Washington to Washington

My journey from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC. When we moved here we began to discover the differences from the west coast and the east coast--and I'm not talking about the music. It's a fun look at the differences and prespectives from one Washington to the other.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wet T-shirt Contest

Yep. That was me. The girl walking to her car. In the pouring rain. Without an umbrella -- in WHITE. At least the rain was warm. However, the sandals I planned on returning to Nordstrom are ruined. Oh well.

There’s a saying in some circles in Seattle, “you know who the locals are by those who DON’T carry an umbrella.” Funny, I was never really a local, but still obeyed the local rules. Well, Dorothy you ain’t in Kansas no more! I will be carrying a bumbershoot from now on!

For those who don’t know, the rain in Seattle is really like a heavy mist. Don’t get me wrong it does rain, but nothing like it is now. I understand the term, raining like cats and dogs.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Urgent Care

Post by: Odin (V's Husband)

I’m sure this is something that everyone has encountered at one time or another: a trip to the ER. Sick people puking and coughing all around you, elderly people producing strange smells and odd sounds…and the inevitable, unavoidable wait.

Yesterday I took myself to the ER. I have been having excruciating muscle spasms in my back for the past 10 days, which caused me to wince and limp almost constantly. Not a pleasant way to spend ones’ time, especially when my job requires sitting for hours in front of a computer interspersed with short periods of rapid movement. Plus, I was afraid that I would have a spasm in the shower, slip, and really hurt myself.

So I went to the ER (just moved here and don’t have a regular doc yet) to see what could be done about the situation. I knew I would be prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants to take the edge off and help my back heal…I also figured I might be there a couple of hours. I registered with the ER nurse before 8am on a Tuesday morning; I was the only person in the waiting room. I even thought, foolishly, that I might be home in time to watch “The Price is Right.” Bob Barker is a freakin’ god (except for the part where he’s a dirty old pervert).

The sign above the door read “Urgent Care” in big white letters, and I believed it. As a member of our society I have been trained from birth to trust signs; I stop for “stop” signs, I yield to pedestrians, and don’t use the Express Lane at the market if I have more than 10 items. Stupid idealism. They really need to change that sign.

I was given a room between some poor guy that was screaming his head off and an elderly Indian lady whose daughter was apparently convinced that she knew more than every doctor who came to talk to them. If I had been one of those doctors I would have said, “Look, lady, who’s wearing the white coat and carrying a stethoscope here? Not you, I see. Shut up and let me help your Mom.” I have excellent bedside manners and a sunny disposition. Towards the end, I got kicked out of my room and given a “hall spot” which they tried to make sound as good as a room, but it was totally a demotion.

Finally, I put my clothes on, in the hallway because there was no place else to go, and the doctor walked around the corner just as I finished. The look of surprise on her face said it all, I’d been lost in the shuffle. “You’re still here?” she asked. “Apparently,” I replied. “Shut up! You haven’t been discharged yet?” she said, to which I replied “Does it look like it?…and you haven’t given me a prescription yet either.”

I left the “Urgent” Care department 5 hours after arriving, having been left alone in an examination room (and the hallway) for 4 hours and 45 minutes of those 5 hours. The care I received was very professional and courteous though it was anything but “Urgent.”

Next time I go in there I’ll make sure I’m bleeding. Rumor has it they’ll see you quicker if you’re making a mess on the floor.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two Drink Minimum

When I first started my job, my predecessor mentioned to that some of my co-workers may, on occasion, drink in the office. That's fine I thought, at the dot com I worked for in Seattle, the CEO would sponsor "liquid lunches" for the whole company... there's nothing like free pizza and beer.

Okay, so the guys have a happy hour, no problem -- it is a lobbyist firm. She secretly showed me where one of them camouflages his booze inside a false globe as well as the massive liquor supply in the file room, hall closet, and the case of beer in the fridge. (What do they get a discount when they buy out the store?) I asked if we entertain many clients in the office. She said no, they just like an occasional cocktail. Evidently.

"Oh and by the way, some people smoke," she mentioned in passing. I was just about to shrug off the comment as a particular vice, but then I realized she meant, they smoke in the office. Grand, I thought, along with Emphysema, I better get a good reference.

Well, some do drink and not "on occasion" as I was led to believe. Our head boss, in particular, is the real boozer -- after a meeting, during a meeting, on Tuesdays. He's an old-school DC shaker, (who can be very funny and a down-right asshole on any particular day) who claims that in the old days, this was how they used to conduct deals in DC -- over a cocktail and a cigarette.

"Can we move into the modern era then?" I said to myself.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stop Signs are Optional

I hate to sound cliche, but DC HAS THE WORST DRIVERS! Yes, I'm sure that every state has their fair share of bad drivers... (and I know, I used to live in Albuquerque) but there are some drivers here that clearly have never taken a driving test or have any comprehension of the BASIC rules of the road.

My dear DC drivers, here are a few friendly reminders:

1. Green means GO, Yellow means CAUTION (not floor it), and RED means STOP!!

2. You can't make LEFT hand turns from the RIGHT lane.

3. You can't make RIGHT hand turns from the LEFT lane.

4. You can't block an intersection ... AT ANYTIME!
(This goes out to my M Street commuters)

5. You should not speed in parking lots or the wrong way down a one-way road.

6. You have to at least approach the speed limit on the freeway, pedal on the right folks, pedal on the right.

7. If you can't see over the steering wheel, you should probably reevaluate the necessity of your occupying the road with those of us who would like to LIVE.

8. You MUST use your BLINKERS ... I'm fairly certain these come standard on most cars, possibly with the exception of the Trabi...rock on, East Germany.

9. You can't double park, and I don't care about diplomatic immunity...!

10. And finally... You can't BACK-UP on the Freeway!
(Yes, I understand that you missed your exit, but... yeah... ah... no, you can't reverse on the Beltway)

And pedestrians, I'm not leaving you out. Just one thing...
Have any of you ever heard of the CROSSWALK??

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Voices Carry

Yesterday morning the Orange line was EXTREMELY crowded, which for the time I ride was not unusual, but this was over the top. I found a spot in the corner to sit and was ready to continue my latest thriller novel when something piqued my interest... the girl next to me said to her, (I can only guess lover/boyfriend) "Are we going to talk about this or not?" I was trying not to listen, ... Seriously... but I did. Basically, it sounded like she cheated and he wasn't sure what to do. She left the Metro crying and he seemed really upset. I know, I'm horrible.

After she exited, I was squished next to a early twenty-something DOD guy. I know this, because he was wearing his badge ... that had his name, badge number, where he works, etc. clearly printed on it. I quietly leaned over to him and kindly mentioned, "Hey, you probably shouldn't wear that in public places." I winked and smiled, to let him know I wasn't nagging, just being friendly. He replied with a cocky lifted eyebrow, "I think I'll be okay." Now, it's common knowledge in the intelligence community that you DO NOT wear your badge around in public places. So, if you want to know his name I have it ... he was probably an intern anyway.

Speaking of interns, when I transferred trains, there were these two guys, clearly in college, dressed in typical blue blazers and Gap khakis. They were talking so loud I looked around to see if I was the only one who had noticed....I was. Apparently I'm the last person on the planet who doesn't own an Ipod. The guys were talking about their internships. "Dude, so I was telling her I wasn't doing it wrong," "I know they totally think we're stupid!".... The train conductor announced we were approaching Dupont Circle....(and...wait for it) "Ah, shit we got on the wrong train!!" I had to bite my hand to keep from laughing.

All this before 8am, maybe riding the Metro isn't so bad.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hot Child in the City

Well, summer does start after Memorial Day here!

It has been around 90 degrees this week...which is not bad, but it's the humidity -- not the rhythm -- that will get you! I used to laugh about the differences of winter and summer suits, hand-held-mister fans, people who carry personal water bottles, and men in tank-tops ... well I'm not laughing anymore!

Ridin' on the Metro

Coming from the west coast, public transportation is not really in my vocabulary. Not because I despise it, just it's never really been readily available.

My fantasy of the Metro was something of a Berlin song ('Ridin' on the Metro') from the 80's -- so I was in for a rude awakening.

First the good things: My station is a couple miles from our apartment, the train comes every few minutes, it drops me off a few blocks from my office downtown, and I get to do crosswords and not sit in traffic.

Okay, here's the deal... if I get a seat, life imitates art and I can 'ride the metro' in my head...all 50 minutes it takes me to get to work. Everyone is always in a hurry and usually in a frantic rush to bully you out of the way--and at 5 feet tall, I'm usually the one getting trampled. I blame my "oh, no, it's okay" response, from living on the west coast; like after someone else slammed me into a platform barrier to get to the same train we both were heading for. Or my favorite, slipping on the platform in the rain and sliding into the escalator-- people just step over you.

Next is the cost. I have heard that the "metro is great", "it's the easiest way to go", "we are right on the metro"...but no one ever says "it will cost you $15 dollars to get to Dupont Circle (roundtrip w/parking)" or "if you want to get parking, you have to get to the station before 7:30am" or "day passes ($7) only work after 930am (I work before 9am), but it won't get your car out of the parking lot." Now, I know it doesn't seem like a lot... add that up! $15 a day x 20+ days = more than my car payment.

I don't think I have ever missed driving my car so much. (Parking downtown is like a mortgage, so I ride.) Listening to a book on tape, new CD, NPR, etc. you know, all the silly things you don't think about...bucket seats, stopping for a soda, AIR CONDITIONING.

Until I get a better job closer to home (fingers crossed) or I get a raise (so I can drive), I will be "ridin' on the metro-o-o."