink and eat all organic food and alchy, this is the place to try.

Love and happy hour!

AGinDC

Dickson Wine Bar

903 U St

202.332.1779

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