Monday, February 25, 2008

Drinking Gin

I adore the Cheshire Kitty. All circles have one.

You know the type: mischievous grin, sneaky intentions, always up to something (that you desperately hope to be a part of). You kind of wish you could be her, if only for a few days. My Cheshire Kitty is a midwestern badass with a future career in criminal justice and a penchant for inappropriate sexual innuendo. She drinks SoCo and lime, beats the boys at Guitar Hero, and knows how to properly handle a gun. She's in the kind of relationship that gives me hope -- hope that not all couples are simpering idiots; hope that it is indeed possible to escape the stereotype in favor of becoming (dare I say it?) fun. She's beautiful, but she could kick your ass in a DC minute. She's absolutely delightful.

Friday night saw me and the girls out to dinner at Zaytinya, which is ridiculously delicious. And after appetizers, god-knows-how-many shared mezzes, desserts, AND booze, I don't even look at the bill, I just sign blindly. Because it's worth it, and besides -- as a starving student, it'd only whip me into a spiral of buyers' remorse, which can't be good for my overall wellbeing. The other girls in the ladies' room, Cheshire Kitty leans over the table and, in our sangria-induced haze, drops a bomb:

"He said I'm 'not safe to marry.' Last night as we were falling asleep."

Cue the girls returning to the table, as I'm about to ask what on earth that could mean; cue Cheshire Kitty's abrupt hush. And not another word about it until the next night, when I found myself being ushered off to McFadden's, the kind of tool-frequented college saloon that I abhor -- you know, a place that charges $20 for a mediocre open bar, operates a mechanical bull for drunken sorority girls in tube tops carrying Louis Vuitton, and doesn't end a single evening without at least one instance of the popped-collared and fake-ID'd masses singing "Sweet Caroline" at the top of their lungs. With their eyes closed, no less. McFadden's is, undeniably, the seventh circle of hell.

And yet there I was, slugging back generic G&Ts while Cheshire Kitty pretended not to be troubled by the fact that her boy was spending the entire night getting sloshed upstairs with his friends. I still haven't heard the full story.

It's amazing how two people can be separated by just one floor, and at the same time, seem so goddamned far apart.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Socializing with Hipsters

Flashback to February 1st of this year. Took a rare hiatus from my typical Friday-night activity of, well, sitting around, to perform a much-dreaded perfunctory social assignment.

"Should" is such an ugly word.

But it was because of this word that I found myself on a Green Line train en route to the Mad Hipster's girlfriend's (roommate's hairdresser's brother-in-law's) "Mardi Gras Margarita House Party."

Goodness! Socializing with hipsters is dizzying. And it's not for lack of trying: "Oh, I love tofu! What's that you say? No, I am not a vegan... not even a vegetarian. Bikes? I ride mine to work, sometimes... Sorry? No, it's not a fixed gear. Um, I'll pass on that can of PBR. No, I have not heard of The Obscure Pretentious Theory or whatever indie band played last week at the Black Cat..."

It was then that I caught the attention of a non-indie friend of the Mad Hipster's sweetie. Charm is a bittersweet gift.

Cut to yesterday, when even my epic reluctance could no longer stave off the inevitable awkward lunch that typically follows a sly, Facebook-fueled invitation. Ahh, Facebook. A quicker and more devastating social lubricant than tequila shots -- tastes vile, and you know you'll regret partaking, but startlingly difficult to pass up.

Cut to a disappointing Thai spot, of my regretful choosing. I discovered that the smell of curry can't spice up stilted conversation; the taste of coconut milk can't sweeten my instinctual apathy. Even the peanutty deliciousness couldn't quell the guilt at being unable to pinpoint a "good" reason for my disinterest.

Sigh. It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Falling Through

General Washington was a badass.

He was six feet and two inches of hair-powdering, hatchet-wielding, false-teeth-wearing, cherry-tree-chopping, truth-telling, country-fathering goodness. And yesterday, the (observed) 276th anniversary of the General's momentous birth, also happened to be the first paid holiday I've had in almost two years.

Even a mandatory meeting couldn't dull the high that comes with a new job that grants me federal holidays. I have my own interns, now, two of them! I have a company-issued Blackberry, for chrissakes -- I'm a badass too, General Washington! I'm coming up in the world!

But while quickstepping down into the Foggy Bottom metro station under the mild duress of a light drizzle, my gray flats slipped and gave under me, abandoning me as I tumbled down the slick escalator steps as if I was falling right through the center of the earth, to come out the other side where people walk upside down.

...But that's nonsense, of course. I just wiped away the trickle of blood quickly forming on my left ankle, muttered a soft "I'm fine" to the slew of blandly curious onlookers, and limped toward the turnstiles with Belle & Sebastian persisting through my iPod earphones. Six minutes until a Largo-bound Blue Line.

President's Day was a bust.