Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page


it is raining like a son of a bitch outside right now. my living room window faces west, and that seems to be where the wind’s coming from, and the rain is coming with it. and it is howling.

I walked down the 7-Eleven to stock up on essentials — potato chips, beer, newspapers. it’s only a block or two from here, but I got pretty soaked all the same. I hope that this will be the extent of my hurricane adventure, walking to 7-Eleven. but considering the forecast, I kind of expect to lose power. which would suck. and to think, I drove back into this horseshit on purpose.

I took, ahem, a driving tour of West Virginia this weekend. I had few plans. except I knew I was aiming for a family friend’s home south of Charleston.

this is a hike from DC. there are no straight shots from here to Charleston, and there are many hills. if you get on the interstate and hustle, you can get out there in about six hours. more like seven, though, if you drive like I do. but I’m not exactly on a time frame here for the next week or so, or at least not a terribly strict one. which, I’ll acknowledge, is all just a long way of saying “fuck the interstate.”

yes, fuck it. we’re laying down those kinds of statements here.

the plan was to stay a day or two with the family friend and then wander south, find a state park, and wander around some more. but the weather didn’t cooperate, and now here I am, back in my apartment. I’ve got the shades all the way up, and I’ve killed a pot of coffee. I’m on kung fu movie number two, and I’m listening to 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields. there are a lot of songs on this album, you’re right, but me and the rest of the east coast has the time today. and after all, the power might be out soon. hell, it probably will be. which, I’ll acknowledge, is a convoluted way of saying “I don’t need an excuse, goddamn it.”

the Magnetic Fields play the sun goes down and the world goes dancing

this album came out over a decade ago, but it is news to me. I keep on telling you, I am not hep. I have no idea what the kids like, though I’m pretty sure it was never this album, 69 Love Songs. the lyrics are too ambiguous, but spoken too clearly. this shit is weird. and I like it. even the bad songs are catchy.

I found this in a friend’s CD collection that he passed along to me. two big books of them, a walk through the partial soundtrack to his life. they ride around with me in the truck, and so me and the truck and these books drove into West Virginia.

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always collect

last week I made a bet with my boss on the outcome of contest number five in the Nationals-Cardinals series. the Nationals were at home, playing in the first postseason for a DC baseball team in decades, in an elimination game, and he said at work: “I wish I could put some money on it and make it interesting.”

or someething to that effect, I’m paraphrasing. but I said, “I’ll take that bet,” and we shook hands. naturally. you gotta shake to make it official.

now I’m not a baseball fan. though I’ve referred to baseball in my last two entries. and I’m keeping an eye on the playoffs. and I’ve got a Pittsburgh Pirates hat, a Phillies hat, a San Diego Padres hat, a White Sox hat. honest, not a baseball fan, I just like the spectacle.

but my boss, he’s a baseball fan. in fact, we went to a game a few weeks ago, maybe a month ago in early September. we drank beers, we ate hot dogs, shelled peanuts and watched Miami beat Washington. and he scored the game with a pen. and explained to the couple a few seats over how to as well. which was cool because I think scoring a baseball game is a sort of art, and I want to learn how to do that shit, but I digress.

my boss, he used to go to Senators games when they played up off of 7th Street near Howard University. this is back in the fifties and sixties, back before they moved to Texas and became the Rangers, when they and the city were mired in the middle of an entire generation of baseball mediocrity. so he has put in his time, and if he says, “I wish I could put some money on it and make it interesting,” then by god I’ll meet him halfway.

so I did and I won ten bucks when the Nationals collapsed in the top and then lost in the bottom the ninth inning. I was watching this at a bar. when it happened the bar groaned. and I sent my boss a note. it said, that loss was so brutal, boss, I don’t even know if I should collect on our bet.

he got back to me the next day. always collect, he said.

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it got really foggy out this evening, by Washington standards. so I rode my bike down to the Anacostia! hooray for evening bike rides!

I can’t speak for how feasible riding my bike down to the Anacostia would have been, say, fifteen years ago. but one of the things that sticks out about this city, I think, is how rapidly it has changed during that time. the crime rate has dropped dramatically. there have been substantial demographic shifts. there has been steady construction for years. and the result is that all of this, everything you see here, it is new.

not brand new. it’s not completely false, like the back lot of a movie studio. and I say this, despite the fact that I wasn’t here myself fifteen years ago. but from what I’ve been told — from what I’ve been told, man — it has changed drastically. and I believe it. Washington even feels new, I say … or at least the Washington I’ve been exposed to does.

now, maybe you would call this new community rootless, if you wanted to be a dick about it. and that accusation wouldn’t be untrue. but if you instead wanted to be an optimist, maybe you’d argue that the roots are still taking hold, and there will be more to this consortium of yuppies and hipsters that I swim in than just skyrocketing real estate prices, overpriced beers, organic produce, creeping gentrification. maybe it has yet to blossom.

here’s to hoping for some goddang blossoms, then.

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