Monday, July 28, 2008

Welcoming Committee

An evening of firsts--

Leaving the train today, I saw a woman who lives in my building who'd I'd never seen on the train before.

As we walked down the street, we saw a beautiful little boy in a bright orange shirt. He came running towards us and I wondered who he was going to meet.

I was very surprised when he stopped in front of me, grabbed by legs, and yelled, "Hi!"

The men who were watching him stood back against a gate and smiled as I hugged him back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You'll Put Your Eye Out!
...or somebody else's.
I saw some guy on the train today with a thumb tack in his mouth/ (Pointy side out.)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Odyssey

Day before last, I had a simple plan, but as you know the best laid plans often get laid aside...Systemwide metro delays or a metaphor for life? You decide.

I got to a Metro station and just missed a train. Then I found out that trains were delayed. So I waited. And waited. Eventually a train showed up, and by now lots of people had gathered.

It didn't take long to see that the delays were still in effect. The train kept stopping for about 10 minutes at every other station. So for that time I sat underground. Every once in a while, I'd glance at someone else and we'd beam sympathy to each other and go back to waiting.

Finally, I'd decided I'd had enough. I was going to leave the subway at the next station and travel aboveground...if and when the train ever arrived at the next station.

The train teased us by started and then stopping again, but finally I got to a station where the doors remained closed for a bit. When they finally opened, I darted out as if I had been held captive.

I didn't fare better aboveground: the bus I thought would take me to my destination simply didn't show up. I'd called a friend and when she called me back she too had abandoned the original plan. She was at a restaurant one metro stop away. The bus to get there had already passed because my thought was to travel in the opposite direction.

I abandoned my first destination and walked to the restaurant. Later she dropped me off at a train station, where I saw a familiar site: tons of people gathered on the platform. Why? Because there were still delays, even on this different train line on another side of town. *sigh*

Maybe 10-20 minutes later, a train arrives (although the loudspeakers at the station spend the entire time announcing that a train was arriving any moment).

When I got home I was tired and it was dark. So I decided to take the bus from the train station. I checked the timetable and prepared to wait again.

The bus was early.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Death Be Not Proud

As a word person, I have to say that some words irk me or perhaps I should say I find the way people use some words is irksome.

Case in point: my brother and his wife like to use the word "kill" when they finish off anything.

"Can I kill this orange juice?"

"I killed the rest of the pizza."

This word is standard in journalism when it is decided that a story will not run.

I'm doing some contract work as fact checker and I sat in an editorial meeting where someone declared that a famous actress had been "killed." Though he knew perfectly well what this terminology means in a journalistic setting, one editor looked shocked for a second. For just a moment, he thought that the woman had died, when really the story about her had been stricken from the current issue of the publication.

Speaking of stricken stories...I just learned that a story I toiled over for The Washington Post was killed. It isn't a death and yet I mourn...

But some stories are resurrected and brought back to life. In their original form or in some alternative format. So hope springs eternal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Domestic Violence Hits Home (Again)

Yesterday I learned that in the wee hours, as I slept, my neighbor was being beaten within an inch of her life.

For Bianca

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The View from Cedar Hill

The other day I needed to clear my head and so I finally went to Frederick Douglass’s house (called Cedar Hill) in Anacostia. This visit has been on my to-do list since I moved to an area not too far from Cedar Hill last year.

I’ve been impressed with him since I read his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, in the seventh grade. I mean really impressed, and not just because someone told me I should be. When you read that book, you see just how much a person can do if they are determined. And you see how it is possible not to let the injustices heaped upon you stand in your way.

Across from Cedar Hill, I could hear someone yelling about not people not “cleaning up sh!t.” Douglass would be sad to see Anacostia as it is now.

I walked the grounds to think and decided not to take the tour. To be honest, I really did just want to walk around, but I couldn't tour the house even if I'd wanted to because the upcoming tour was full. As I turned the corner, I met a woman who was on the same wavelength as I was—she lives in Anacostia and remarked on how sad Douglass would be if he saw it now.

You can sit on Frederick Douglass’s porch and see a lot of the city. It is really up much higher than I imagined and the view is spectacular. So there we sat, thinking and lamenting a little.

Since my digital camera died, I couldn’t take any pictures(*sigh*). So this means I have to return. Plus, I need to see the house.

In the meantime, here’s a quote from the man himself:

“Neither we not any other people will ever be respected till we respect ourselves, and we will never respect ourselves till we have the means to live respectably.”

-Frederick Douglass

More About Cedar Hill

Friday, July 11, 2008

Potato Potahto, Tomato, Tomahto...Who Cares I'm Hungry

Before having to swat away Buzz while at Virginia Beach this past weekend, I got an interesting lesson in pronunciation.

With the dawn of the radio and television age, it seemed as if regional accents shrunk, at least a little. The difference between regional accents may not be quite as strong as it used to be, but differences still exist…

Here is a conversation between me and a friend from Manassas, VA at a restaurant:

Manassas: What's in that box?
Buffalo: Crayons

Manassas: What's in that box?
Buffalo: Crayons

(I go back to trying to open a tiny, triangular box of crayons that would rather to stay shut, thinking that if I open the box and show them to her, it will all be clear and I can get to coloring.)

Manassas: What?!
Buffalo: Crayons! CRAY-ONS!
Manassas: OH, cray-ons!

All that time what I had been saying sounded like "crans," a perfectly acceptable one-syllable word that was unintelligible to a friend from Manassas who only understood the word when it has two syllables.

P.S. For those of you who could care less about how the word was said and are more interested in the fact that I had crayons in the first place, I'll say this: Coloring is a good distraction from hunger for people of all ages. It keeps you from gnawing on your own arm or snapping at your dining companions.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Overheard in Friendship Heights

Three African women were in front of me, getting ready to cross the street.

One said, "When the white man says walk, you walk."

This gave me pause...until I remembered the white stick figure on the traffic signal.

But still...

Overheard: Congress Heights & Friendship Heights

Monday, July 07, 2008

Where There’s Smoke…

This past weekend I was in Virginia Beach where the air offered the smell of a long-lasting barbecue. Sometimes the smell reminded me of mesquite and made me a little hungry, but at other times it was just an annoying smoky smell. Somehow while I paid attention to the news of the floods in the Midwest, I’d missed the news about the North Carolina wildfires. Since VA Beach is not far from the North Carolina border, the winds had pushed the smoke toward the beach.

Along with the smoke came gnats and other annoying pests. While they did not ruin my time away by any means, they did make things interesting.

We swatted the gnats with our hands. It took more interesting maneuvers, however, to get rid of some of the annoying pests. For example fake names and a vague response in reply to a question about our plans helped get rid of “Buzz.” This pest approached me and my girlfriends promising us that there was “more than enough of him to go around” and asked which one of us was married. He even lifted up his shirt to show us the merchandise…

Friday, July 04, 2008

DIY Blog Post

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then I hope this one speaks of independence, BBQ and Fourth of July-ness. It at least says something about sunny days. Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

No Movies for You!

So I threw caution to the wind the other day and decided to attend one of those free movie screening in the middle of the day. The ones I've been to at night work out and the last one I saw in the daytime (Baby Mama) went off without a hitch. Plus, this one came with the promise of free donuts.

Well, the joke was on me because when I arrived I learned that Ytic had sent out an erroneous e-mail: the screening had actually happened the day before. Although the e-mail went out in the afternoon, AFTER the screening actually took place...Very annoying.

Not on the same level as the time I went to a theater where I'd planned to pay and no one was there to show the movie, but annoying nonetheless. I must say though, that Landmark E did a good job of making up for this infraction, while it seems Ytic could care less.

But as always, every loss comes with some gain: my fellow movie-going pilgrims were good folks and I picked up some valuable tips on jewelry-making and the local free screening scene.