Thursday, December 29, 2011

Insight Into Where My Oblivion Comes From

Last week
Stranger: I love your ring!
Me to stranger: Thanks!
Me to my mother: I got that one when I was in Turkey last year
My mother: You were in Turkey??

This week
Me, watching a commercial about a house giveaway in Park City, UT: Oh! Park City is SO gorgeous!
My mother: You've been to Utah??


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Dating Foibles

(This was actually written last week but I'm running behind on everything due to the holidays....forgive me. And for more of my dating disasters, see DC Dating Parts 1, 2, and 3 starting here)

I know I promised a post on either boys or baboons soon. The Baboon post is still coming, but since I was hanging out with old friends and reminiscing about ridiculous dating stories this past weekend, the accounts below are fresh in my mind so I give you --


And because I'm tired this week (holiday reception crashing attending and all that) and because we all know I have an abundance of silly dating stories, I'm just going to blurt these out, stream of conscienceness style.

Incidentally, I have a friend who does professional improv and she asked to use one of my dating stories for a skit. And I have another friend who teaches college students and admitted he tells my stories to them to make them feel like IT COULD BE WORSE in their own lives.... So now I feel a sort of duty to keep sharing these mishaps, since it obviously serves a greater humanitarian purpose.....
Impressive Resume:
I once went out with a guy a few times and decided I just didn't see a future and I ended things. (note - I hated to hurt his feelings SO MUCH that I cried during our "break up." See! I don't mean to be the bad guy!) Later, he sent me a text something to the effect of "You know, I have a pretty impressive [dating] resume. But I really liked you."

Wha? Resume?? So, you wanted to point out to me that you have, and still could, date a ton of women? But yet you actually wanted a relationship with me so I should feel honored-?

Please proceed to The End Of Us, Mister. Good grief.

I love you....um, vacuum cleaner-!
I'm very expressive. And I frequently tell people "oh my gosh I LOVE you!" if they do something nice for me. Which, has never really felt awkward until I was in a new relationship last year. And I really liked this guy. And he and I both knew we both had committment issues so we were treading lightly around too much talk of feelings.

Then one day, he offered to put together the new vacuum cleaner I had just bought. And I HATE putting things together so I was VERY grateful for someone else to do this. So as I'm sitting on the couch, and he puts the last piece in place in the middle of my living room, I blurt out "I LOVE YOU"

then immediately bury my face in horror.

"I mean! I love...I didn't mean! ...waaahhh" His face registered shock and amusement and we ended up laughing about it and I thought I had convinced him that I did NOT mean LOVE, love. Cuz that would be crazy! So I thought it was fine.

...until the next day when he asked me to make sure the vacuum even worked because he "blacked out after the L bomb" and couldn't even remember if he finished putting it together.


(and I later realized he HAD put a part on upside down. I must've really scared the crap out of this guy!)

Note to self - wait until AFTER all the manual labor is over before scaring off a mate.

(The poor guy took more abuse before our relationship finally ended included having to explain to his entire family why there was a women's earring laying perfectly innocently on his couch cushion when they happened to all come over for a get together right after I left. My earring had fallen out without me knowing, but he of course thought it was on purpose and a way of "marking my territory." Sigh.
Another time, when he was introducing me to his mother, I got so nervous getting ready beforehand that I forgot to mention that I had a HOT CURLING IRON plugged into his bathroom wall. He definitly found out the hard way when he put his hand on it.
Funny enough, he isn't even the one who ended that relationship....could ya blame him if he had though??)
Hey guy
I started talking to a guy and we exchanged numbers but getting him to talk about anything was like pulling teeth so I stopped replying. He then sent a text that just said "Hey :)" every day for a week and then once a week for about a month. He then sent a "Hey" (sometimes with a smiley face, sometimes without) text once a month for six months straight.

All without ever getting a single reply from me.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Refusal Refuser
I have been known to try to end things with someone only to either end up going back out with them or have them flat out refuse to take no for an answer. I call these guys BUBs (Break Up Blockers). I had one recently that I met at a Christmas party. After he shared WAY too much about his relationship challenges and after he said, and I quote, "I'm emotionally and mentally available" I literally told him that -

I wasn't.

(at least not for him, but I left that part out)

He then continued to ask me to have coffee with him until I caved and finally gave him my number. (I mean he was really attractive - and I was kind of curious what else he'd confide in me about).

After he texted "hey, totally understand about what you said but I'd love to get coffee" I reiterated back "yes, as long as you understand, then coffee is fine." To which he replied "You're too hard on yourself. You are a fun, smart sexy catch ;) and I'd love to get coffee."

What just happened?

I wanted to reply "I didn't say I don't feel confident enough to date you I said I wasn't emotionally available to you."

I let it go. We'll see if he has the persistence of Hey guy....

And Those With Nicknames
BUB isn't the only nickname I've used for boys. My roomate and I used to always nickname different ones so we could talk in code if need be. "Puppy" earned his because of his excessive use of exclamation points and emoticons in his emails, making it seem like he was constantly jumping up and down in our conversations like an excited puppy. "Clefty" had a cleft in his chin like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (which I actually found attractive). There was Pookie, Cookie, Varkie, PG-13 Booty Call, JFK...Bashful, Doc, Dopey (ok, I lied about those). I'm like the Snow White of the D.C. dating world.

Funny enough, I just added a new one today. I ended up going from one Holiday reception to another to another place to yet another place last night. I met a nice boy at Event #2, who followed me to events #3 and #4 and then got my number to plan more dates in January. Event #2 was a Young Republicans event and Event #4 was salsa dancing at a place called Lima (who KNEW all these people spend their Monday nights dancing away until the wee hours! I finally caved and left around 1:00am like the loser. On a MONDAY.  Don't you people have jobs?!?)  Anyway, since I only know this guy's first name ("Joel"), he now  lives in my phone as:

Joel Salsa Young Republican.

Ah. The dwarf list continues!

So the nicknames are getting weirder, let's hope the stories don't. Not sure how much more I'm willing to give to humanity in this particular area.....

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Everything in D.C. is in acronyms.

Some are hideously long, like the OSLGCP (Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security) or "Slug Cup" as people say it out.

Some are funny, like one program that my friend worked with in the State Department that sounded like "wedgie" when you said it aloud. She kept fighting laughter in meetings whenever anyone would have to refer to it.

But you can't deny, acronyms are useful. It's easy to string several together and form whole sentences using very few actual words. "Did you get the MOU for CTSI to the S1 regarding EIS yet?" We do it without realizing.

So, when my friends a few years ago started feeling the familiar overwhelming urge to attend every single Christmas reception in D.C., we formed:

CPAC. (Christmas Party Action Committee)

There are four of us in CPAC, all in different jobs so we get on different "lists." So we can trade Party invites like baseball cards. "I've got a Mitt Romney fundraiser if you have a Chamber of Commerce reception!" "American Manufacturing Association for a Newseum party?" "DHS staffer's Ugly Christmas Sweater Party for that Festivus party of that guy you used to date!"

And because D.C. is all about networking and events, there are actual public lists that come out that show when and where different companies or lobbying firm are having their parties. So me and my fellow CPAC member Rebekah have been known to even crash some of those parties just to see if we can. (and also, back in the day, we'd likely crash things just to score free food. Because when you first live in D.C., you don't make enough to pay the crazy rent AND eat. So there are throngs of young adults, likely working for Congressman and powerful officials, surviving solely on free reception food and Ramen noodles. I mean, D.C. ain't all glamourous!)

But it's really amazing what you can get into just by acting like you belong there. Some of these holiday parties are open, but we've definitely attended some that weren't.

Which actually isn't new for Rebekah and I. We both have busy schedules but the thrill of getting into something new is too much for us to ignore. Even if we are already attending something else, if we see something "roped off" -- it must be ours.
Once, while out with friends on a Saturday night in Adams Morgan, D.C., we heard a house party going on down one of the side streets and decided to see how successful we could be at just crashing it. We ended up finding out the host's name was "John" and effectively bounced around from group to group acting like "oh yeah, JOHN! What a character!" until we accidentally met John himself.

Rule number one - don't blow your own cover.

Another time, when me, Rebekah and our friend Shannon happened to be hanging out at the same place a Kickball league was having a year-end party, we notice a bus outside that the league had apparently rented to take them to various places all around the city all night. We acted as though we were on one of the teams and successfully stowed away on the bus all night until we actually became good buddies with the organizers.

We were laughing it up with them at the front of the bus when they finally let us know that they were on to us but that that they enjoyed us so much we could stay.

Rule number two - if your cover is blown, just be super friendly.

Come to think of it, people probably always know we aren't supposed to be there but they humor us anyway because are we so pleased with ourselves for "breaking in" to something.  This past spring in Miami (here), Rebekah and I were with several others in our group of friends at a big dance club in South Beach. And the place was giant and gorgeous and we barely got in because of how popular it was, so we should've just been thankful to be in at all.

But there was a roped off VIP section in the middle of one of the rooms.

So of course, instantly, Rebekah gets that gleam in her eyes and she charges in. And one of the bouncers inside kicks her back out since apparently you need a wrist band to be in there.

Rule number three - find out if there are accessories involved as entry tokens and hide the part of your body on which said accessory should be.

Rebekah returns to me and our other friend. Then she goes in again - this time, stepping over a chair and over the rope.

So I can't resist anymore and I do the same.

And I motion for our other friend, as if I'm some crazy mirage beckoning her like "come oooooon! come jooooooin uuuussss!" as I melt into the "exclusive" crowd inside that roped off area. But our other friend has actual sense and refused to join. (Some people use logic and restraint. Me and Rebekah, not so much).  And for a second, Rebekah and I are so proud of ourselves, and run around in that area dodging bouncers lest they see our naked wrists. And we realize it's a bacherlorette party and nothing special is actually going on inside that area. People are just dancing and talking like they are in the rest of the club where the masses are. So we just walk out, realizing that just because something is marked "exclusive" does not necessarily make it any better.

Of course we'll forget that piece of wisdom the next time we see anything roped off.

Thus far in D.C. Christmas Party Season, we've only attended things we had actual invites to. Of course, there's still a whole other week left in December ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Should Be Writing Christmas Cards

(DISCLAIMER: the below was written last week and I've since had another delightful dating situation. But I've also been thinking about my trip to Africa several years ago so I may end up posting about that soon too. It will involve pooping baboons. You're excited now, right? So to recap, my next post here will likely either be about Boys or Baboons. Which, sometimes, really aren't that different anyway, let's be honest...)

I should be writing Christmas cards, but I feel like I'm neglecting you, internet, so I will narcissisticly write more about my life instead of spreading holiday cheer to my loved ones. You're welcome, my 10 official followers. (and all you other people from places like Bosnia and Latvia who end up here, apparently, from searching for things like "mean sharks standing in water" and "squirrel eating cable network." I'm sure you were dissapointed when my blog popped up instead of whatever the heck it was you were actually wanting, but thank you for making my readership as random as my life :)

My last week has been typical. For me. Last Saturday I attended a Christmas Parade in historic Old Town, Alexandria and of course, since this is D.C. and everyone has like 2 degrees of separation, the group I was with ended up holding at least two guys I've had dating incidents with. So, starting off great so far! Then, while we were standing at the parade, a nice man who was by himself next to me, started talking to us. And he happens to have a job I'm interested in so I started talking to him quite a bit. Then, because of my internal homing device, a coworker friend of mine - who I did not know was also at the parade - sees me and says hi and then immediately tells me "that guy I told you about is ready for you!"

Now, this guy is someone she's mentioned to me in the past and I really do want to meet him so this was good news. But for some reason "he is ready for you" made it sound like I have people planted around the city baking men for me like cookies and I'm pretty sure my new stranger friend next to me was probably thinking "this girl must be desperate..." But in the end, we finished our nice conversation and he gave me his card anyway. And hopefully I still get my Cookie Man at some point too.... in the meantime though, I met another guy who asked me out this week....

This guy and I exchanged numbers but were mostly talking over email. And I liked talking to him because he made jokes like "once you get your Masters, you should make people refer to you as Master Dana, like people put Doctor in front of their names when they get their PHDs." And since I can't get people to call me Queen Dana or Mrs. Clooney, I think Master Dana is a fairly good consolation prize. And then I asked him if he was getting his PMP (Project Management Professional -- it's a very common certification around here) because he said he was doing some type of management program. And I told him that if so, then he should just add an "i" and make himself *John Doe, PIMP. Which he also enjoyed.

So fast forward to when I was actually supposed to call him (because he had called me and of course I was doing something very important like watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta and missed his call) and his number got buried in my call list and I hadn't actually saved it so I had to go back through emails to find it again. And I was already running late on calling him because work exploded that day and I didn't get home until 10:30 pm. So I texted the number something like "Um, just got home and not sure when Pimps go to bed but feel free to call back." And I don't get a reply for a bit.

So either John Doe has gone to bed, or I just accidentally texted a complete stranger "I'm not sure what time Pimps go to bed"


Finally he did text back and asked me out for this past Thursday. And he asks me if I've ever been to this restaurant in Mclean, VA.

And I laughed.

Because once again, a guy is asking me to fight traffic and schlep further into Virginia to meet him like here. And I quickly try to cover up my laughter and just be like "ahem, cough cough, um no, sorry, don't hang out there much" (while secretly wanting to say "I try to avoid driving out to McLean in rush hour like you are proposing I do for this date lest I kill someone in road rage") but I realize that he lives in Maryland so McLean is kinda in the middle for both of us which makes more sense. Sigh. Sure! Let's meet there.

I'll just try to find some valium for the trip out there.

And the date was fine, but per usual I just couldn't feel a connection. So much so that I was more interested in staring at the late '60s model pale blue Mustang in the parking lot than I was in having a meaningful goodbye. I quickly hugged him and went to my own pale blue 2008 Mustang and drove away.

Then at a stop light, I see the other Mustang. And he's the driver.

Note to men: Always lead with "I drive a muscle car." Always.

In the end, Mustang or not, I don't think I'll be seeing this guy again. But if anyone does have a magical man-making oven, I'll take a 6'1 brunette that requires less than 10 minutes travel time. You can leave him under the tree, thanks. 

*names changed to protect the innocent.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Insight into registering for a nosey flag football team

Below is the list of choices I was forced to pick from when filling out the registration for my co-ed flag football team today:

Are you:
In a relationship
Married with Children

I have so, so many questions about the relevance of this list to my ability of playing football. For instance:
-Will I be a better wide receiver if I'm in a relationship, but not yet engaged?
-Could a person with children be a better quarterback than a person who is only married?
-Does "single" in this context mean "can't find anyone to date me?" or does dating really mean "in a relationship but also cheating"?
-And what about Widowed with Children? Or Divorced but Engaged Again? Are they not allowed to play football at all??

At the end of the day, I fear this goes to team captains just so they can know who they should or should not hit on. I'm considering writing in "Lives With Cat" just to make sure no one bothers me....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Joys Of Holiday Travel

So, I ended up having a great trip to see my family down south and surprisingly everything went smoothly…until my return trip.
Well, I take that back. I was annoyed on the flight to Tennessee because, being the cheap frugal traveller that I am, I tried to just take a carry-on and not pay $25 to check luggage.  So I’m proud of myself for remembering to do this and I get up to the ticket counter and I realize – I brought a bunch of liquid stuff. Son of a... So I have to pay the $25 and check my little bag anyway lest I throw away $25+ in shampoo, body wash contact solution, etc….
UGH. Darn you terrorists!
But whatever, that was a tiny issue and the rest of my trip was great. Until my flight back to D.C.
I was supposed to leave at 6:40 on Sunday, stop in Detroit, then land in D.C. around 11pm. My parents and niece dropped me off and as I waved at them walking through security, I wait for my bags to come through the Xray machines. And I wait. And wait. And finally the TSA agent asks if I have candles. I do – like four of them in two different bags.  They are Christmas gifts.  Are we not supposed to have candles either now??
Ugh! Terrorists!
The TSA agent explains I AM allowed to carry candles, but they have to run some swab thingy over them and send them BACK through xray. And by the time they finally finish this process, I have to RUN to my gate to catch my plane.
I frantically ask the guy at the counter about getting on the flight and I’m told: it’s three hours late. And that it will only get me to Detroit tonight. Forget about getting all the way to D.C.
But, they’ll pay for a hotel. In Detroit. Fine. Mom,  Dad, Niece? I know you want to come back in and get me and take me to have coffee for three hours somewhere!
So we do that, and I have to go BACK through security, explaining again that yes, I have scary candles in both my bags, blah blah.
I get to Detroit and am exhausted. And as I stand in line to check in at the hotel, I let my bag fall to the ground and hear something hit –
After all that, I nearly break the darn things on the hotel floor!

Which reminded me of a ridiculous incident back when I was on an overseas trip during college with my friend Laura. We were souvenir hunting in Scotland and what did we decide would be a fantastic souvenir to drag home?
I'm not even kidding. We really did. She and I both had porcelin dolls given to us as we were growing up and we spotted this little boy doll in a shop called "The Piper" and he was wearing all the traditional Scotish gear and something broke in our heads and we honestly thought - we should buy that to remind us of Scotland! And drag it back to our hotel! And then pack it in a suitcase to go to a new continent!
We couldn't have found something more fragile if we tried. Stupidest idea ever. But after running around all day, getting to this store right as it was closing and BEGGING the owner to let us in, we bought those ridiculous dolls. As we walked back to our hotel - far away - Laura and I were swinging our bags when - THWAP! - our dolls crashed into each other. Both of stopped dead in our tracks, afraid to look. We finally found that the dolls were still in tact and we burst out laughing realizing we TOTALLY DESERVED THAT for buying something basically made of an EGG SHELL to travel home with. I've bought Souvenir Spoons ever since....
The candles ended up being fine and I get to my room and realize - I have nothing to wear to bed and no toiletry items…since I had to check my bag with all my liquids.

Dang it, terrorists!

Fine. Skin to the wind! I’m tired and don’t care what I’m sleeping in anymore! But I do feel gross from travelling and have no face wash.
Dilemma: Do I sleep in my makeup and risk whatever that would do to my skin? Or do I wash my face in hotel soap, with no follow-on moisturizer, and risk getting wrinkled by morning. I go with wrinkles and move on to the next problem:
Contact lens storage!
Thankfully, I have “gas permeable” (AKA basically glass contact lenses…I’m blind as a bat, don’t ask) lenses that don’t have to be in solution. So I grab two drinking cups from the sink – one for Left eye and one for Right, and start to take out my first lens.
And promptly drop it on the floor. On the DIRTY HOTEL FLOOR. And I have NO CONTACT CLEANER.
Grrrr! Now I may have wrinkles AND an eye infection.
I think about my NEXT problem – teeth.
I look around and see – bar soap. And one bottle of shampoo.
I begin to wonder how bad it could really be to have your mouth washed out with soap …when I call the front desk and thankfully they stock toothpaste I can get in the morning. I can just use my finger if need be. Fine. Going to bed.
And at some point I have the water running and I go to turn it off-
And it won’t turn off.
The cold side will, but the hot side just keeps on running!
Neat! I’ll be sleeping with no clothes, the skin on my face drying up, my teeth rotting and water running all night! Thanks Delta airlines!
I wiggle the handle multiple times and finally FORCE it all the way to the Left and it stops.
Ok! Now we are ready to get…..3 whole hours of sleep before having to wake up for my next flight.
I get up – get the water stuck on again, throw on the same clothes as yesterday, inform the TSA agents that I am, in fact, smuggling Candles, and finally make it back to D.C. in time to work and then sit in grad school class. ...And then stay after class for a group project. Longest. Day. Ever.
And to think I actually flew to Tennessee this time as a “treat” to myself to make the trip easier. From now on, I’m just driving the dang 8 hours and holding every bottle of liquid I own on my lap, just because I can.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top Ten Ways I Will Have Culture Shock In Tennessee Over Thanksgiving

10. Dinner does not cost as much as a car payment
9. People at cash registers are actually nice to me
8. People have houses. With yards.  And driveways.
7. Everyone roots for the same sports teams
6. Everyone has the same accent
 5. My social plans will not be altered by protests, motorcades, or security threats
4. There are parking lots. With multiple spaces. For free. And I can park my car in any of them. At any time of the day.
3. People will not honk at me if I hesitate at a green light (ha! Like I ever do that, but still…)
2. I will at no point during the week be wearing a suit or ID badge
1. Big. Trucks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Aaand We Are Back To Gut Instincts

You'll be happy to know, I once again went against my intuition and agreed to meet up with a guy for coffee this week. And once again we can add to the volumes of Bad Dana Dates. This one's short, but still amusing so I figured I'd share.

I wasn't initially excited about this guy. I got an "uptight" vibe off him. But, once again, I told myself to give him a chance. Besides, he's a teacher out in Virginia so:

A. He at least won't be the typical Tool that is a DC Politico.
B. One of my exes - one of the few guys I've actually really fallen for (and the Old Mark in the Mark Scenario here)- was also a teacher in Virginia so I take that as a good sign.
And then I quickly realize I should stop talking myself into guys.

His suggestion for our meet up? Starbucks. After work. On a week day. Which is fine since we are just getting to know each other and that means we won't be stuck through an entire meal together if things never get interesting. But he chooses a Starbucks in an underground mall in a part of northern VA that few people hang out in. Have I mentioned I get easily confused in anything underground? Parking garages, malls, they are all labrynths to me. So I'm already anxious but I find it fairly quickly.

Then he arrives.

So I start to walk up to the counter and he says: "Oh, I'm not going to get anything because I just ate dinner and I'm full. Plus I already had Starbucks today."

Um... I already had Starbucks today too, buddy, but don't you think we should order something since we are here? And not sure if you remember this, but you are the one who picked the place.

Fine. So I'm like "ok, well I'll get something."

And I do.

And I pay.

He doesn't even offer to pay. Even though he asked me out. And chose Starbucks. Then indirectly forced me to buy something since he was not going to.

So we end up having small talk for like an hour. Which included him whining about the fact that D.C. drivers are too aggressive (to which I proudly announced that I'm one of those aggressive drivers), then we moved on to other topics- like the hike I was planning to do that weekend. He says he has done that hike - and wasn't a fan.


He says he doesn't enjoy scrambling over rocks (which, incidentally, is the part of hikes I enjoy most. I mean, come on. It's like a giant, natural jungle gym! What's not to like?!) and he warns me there's a part where you have to leap from one set of rocks to another, over a drop that would kill you if you misstepped.

Hmm. I've heard a lot of people have hiked this. I assume I would have heard by now that there is a CHASM OF DEATH involved.

But still, now he has me a bit nervous as we end our little chat and go our separate ways. So not only did this guy invite me on an underground date like we are a pair of Ninja Turtles, and made me pay for coffee I didn't need, but now he's given me anxiety about my hike and causes me to foolishly announce to my fellow hikers that we will be leaping over certain death at some point on Saturday.

Then I wait through our FIVE HOUR HIKE for this scary leap -- and it never came.

Done with him.

The next time someone encourages me to "just give a date a chance," I'm just going to yell "DEATH CHASM!" and run away....


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Can Someone Turn That Reticular Activating System Down, Please?

I’ve been asked recently to blog more about my ridiculous dating life. And unfortunately (?) I haven’t had many crazy incidents recently on dates themselves but instead, I’ve been uncannily reminded that I apparently should be in a relationship. Don't get me wrong, I’m absolutely a romantic at heart, probably to a fault. I grew up believing the movies about love that makes people go to the ends of the earth for each other and I just assumed eventually that just happens -? In the meantime, though, I had things to do! There are OTHER COUNTRIES out there people, I needed to touch them. And what is all this STUFF to learn about? And OUTSIDE! There are so many things OUTSIDE!
In other words – I was never that girl who sat around pining away for some guy to “complete” me. But that’s not to say I didn’t want someone, I just wasn’t obsessed with it and wasn’t going to settle for someone I didn’t have a real connection with. (Actually, I physically can’t settle anyway. I’ve tried. I dated a guy twice many years ago because he was so darn nice and I thought I should date him …. I ended up physically repulsed by the end of our relationship. My body actually REJECTS affection if my heart isn’t interested. Neat, huh?)

And not to say I haven't fallen for people, it just doesn't happen often. My heart is extremely picky and even when my brain finds someone "perfect on paper" for me, my heart is usually like: eh, not in the mood, sorry!
Anyway, that was all fine until recently when the universe conspired to forcibly "turn my light on."

(Some of my friends believe people - particularly men - get to a point in life when their "light comes on" and they just decide it's time to get married. Then they go out and find someone to do that with. Boom. Done.)
Which brings me to The Reticular Activating System. My pastor, Mark Batterson  -who is a voracious reader and geeks out on all sorts of topics during his sermons, which I love - was the first to introduce me to this term. Among many other things, it’s basically the part of your brain that puts things into categories and tells you what to pay attention to. It’s what makes you all of a sudden notice how many other people on the road are driving the car you just bought.

Lately, most unfortunately, mine has been “activated” around Pairing Up. It's gotten to the point of being downright humorous.  I feel like all of a sudden, every song on the radio is about love. All the people I pass on the sidewalk are holding hands. During my trail runs, I’ll look over and see that all the ducks are in pairs. Or, things happen like a few weeks ago, when I was with TWO DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE at TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE EVENTS and no joke, within a span of a couple hours, this scene played out:

One Person, to an entire circle of multiple people of which I’m a part: Is everyone here single?
Then, specifically only to me: Dana, are you?
....Couple hours later, in a different setting:
One Person, to an entire circle of multiple people of which I’m a part: Is everyone here single?
Then, specifically only to me: Dana, are you?
What tha?
Then, this morning, I’m simply getting a parking pass for my garage at work. And the lady goes through the whole spiel and is writing down what spot I get and she looks up and says “So this is for a Single Driver, correct?”
Me: *Face Palm*
After countless wedding invites and facebook posts about marriage, I feel like I'm being punked. I'm warily eyeing my desk like "those pens weren't lying in a pair yesterday!...who is doing this?!" And perhaps I'm noticing all these things all of a sudden because my light is supposed to be on and I've been too oblivious to notice before. I assume if my soul mate is out there somewhere, knowing me, I'll either trip into him or spill coffee on him so I'll find out then. In the meantime though, I'm sure I'll have more adventures in DC Dating like here and I'd like to get back to having my reticular activating system only notice things like Steve Madden shoes or V8 engines, thank you very much. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Insight into being an Evangelical at a Catholic Wedding

Me to the girl beside me: "Am I allowed to take communion here, or no?"
Her: "Not if you aren't Catholic, no."
Me: "Ah, I'm never sure what to do since I'd normally take communion...."
Her: "You can go ask for a blessing. If you cross your arms like this."
Me: "I can do that if I'm not Catholic?"
Her: "God will still bless you! .....I think."
Me: "Ha! ...Oh." *Slinks down in Pew*

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Funny, I don't remember asking for patience....

Often people in Christian circles joke that you never ask God for more patience because it seems like God answers prayer by giving you an opportunity to practice something, rather than just, like, cosmically Zapping! you with some characteristic.

This week, I was given opportunities for patience about 127 times too many.

Let's just discuss Thursday.

I get up and pick out clothes, ever careful not to lay down anything that might trigger an "incident" from my cat Chloe.

Back story: I was fortunate enough to work from home quite a bit this year before starting my current project. When I went back to a regular schedule of being out of my house the majority of time, Chloe expressed her displeasure by peeing on anything I left on the floor. Or, back of the chair for that matter. Dramatic and passive-agressive: she and I are meant for each other.

So then, I forget to grab my badge for work and didn't realize that until I was already in gridlock traffic. The badge grants me access in and out of my office so I knew I'd need to rely on the girl that sits at the front desk to continually open the door for me all day. I get to the door -

and she's not at the desk.

And there is a visitor inside the door waiting on the couch so I knock and peer through the window, but he is clearly a Rules-Following type of guy and he looks at me sheepishly and gives me a "I am not allowed to move from my spot, ma'am" apologetic look and peers anxiously around for a staffer to open the door.


So I finally get in and get settled in my desk --

and our internet goes down. No email, no access to our shared file folders, no access to the world wide web. Basically paralyzing us work-wise. So I try to at least print a document for a meeting I have later. And I hit print, walk the quarter mile to the printer (seriously, I'm getting shin splints in this building, it's so spread out), and I get to the room where the printer is

WHICH, by the way, is labelled: REPRODUCTION. Not copy room.  Not Document Mass Production Room - simply: Reproduction. Which instantly conjures up images of those charts of the female and male bodies when your teachers tried to explain sex education without turning red when you were 11....
Anyway, I walk in to the room where babies are made the copy room and see that the printer not only isn't printing - but it's sitting there with it's DOORS OPEN looking like a complete mess with no one around that appears to be fixing it. I attempt to just close the door - and it won't even close.

Lovely! No computer, no print outs. Fine. I'll just go to my meeting. Then go get lunch.

So I get down to the Potbelly's that I typically eat at - and the line is longer than I've ever seen it. Ugh.

I finally get my sandwich and pass the McDonald's on my hike back to my office (mind you, this is all in the same building as my office. Seriously, I need a segway or roller blades or something to survive here) and I think - I deserve a mocha. So I wait in ANOTHER line, order my drink, and take my place against the wall while I wait for my order to by yelled out amongst all the others.

And I wait.

And I wait......

For. A. DRINK.

So finally I get the cashier's attention like, um, ...--Mocha much? And she goes:

"Oh, you get THOSE over at that OTHER counter"

Ah. I should've just known that I suppose! Or maybe I need to start asking at every register I'm at, "I'm sorry, do you want me to wait here for the food I just paid you for or is there some satellite location where my particular order might be arriving at?"

So I walk over to the other counter - and no one is there. And I see a lady refilling napkin holders nearby so I ask her where this special place is at which Only The Mochas are to be picked up. And she lazily glances up at a screen - WHICH HAS HAD MY ORDER ON IT THE WHOLE TIME - and she mumbles, "Here".


So here's where I definitely am not so much learning patience as I become Exhibit A for How NOT To Handle Patience-Testing Situations. So there is some eye-rolling, I may have even complained aloud a little. And it takes her forever to finally walk around the counter, but I finally get my drink and head back up to my office.

And the girl isn't at the front desk again.


So now I'm left sadly clutching my food and mocha, until another person gets off the elevator and feels sorry for me and lets me in.

Then I have a "challenging situation" with someone who reports to me and I end up leaving work earlier than I intended, just so I can go run off stress. And it's raining, which makes my chosen path so full of puddles I keep having to stop and prance around them, breaking up my destressing therapy.

I'm seriously scared to ever see the day I actually DO pray for patience.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One Of My Best/Worst Stories Ever

I've debated whether or not to share this one here because it involves some TMI, but, having recently shared this with friends and laughing hysterically all over again about it, I figured - what the heck. Enjoy, Internet!

My old Couch Dweller (described here) Brian was in town last week (he now lives in NYC - I will hide my jealousy) so we had brunch with other friends and Brian described an event he had with a gym locker that morning. Which led to me coming clean about my own gym locker incident in college-an incident I wouldn't even speak of for awhile afterwards because I was so mortified. (I now think it's hilarious and hope the details don't turn anyone against me).

They built a gorgeous new YMCA near my college in Small Town, Tennessee and they gave us college students a discounted membership - so everyone went there. I had just arrived one afternoon and gotten changed in the locker room, when I went to use the restroom.

Here's where the TMI kicks in.

So, since girls can't "point and shoot" like boys, and since toilet seats are germy, we sometimes have to ...hover. And something went terribly wrong that day with the mechanics of that undertaking and I stood up to realized - the back of my pants were wet. And not just a little bit.

So I'm embarrassed that I've basically proven that I need a diaper IN A BATHROOM STALL and plan to rush right back to my locker, change back into my school clothes, and go home. And I get back to my locker -


In the TWO MINUTES I was in a stall, someone had managed to get confused and think my locker was theirs and put their lock on it. And walk away.

I was dumbfounded. HOW ON EARTH could this possibly happen and why couldn't I find anyone around to help me?

And this was so traumatic that I've blocked out the details of what I did next - which was likely hop around in a panic or back up under a hand dryer - in any case, I remember being alone in the locker room for a while before finally making a run for it to the front desk and having the maintenance guy come charging back with a large pair of bolt cutters.

I grabbed my clothes, changed, and ran to my car, horrified.

(Then, a couple years later at another gym, I got back to my locker after a workout and, once again, saw a lock on it that wasn't mine. Without hesitation I went and asked the front desk to cut it off. Then, after they opened the locker -- it had someone else's clothes inside. I had gotten confused and had actually put my clothes in a different locker. HA! I blamed it on my traumatic incident years before....)

In any case, this story is now one of my favorites and also the reason why when so many, many unbelievable things occur in my daily life, I can simply nod and think - of course that just happened to me. Why wouldn't it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dana Summit-Plannernicola

I met my friend Ryan years ago when I was a political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security and he was an intern there. We got along right away when Ryan was tasked to collect staffers' photos, and then began emailing me my OWN photo with word bubbles, as if I was actually saying whatever stupid thing he wrote in the email. We also bonded over the fact that we both had a deep appreciation for the name of the intern coordinator:

Jane* Internicola.

(*Jane is not her actual first name, but that WAS her actual last name)

The INTERN coordinator had INTERN - in her last name.

Ryan and I loved this and quickly began using everyone's titles as their new last name. "Joe Special Assistanticola", "Mary Advisoricola",... you get the idea.  I became Dana Policy Analysticola.

Fast forward to my current project where I'm managing the planning for a summit early next year- hence, my new name. But that's not half as bad as some of the other names I've had the privilege of being associated with:

(And I apologize in advance if anyone reading this has any of these names or knows these people. I'm sure these people are very pleasant and there are plenty of things they can make fun of me for in return if they'd like -- just read this blog for several examples...)
1. Dick Beard: this was someone's name associated with a job I had years ago and because I may have giggled a bit the first time I heard it, EVERY TIME he was mentioned in a meeting after that, EVERY HEAD around the boardroom table would swivel expectantly towards me, at which I'd giggle and turn red all over again.

2. Neil McNeal: I participated in a government exercise with this guy and could not hide my amusement at his name tag. He explained that, sadly, that really was his name. Then he shook his head and said something about his parents....

3. Dick Cashdollar. I'm not kidding.

and the latest:

4. Jane* Poos. Yep.

Now, I'm all about a last name that is descriptive (such as Summit-Plannernicola for example) so perhaps if you are a painter, you could be: Mary Paints. Or if you are a singer: John Sings.

But Jane ....Poos? That's just too much information I think.

.....at least add a 'nicola on the end.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I Love Races

Thankfully, I finished the Army 10-Miler on Sunday without falling. And I was reminded once again why I love races --here's just a few reasons:

-I was passed by a man singing loudly along to his ipod, "DON'T you...forget about me...."

-I was passed by people wearing shirts saying things like - "Does this shirt make my butt look fast?...."

-I was handed water by soldiers announcing they have "Sam Adams here!"'and balancing cups of gatorade on the bill of each other's caps

-I passed a volunteer yelling "I'd go to the next set of port-a-potties, these ones are nasty!"

-I had people around me cheer for the one female who headed into the trees to pee with all the men (lucky men ...the world is your bathroom!!)

-I continally passed perfect strangers cheering me on

-I slapped hands with an amputee also completing the race

-I passed a father and his little girl standing out on the street, handing out marshmellows to fuel tired runners

-I saw two different couples in front of me during the last mile join hands to spur each other to finish

-I followed a man the whole time and the back of his shirt said "Death waits in the darkness" ...which is nice and motivating when you are trying not to pass out....

-I heard a race official at the finish line yelling "There's water in the hoo-hah!"

Excuse me??
(I finally realized there were bottles of water in the "Hooah" ...which is an Army battle cry, and also the name of a race tent. Ah.)
-And finally, I realized several feet after the finish -- that I was still running. So now there is yet another funny official race photo of me out there. (There's even video this time, which shows everyone else slowing to a walk after the finish (like normal people), and me continuing to trot along, completely oblivious. Classic.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

THIS week....

More Murphy's Law time!

I don't have much time to post lately, but this week - particularly today - has held many more of those "what's with today, today?" moments that I thought I'd share.

1. A week ago, I was offered someone's race slot in the annual Army 10-Miler race in D.C.
-The person I'm "being" in the race...is a male Army captain. Pretty sure he will be horrified by "his" finish time.
-I wasn't exactly "training" for a 10-miler lately. The race is tomorrow.
So I tried to cram in some "training" this week where I could, which ended up being me trying to squeeze in a quick run after work before a friend event on Wednesday night. About half a mile from my house --

I fell.

Thankfully, it was already dark out but I fell right beside traffic so I'm SURE I made someone's day with that hilarity. I'd love to blame it on the darkness, or the sidewalk, but I literally just didn't pick my foot up enough, hit the end of my shoe, and pitched forward. I took at LEAST two more steps, no joke, trying to slow down enough to lessen impact -- but it wasn't enough. After I finally hit the pavement, I jumped back up and looked at my hand -- Bleeding. Everywhere. I skinned my other hand a tiny bit, and my leg was stinging but I didn't even LOOK at it until I got to my place. I just started running again, smiling when I came across another runner like "don't mind me! Just running...and bleeding..."


Later, I had my skinned leg propped up and ice under my...bruise (which wasn't so much on my leg as..right under my butt/on my hip.) while I was watching Sex and The City and eating Junior Mints and when I got up later -- I realized a stray Junior Mint had become trapped under my ice pack (aka -- the bag of frozen edemame I found in my freezer) and was flattened on my chair.

Now I was in pain, had a frozen rear-end, and chocolate-covered furniture. Sigh. Sigh.

2. TODAY. So besides being sore from my fall, I also came down with either a cold or allergies - either way, I feel like crap a little. So I was trying to get more sleep and was excited to sleep in today - when my phone rings.


it is Saturday. I am sick. And I keep rolling over on some part of my body that is either scraped or bruised. Who!? Is It?!!

It was the guy who's race bib I'm taking. The plan was for him to pick the race packet up and give it to me. The plan had changed. I now needed to pick it up with a copy of his ID. So I'm like - no problem, the pickup place is super close to my house at a hotel in Arlington.


It used to be there. Now it's in DC. Ah, great.

So now I'm running out of time, because after the phone call, I ended up being awake for a while, but then falling back asleep later --

until 1pm.

And I'm meeting friends at 3:30 to go see a Mixed Martial Arts fight (don't ask).

And I have homework due by 6pm.

So I ended up rushing around to everything, get my packet, barely get my homework in, but all is well. Until I go check on a friend's house for her and decide that's a perfect time to get the thai food I've been craving all week.


I call in an order to the thai place by my friend's house, and I get down there - and there's a STREET. FESTIVAL. I can't even get near the Thai place. But I've already ordered. So I attempt to park in a nearby garage --


There are so many cars from the street festival, that I get stuck IN the garage and can't even get turned around just to get back out, I end up having to wait forever, and I finally call the thai place in a panic like "ABORT MY ORDER! I REPEAT! ABORT!!"

So now I'm tired, annoyed, and still Pad Thai-less. So I call to see if that place delivers.

They don't.

I call another place. They deliver --but not to my apartment.

I call another. They deliver, to my apartment -- but I have to order $20 or more.

Somewhere there is a voodoo doll of me and the person is only sticking pins into my stomach. Particularly, the part of my stomach that is craving Pad Thai.

I call FIVE DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS and finally settle for a chinese place - who happen to have Pad Thai on their menu anyway - and now I'm about to go to bed so I can hopefully wake up and get to my race on time.

Hopefully, Tomorrow will be nicer to me.


Friday, October 7, 2011

A Little Insight Into My Family

Me: I'm getting Lebanese for dinner, you wouldn't like it.
My Mom: Why not? I like Japanese and stuff.
Me: it's not like Japenese at all.
Mom: What's it like?
Me: Well, I'm getting an eggplant dish...
Mom: EW.
Me: ...with yogurt, and pomegranite seeds, and pieces of pita chips...
Mom: I'm about to throw up my popcorn.
Me: I told you so.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Office Fun

So, besides grad school, being a mentor, working with a charity, nearly running over bible study members and trying to have some sort of social life, I’ve also been working simultaneously for TWO clients. This is one of the joys of consulting – the fine balance of staying 100% “billable” on projects. The problem is, it’s tough to make the stars align so that when one project ends, the next one starts. So you end up in the situation I was in recently where you try to work for two at the same time for a few days. It’s real fun and not confusing at all, especially when the subject matter of both projects are completely different….sigh.

So yes, I’m a little discombobulated. To the point where someone on my new client site handed me the almighty Key To The Ladies’ Bathroom – and I promptly lost it. This is a problem of mine - if I’m distracted and there’s something in my hand – I’ll just drop it. Leave it somewhere. Throw it away – whatever. It’s like I’m only marginally aware something’s in my hand, my brain just knows something is annoying me so it makes my hands get rid of it. This makes me very nervous for whenever I have kids….

So obviously changing projects/clients/ job sites all the time involves learning curves around  little things, like – where do I park? What new security access restrictions are there? Can I use the stairs?

THAT question is important. Let me know tell you why.

I have a fear of elevators. I do. I know it’s silly and irrational but I can just picture myself getting trapped in one all weekend or falling to my death in one. So I’ll go out of my way to take the stairs.


In many government buildings, they have stairs – but you aren’t supposed to use them. Something to do with security, who knows, but it’s not consistent so you never know if you can or can not use them.

So at a project last year, I went out for coffee. (little fact about me- Starbucks is like my Siren Song. I've actually gotten in trouble numerous times because I feel unavoidably drawn to Starbucks. I’ve nearly missed planes, been late to countless meetings, and got yelled at on an Advance job for the Secretary of Homeland Security because I refused to NOT have Starbucks in hand. Clearly, I need some sort of espresso patch or something...). And to leave the building, I took the stairs, and I get down like 5 flights...

And the door won’t open.


And I realize that the stairs are only supposed to be used in emergencies and while you can get IN the doors to the stairwell, you can’t actually get OUT of any of them normally. So I try calling my coworker from my cell.

She doesn’t answer.

So I’m trying not to panic (also – this has SO happened to me BEFORE in a mall somewhere in middle America while on a work trip. I ended up having to bang on the door and yell until some bewildered passerby opened the door to find me rushing out panicked, blinking in a daze trying to figure out where the heck I was. In other words – I should know better) and I finally see –

An emergency exit.

So I now have a choice. Live forever in a stairwell. Hope for a fire that will cause security to unlock the doors for people to escape... then hope I don't get trampled in said escape. Or, barrel my way through the emergency exit, likely setting off an embarrassing alarm alerting everyone that *I* am the idiot who can’t just take the elevator like a normal person.

I choose that. So I brace myself, hit the door, and run as quickly as I can, wating for an alarm. But nothing sounds. I’m saved! But wait – Where am I?!

Apparently, the exit dumps you literally into a back alley behind our building – incidentally, the ally that the window from my cube looks drearily down on. So I stumble my way onto the main street into the sunlight – and head to Starbucks. (priorities!)

By the time I got back to my cube, I had a fun story to reenact for my coworker who felt guilty that she hadn’t answered my call in my time of need. But the BEST part was, weeks later I was sitting in my cube – by the window that looks down on the alley – and I hear this man yell “YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!” in the alley.

Which made me laugh and nod my head knowingly -- clearly, he too had just escaped the stairwell....

Anyway, so lately, while I’ve been trying to juggle several things at once and figure out things like stairwell protocol, I've also had to squat in one of the office buildings that my company has while also zipping back and forth between the two client sites.

So I've looked like a pack mule constantly, carrying my entire office around with me and constantly hunting out free desks every day. And then whenever I'd find one and spread all my stuff out, someone would inevitably walk in and say I'm in their desk. That happened THREE times this past Monday alone...

And then I’ve had fun things to get used to like when someone I'd never seen before popped her head in the door to whatever office I was hovering in at the time, and asked "Do you like devilled eggs?"

Um -- I'm Dana... nice to meet you too?

Then I walked by another office and instead of a desk chair, a girl was perched at her computer, in her suit:

on a Stability Ball. Yes, like the ones at the gym.

Office people are strange.

And my week only got stranger, but I’ll tell more about that next time. For now, I'm going to enjoy being at my apartment where all my stuff can stay put and I'm allowed to take the stairs....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chivalry Is Dead And Cabs Are Scary

I was about to post something likely boring about my job but since I told a friend about a recent "dating" disaster, he insisted I post that instead. So here you go.

I say "dating" because this incident happened with a guy I've been friends with for years who I may or may not like to kiss a little if the mood is right and we are both single. And a few weeks ago, we were out with our group of friends and we realize - we are both single again. So we start joking about how we should hang out over the weekend. Then, later, our group of friends were all emailing about how we were stuck in our houses due to the impending hurricane that weekend and my friend -we'll call him John - and I start joking again on the mass email like "hey, we could keep each other company during the hurricane, wink wink" - just to make everyone else feel awkward.

Then I get a separate email from just John basically saying-

 "No really. We should hang out."

Ah. Got it. We are no longer joking about this.

So we do hang out.

Then, last friday, I get a text that says "you still single? want to make out?" Which is funny and cute and I take the bait and go hang out with him at his house.

But here's where Chivalry dies and I turn into an indignant Southern Belle.

He tells me his address - and it's like A MILE walk from the metro, uphill, on a very poorly lit street. So I text "what would it take to get you to pick me up at the metro?"

And he says: "Ugh. I just ordered takeout and I have to wait for it. It's a $6 cab ride though - totally worth it"

UM. First of all -- "Ugh"?!?! Like, you are exasperated that I even suggested such a thing? Second - if the cab is only 6 dollars and is "totally worth it," ya think you could OFFER TO PAY FOR IT, RICO SUAVE?

Ahem. But I try not to be too diva, and I start walking. And he texts "the food is here, should I pick you up or are you walking?"

And here's where I get real passive-aggressive, cranky-pants girly -which I'm not proud of - but I snap back "I'm walking"

So he says "k see you soon."

Wrong Answer, Captain Clueless. You would've scored points had you gone ahead and picked me up.

So I then reply "not THAT soon, considering I'm still like 6 blocks away..."

And he doesn't get it. And he asks where I am and when I tell him, he texts "oh, when you pass such and such road, my apartment's right there."

Alrighty then. Guess I'll keep walking. Alone. In the dark. Uphill.

So I cross that street he referenced - and I kid you not, his address does NOT exist. Like, the numbers JUMP his. And I walk around for at least 10 minutes looking for his address in vain.

So once again, I pull a total girl move (I promise I'm not normally this bad) and instead of just calling him, I decided I'll keep wandering around and see how long it takes him to even notice. So when he finally DOES come outside to look for me, he finds me walking down a driveway with my arms crossed. And he asks "are you mad?" to which I reply -

"A little bit. Yeah."

So we are off to a GREAT start!

We go in his house and I calm down and end up staying for awhile and when I go to leave - he doesn't offer to take me back to the metro.

Good. Grief. This guy.

So I refuse to act all Damsel In Distress-y and I shrug and say "k see ya", and head off into the night again.

But as soon as I can, I hail a cab. 'Cuz I AM a damsel and I DON'T want to be walking alone in the dark anymore, dang it!

And I tell the cab I just want to go to the nearest metro and ask if he's cool with that and he tells me to get in. Then he immediately asks where I live. And I'm not-smart and tell him the general area in Virginia that I actually live, but I reiterate that I'm going to the metro.

So he starts pressuring me -"oh, I can just drive you all the way to your house instead! I live in that area too! Why would you want to go to the metro?" and on and on.

And I'm so annoyed with the whole evening at this point that I am NOT HAVING IT. So I snap "if you don't want to take me to the metro, just let me out and I'll walk." And he keeps on, and acts offended and says something creepy like "oh, am I making you uncomfortable?"

So I'm done. And I tell him I'm just going to walk and I get out. And we've gone, maybe THREE BLOCKS. And I kid you not, he yells out his window "Ma'am! It's a dollar sixty!"


I look at him and say something like "are you KIDDING me?" and I give him one dollar and start walking.

So he slowly drives past me and gets to the end of the block. And pulls a U-turn and sits there. Waiting. With his lights pointed up the street towards me. And the only other person on the block drives away, leaving me alone in the dark with this cab. ....then the cab starts driving back towards me.

So I FREAK. OUT. And thankfully he drives on past -- but then shortly after, I see a cab coming back from his direction.

So now I'm calling John. And simultaneously trying to find some place to HIDE every time another cab drives by that may or may not be MY cab, which may or may not be stalking me. (yes, I'm sure I over-reacted, but I've had some road rage incidents happen to me before so I don't trust anyone in this city to NOT turn crazy anymore). So I'm frantically begging John to HURRY UP AND GET TO ME before I get kidnapped by some crazy cab driver who is mad about sixty cents, and John runs out to meet me ---

and then he sort of complains about having to run.

Then he asks me to retell what just happened and he sort of seems like he doesn't quite believe me.

So now I'm:
-offended that he didn't take me to the metro in the first place
-embarrassed that I had to ask for help
-afraid he thinks I made the whole thing up to get him to walk me to the metro

So we get to the metro and he's all "text me when you get home so I know you made it" (Gee, how gentlemanly of you...) and I DO text -

and never hear from him again.

Perhaps I should've just taken my chances with creepy cab driver. At least HE offered to take me home....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I Should Just Take The Bus

As you know, I'm a car girl. And that, coupled with the fact that I get motion sickness on the D.C. Metro trains, means I try to drive everywhere. And in D.C., that causes many issues:

1. There's no parking

2. If there is parking, it has a meter and you get like 26 seconds per quarter so unless you have recently robbed a bank in all quarters, you probably don't have enough to park for more than 5 minutes.

3. Driving in D.C. is scary because the streets are laid out weird, and you are constantly dodging confused tourists, rude taxi drivers, random motorcades or road blocks, and cyclists. I feel like I'm constantly in a real life version of "Paperboy"... (that is an old Nintendo game if you are too young to get that reference.) And then there are -

The Signs.

Here is what you might expect to need to read before turning down a street in D.C.:

-This is a One-Way
-Unless it's Tuesday
-Then it's a Two-Way but you can't turn if it's before 9 a.m.
-And don't think about parking here if there's inclement weather
-Unless it's below freezing, then you can park for 5 minutes
-But you probably don't have enough quarters for 5 minutes so don't worry about it
-By the time you are to this sign, it is probably Wednesday which means this is once again a One-Way. Move along.
Here are actual signs in the city, but I've seen much crazier ones. You'll often see people trying to park just standing, staring up at signs for several minutes, trying to do the math to see if they can actually park there. It's way worse when you have to read paragraphs before knowing whether or not you can even TURN somewhere...(I sadly have not had a chance to take photos of those signs because I'm too busy trying to turn...)

And besides all that craziness, I feel like there are many things to keep up with on your car, at least if you are technically a Virginia resident like I am. Personal Property tax, state inspections (even if it's a BRAND NEW CAR...not that I'm bitter or anything...) and you need TWO license plates, which I did not know because I actually got away with keeping my old Tennessee plate on my car for much longer than I probably should've... and Tennessee isn't a Transportation-Nazi like Viriginia is. Yeah. I said it.

Funny story about license plates... first, I had never paid attention to my old Tenneessee plate before. My dad got his and mine at the same time and I just had to slap it on my car and pay him and be done with it. So one day when I was the passenger in my friend Ryan's car, we pulled up behind my car and he bursts out laughing and reads aloud what's on my plate. And to protect the innocent (aka My Parents, as you'll see below) I won't write the details here but it was something like :

"109 *slang term for something sexual*"

And then I burst out laughing because I had NEVER realized that before and was driving around all this time with that on my car. And even worse, since my dad bought both our plates, that meant my parents were driving around with "108 *slang term for something sexual*" on the back of their car. Sigh. Good thing they have pure minds and would not understand that anyway...

So when I finally got to the point where I could no longer run from the law and I had to bite the bullet and get VA plates, I made the annoying trip to the DMV and replaced my inappropriate TN tag with a VA one.

Then I immediately got two parking tickets in a row.

And I couldn't figure out why - I had a correct tag now, what was the deal!?

So then I finally read the fine print on the ticket and it says I need TWO plates. So now I'm annoyed because the DMV only gave me one, darn it! And they never mentioned anything about needing to buy two!

So I go back to the DMV, tell them they only gave me one plate and they owe me a new set of plates and they are confused but comply and give me a new set. 

And I'd had a stressful day anyway, and it's dark out and now I'm squatting on the ground with my screwdriver, taking off the one plate on the back --

and off drop TWO plates.


Apparently they were stuck together the first time and I obliviously screwed them both on the back of my car, leaving the front naked and thus incurring tickets.

At that point, I was so tired I just started laughing and kept the two new plates.

After that I had to GET HOLES PUNCHED into the front of my car so I could even HANG the stupid tag on it, but I've lived in compliance with VA law ever since.

At least, as far as license plates go :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

When Church Gets Awkward

I mentioned last time that I just started a new semester of both grad school classes and "small groups" at my church. Small groups are basically bible studies where you have groups of people hang out each week and actually talk, as opposed to often times in church where you can just slink into the back row and never interact with humans if you so desire. Which is typically how I attend because:

A. our church meets in a movie theater so it's quite easy to hunker down in a back row fairly unnoticed.

B. I go to Sunday Morning service = I will be hunkering down because I typically don't enjoy human interaction of any kind first thing in the morning.

C. the church gives us free coffee and there's really nothing/no one that can top that in my mind, first thing in the morning, so it's best if me and Coffee just sit by ourselves.

But of course, because of my Internal Homing Device issue, where I run into people I know in the strangest of places, I sometimes can't just slink in unnoticed because things like THIS happen (where old significants of my past who do not typically attend my church show up with their new, overly friendly, children just to confuse me.)

Side note - funny enough, I hadn't seen the guy from that incident since it happened... until last week when he was getting coffee and I ended up in line right behind him. His significant other (baby's mama? wife? I'm not sure...) was also standing there and I think he got nervous because he just BLURTS out "HEY! HOW'S WORK!" to me immediately.

How's work?? We've seen each other all of two times in the last 6 years and we don't have anything to do with each other's work. That's like running into a friend you haven't seen in a decade and the first thing you say is "HEY! WHAT'S IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR?" 

It completely threw me.
Side note within a Side note: it reminds me of when my coworker in the cube next to me kept saying "Happy New Year" to a client LONG after the new year had passed. Apparently the client kept saying it during their conversations for like a week or two after New Years and my coworker thought it was funny to see how long it would last so he kept doing it because the client seemed oblivious. So in February, I'd still hear them having random conversations that would end with my co-worker saying something like "...ah, yeah, good meeting! haha....Happy New Year." It made me laugh.
So back to church guy. As if it wasn't awkward enough that I don't know what his significant other knows about us (or if she knows her daughter is randomly drawing pictures to give to me during church....) he THEN blurts out "Hey I saw blah blah blah the other day and he reminded me of the time I dropped you on your head!"

Um, yes. When this guy and I played kickball together, the team was hanging out after a game and because this guy had a bit of a crush on me, something came over him and he took off running, swooped me up and over his shoulder before I knew what happened, then he SLIPPED and we both came crashing onto a wooden floor. Me - head first. I guess some guys pull girls' hair in class when they like them, some guys nearly paralyze a girl when they like them....

In any case, I now feel even MORE awkward and I just nervously look at his significant other and laugh like "oh, yep I remember! Good to see you! Happy New Year..." (I didn't actually say Happy New Year but wouldn't that have been awesome if I had? Things were already weird. Maybe next time...)

So stuff like THAT happens that prevents me from merely slinking in with coffee and sitting in the back unnoticed. And then the more people I meet in small groups also prevents me from doing so. Which brings us to this week.

My old small group disbanded, so I have to find a new group this semester and I want to find one that is the best fit - so I'm now basically Speed-Dating bibles studies. Like, I emailed at least four different ones near my house so I can "try them on for size" because let's face it, not everyone will appreciate things like The Slap Game (here) or understand why I pay to fling myself down a hill in a giant ball (like here). I'm gunna need that kind of understanding if I'm going to open up to a group about spiritual matters!

So the first "date" I had with a group was this past Tuesday. And I was having a crabby-pants kind of a day. And when I'm a crabby-pants, I tend to feel the world owes me for no reason. And in that delusion, I was careening through the parking lot of the building where this particular group meets (I couldn't find the place for a while and it had no address on the building so instantly I took my frustration out in my driving, because I'm a responsible adult like that...) and as I leave the lot to get back on the street to park, I see a guy walking. But instead of politely waiting for him to cross in front of me, I barrel through to the road, immediately flip an aggresive U-turn, and slide into street parking next to him. Because I'm annoyed! So I get to drive how I want! Take that Universe! (which is really the perfect attitude going into a church activity...sigh...)

For a tiny second I think "wouldn't it be great if I just acted that way in front of a guy from this group...." Because here's the thing - my church is huge, has many locations, and I likely won't know anyone in this group. But I figure this guy is just a random dude in the neighborhood so no worries.

Then I enter the building...and so does that guy.

And he starts talking to a group of other people by the eleveators...some of whom are holding Bibles.


Then we all get in the same elevator and go to the same floor.

And it turns out not only is this guy in the group - he's the group LEADER that I emailed about the group in the first place.


I act like nothing happened and hope he didn't actually see my face when I whizzed past him outside in my car. And as he's introducing the group, he accidentally describes himself as something like "the last surviving member of the group" because I guess the group has been meeting for years, but has changed members a lot. So everyone bursts into nervous laughter because that seems to suggest that the other members DIED OFF and now we are second guessing our choice of group... And as I'm laughing along with everyone else, I'm thinking "Buddy, you are barely the last survivor considering I nearly ran you over downstairs...."

Then I start giggling. And I get that horrible feeling that I'm not going to be able to stop. And I'm smooshed on a couch with three other strangers and I keep getting hit with waves of giggles that I sometimes can't supress. I even start giggling uncontrollably WHILE I'm READING ALOUD at one point....but thankfully I finally got back under control.

So in the end, I'm sure I made a FANTASTIC impression on these people.

I'm planning on trying at least two more groups so fingers crossed that I don't embarrass myself and/or nearly kill anyone else that I might have to see again on Sunday morning...