daily preciousness

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

starting young

They're really starting young, these days.

I just asked two little 4-year-olds to be quiet. They were screaming and yelling, bouncing up and down the storyroom arena seating. (Those seats are like sounding boards -- when you jump on them, they make tremendous, thundering booms.)

My boss, Kimberly, walked out of her office, hands clutching her headache-ridden head. (Poor thing needs to invest in some Ibuprofin stocks, so at least she'll get some return on her investments....)

Anyway, the two rambunctious tykes are giggling up a storm, flailing about in seizures of laughter, when I walk up.

Immediately, they stop.

I ask, "How's it going, guys?"

They're fine, they reply, and their mothers tense up, visibly. "Sorry about the racket," one offers lamely. I explain that they need to keep it down a little, because people are trying to study nearby.

They comply. I offer to help them find some good books, but they've already accomplished that. One of the little boys tugs at my hand and asks, "Can I have his phone number, please?"

I am stunned.

I never asked for other boys' phone numbers until I was 18 years old. And this guy was only 4!

What confidence! What bravado!

Why couldn't I have been more like him at that age?

Monday, March 18, 2002

St. Patrick's

"Moderation is a fatal thing; nothing succeeds like excess," Oscar Wilde reminds us. I took this tenant to the next logical step and had a party... a Walk on the Wilde side, paying tribute to gay Irishmen (and women) and the people who love them.

Mostly, this entailed getting people drunk. Indeed, nothing succeeds like excess in the realm of drinking.

Andy was kind enough to provide liquid refreshment in the form of Harps (a light, sweet beer) and Guinness (a foamy, dark, yeasty one).

Snacks included Ranch curry dip with veggies, various savory snacks, chocolates, Irish cheeses with crackers and Irish Allsorts licorice candies. Very tasty.

Louisiana Jambalaya with sausage and tofu on the side was the main dish. I cooked from 3-5, making sure that I got everything done early, so I could enjoy the party. Yeah, right. You can never really relax at a party, because one's mingle consultant and goodwill ambassador duties seldom allow for much of that.

Thankfully, I had assistance. Andy did a little shopping for me. And Michael was a big help for the party, too. He even came early to lend and help set up the speaker system for my laptop.

Afro Celt Sound System has a dj/remixing applet on their CD, so I thought Michael, who has wonderful taste in electronica, might want to play with it. He and Andy (the roommate) had a little fun, but they both decided to just let the MP3s do their thing at the party. Probably a wise decision.

Michael and I also enacted an unintentional performance art piece.

You know those Spring PCS commercials where people mistake "The Captain and Teneal" or "Charro" for other words? Well, I asked Michael for some Bailey's Irish cream for some Irish coffee, but I only said "Bailey's." Well, Michael heard "bay leaves" instead.

It turned out for the best, though. We'd already used all of the whipped cream before our after dinner coffee was served. (And almost no one wanted coffee, anyway....)

Michael also dropped off some nice clothes from the Banana. I've been needing a few more shirts for work -- I only packed 5 dress shirts when I came up here -- so Michael brought a few over. That was sweet of him.

The big disappointment of the evening was that Dr. Michael didn't make it. There was a communications snafu. (Love that word -- one of my favorite military-developed etymologies: "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.")

He thought that the party was cancelled because of the water being out. (It was cut off because the owner didn't pay the bill.) I had called him and bemoaned the fact that I would have to cancel it if water wasn't restored. But I didn't clarify it completely. So he thought the event was off! What a shame. It was embarrassing.


Friday, March 15, 2002

new home

Right now, it's the tangy, sweet taste of a cranberry and orange muffin from the uptowner cafe. It's the sound of non-pretentious classical music on WETA.

But earlier this morning, it was the bumpy cobble stone street with a view of the Potomac. It was the shrieking of clouds of seagulls of the yacht club harbor. It was the tiny parking enforcement vehicle, with its three wheels and flashing red and yellow lights, the black woman inside carefully marking tires with blue chalk.

Lately, it's the sight of the cherry blossoms painting the sky pink below the Masonic Temple. Just the other day, it was where I discovered the national headquarters of the snack food association. (I grinned as I saw a rotund woman walking through their front doors. "She takes her job seriously," I remember thinking.)

Last week it was King Street, its lights all aglow, with a cheerful buzz on a Friday night below the marquis lights of the Old Town theatre. It's the farmer's market on a Saturday morning, with dowdy old biddies stooping over a pile of homegrown grapes, inspecting the fruits as if they were precious emeralds. (When no one is looking, she sneaks a bite and relishes the flood-like blast of juicy, golden fruit as it bursts between her yellow teeth.)

It's a land settled in the Archaic era, about 1000 B.C., by the first Americans. (They grew maize and squash in the rich alluvial soil here.) It's a place that Western eyes hadn't seen before Captain John Smith, on his trip up from Jamestown, Virginia.

It's Ollson's independent bookstore and coffee shop, just a block away from the water. It's the great craic (good cheer) of the Irish pubs after the St. Patrick's Parade on March 2. (On that day, it was me and my roommate, Andy, wearing green plastic firemen's hats and waving at the emergency rescue personnel in the parade.

It's the city founded by Scottish traders. It's a place with little parks with little signs that read, "owners must clean up behind their dogs."

Alexandria is all of these things. And, as of February, it is my home.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

my crack dealer

There's bad crack.

And then there's good crack. Michael is my crack dealer (where crack is just a code word for "fun").

Dupont wouldn't be Dupont without him. He's the king of the neighborhood's economic scene. He's a vocal supporter of the "beautify the fountain" foundation. He's the one who got me VIP tickets to the all-drag version of Henrick Ibsen's "A Doll's House."

He's Michael. My hyper-social water rugby advisor and wheel-thrown pottery consultant, Michael is a good guy to have on my side. And he's committed to making sure that I have an active cultural life, warmly embracing the bosom of the DC contemporary arts scene. (He's a perfect person to hang out with, since one of my New Year's resolutions was to attend at least one cultural event a month that concerned an area of the lively or visual arts about which I have no prior knowledge. It's a resolution that I've had no problem keeping. Michael is just like a dozen hypodermic syringes, all filled to the brim with a crack-like cocktail of gay urban culture. He gets me so high.)

We watched the 1930s horror classic, "The Bat Whispers" last week. You want camp? This film's got acres of it. This proto-classic of the horror film genre is stylish and high-tech. The visuals are stunning and gothic. Incredibly detailed miniature sets create a decadent and film-noire mood. After seeing this film, it didn't surprise me one bit that it was the inspiration for both the Batman comic book series, but for the recent film adaptations of the story.

Michael and I also went to the Jewish Community Center's screening of the One in Ten Gay arts organization's "Reel Affirmations" film series. There, we experienced the touching story of a Brazilian transvestite's story in Florence, Italy. This film made me want to weep out of the sheer joy that I don't have to cut off my penis to attain true happiness and self-actualization. (Not having to wear high heels and painfully tight tube tops makes me happy, as well!) I do, however, mourn the fact that I will never be as glamorous in the eurotrash category as the film's transy callgirl is. It was like Pretty Woman meets... meets... um... The Crying Game meets ... Roman Holiday meets Persilla, Queen of the Desert. But with a more nuanced performance than any of the above. (I love that word -- "nuanced." Note to self: Use the word "nuanced" at least once a day for a month, just to see if anyone notices.)

The film was called Princessa, by the way. It's worth a rent, if you see it at your local glbt video shop.

Oh -- I should mention also that afterwards, Michael treated me to a delightful meal at Cafe Luna, a popular hangout for the Circle's beautiful people. (And for us that night, too.)

Friday, March 08, 2002

H2O no

Washing dishes yesterday morning, the stream went from a gush to a trickle. I stood there, wondering what it could be.

Maybe there was work being done and the water would come back on later. I left for work, my dishes dirty.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

god's eternal truths

Just found a book that brought me great joy. Had to stop and smile. That was especially nice, considering I've worked from 11 am to 9 pm today. That's a wee bit of a long day.

The title: "Tell me the truth: God's eternal truths for families." I guess the title of the book wasn't what made me laugh, actually. It's where it was *shelved.* I thought it was in the wrong stack at first, then I saw the call number -- it was in the fiction area. Then, I realized that Yep, it *is* in the right area. God's eternal truths for families are basically fiction. How poetic is that?

The book is so 700 club that I could just vomit. After each little over-the-top section, there's a saccharine little lesson of love and hope with the words "God said it. I believe it." This is followed by a signature line for parent and child, so as to document this in a contractual agreement. What propaganda! I think Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell must have ghost-written this sucker, 'cause it's just that camp.

The gold-etched hardcover edition is too tacky for words. *Sigh*

Thank GOD for this book. It takes me back to my youthful days of making fun of religion. Ahhhhh.

It makes this Gen-Xer so happy to scoff again!

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

fire starter

I run towards the little old lady. She's about 10 feet from the front door of the library.

"Ma'am, there's a fire in the building!" I yell at her, as I hold her back from returning her books. "Please don't go in there," I tell her, motioning towards the firemen who are going inside. "We have smoke in the building. It's not safe to go inside," I explain.

The firemen are storming into the building, dressed in their big jackets and hats. They're carrying fire axes and heat-sensing video cameras. The ladder truck has deposited two firemen on the roof. The alarms are blaring, in and out of the building, and this woman wants to stroll on in to find a Harlequin Romance!

My supervisor was going to stop her, but I volunteered to do it, just so I could say that I pulled her out of a burning building. And you know what? I would do it again.

That's just the kind of guy I am.

Monday, March 04, 2002

happy Seuss day


Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!

You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.


Just an inspirational bit from my Dr. Seuss birthday party celebration, which I had March 2nd.

Friday, March 01, 2002

train car karaoke

Over and over again I tried to type up a short entry yesterday. Over and over again, I was interrupted. That is a shame, because I wanted to write about my train car karaoke experience.

Yesterday morning, I left home promptly at 7. The walk to the station was a cold one, since we had an arctic blast of a cool front. Wrapped up in my warm red fleece scarf and cap, I braved the cold Western winds. It's a short walk -- only about 5 minutes -- to the station, so I'm usually in a good mood by the time I'm there. Yesterday morning was no different. I hopped on the train while my MD player pumping cheerful, bouncy music into my head.

I was completely alone. Just me and the orange plastic seats.

The train lumbered away from the station as I stood in the middle of the car, hanging onto the cold metal bar. I could feel the chill of the metal, even though my soft cotton gloves. But the chill couldn't get to me, because I was in such a happy-go-lucky mood.

The masonic temple tower, usually a gloomy and foreboding presence on the northern horizon, was pretty cheerful today in the blue-skies and sunlight weather. It slowly faded into the background as I walked up and down the empty car.

The bouncy, bouyant music really got to me, because I had an irresistable urge to sing out loud.

So I did.

I belted out Elvis' (and Willie's) "You were always on my mind," waltzing down the aisle at 30 miles an hour.

Talk about a great way to start off the day! (:

Lunch was great that day, too. I'd made some jambalaya for Peter, who had helped me move house a few weeks ago. I had a little left over for lunch, so I chowed down on some freshly microwaved tofu jambalaya. Very tasty. The aroma was intense -- I'd doubled the amount of oregano and paprika. 'Cause I'm whack-crazy like that. Aaaah, yeah.

Before I left work, I found a great little poem by Dr. Seuss. It's about birthdays, but it's also about the simple joy of being alive.

Wanna hear it?

Okay. It goes a li'l sumthin' like this:

If we didn't have birthdays

If we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you.
If you'd never been born, well then what would you do?
If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.
Or worse than all that ... Why you might be a WASN'T.
A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't.
A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present.
But you ... You ARE YOU!And now, isn't that pleasant.
~Dr. Seuss

There, now you can see the kind of mood I was in Monday. Now isn't that pleasant?

Peace out to my peeps.