Thursday, April 22, 2010


It's occurred to me over the past semester that, in a city that largely (and not always, but often) centers around self-importance, college has done a GREAT job of making you realize just how interconnected you become with the people around you. Which subsequently makes you realize how amazing the people around you are.

We recognize the worth of our peers, yet at this stage, we have a hard time writing down how awesome WE are for the sake of a cover letter...for applying to (dear god) JOBS. As Professor Chin said today (I'm probably paraphrasing), "You know, graduating from the University Honors Program is supposed to leave you with some modicum of self-confidence. Some."

Frankly, I think it's a healthy mentality. Not the lack of self-confidence--THAT needs work--but the recognition (at least in some sense) that we are part of a larger whole. My question is--when do people lose that? Is it a marker of a lack of self-confidence? Or are these people (reference the blog post below) really just THAT arrogant?

Maybe we're all just arrogant...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I know this can't be right, but...

I'm pretty convinced that everyone else learned a lesson about dealing with life pre-graduation that I missed out on. In these last few weeks, it has become increasingly clear to me that I can no longer deal with my life in a functioning manner. I used to be able to successfully over-commit myself to everything, but I can't even complete my required schoolwork anymore. Which means that I have quit everything else so that my life is so full of homework that just looking at the stack of books I have for my Capstone (senior thesis) makes me ill.

As I watch those around me successfully completing internships (and not getting fired from them), getting 3.99 GPAs, finishing their Capstones (that make far more sense than mine), and dealing with their lives in very graceful manners...I wonder where the hell I went wrong.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Look at me, I'm IMPORTANT.

Sometimes, I get really friggin' sick and tired of people in this city. There's a culture of self-importance here that comes with the wealth and the politics, and it's pretty clear that some people (not all, mind you, but enough) think they're better than you. Yes, I myself can be a total elitist snot with precious little patience towards particular groups (mostly conservative and religious assholes), but most of my annoyance is directed towards people who perceive themselves as better than everyone because they are more educated or more "important". know what? They're not. Ultimately, we are all human. Just because you hold this or that position in X or Y organization does not mean that you shit diamonds, and I wish more people would understand this.

While I was on tour the other day, some woman made some passive aggressive remark about how we, as a group of bikers, should get in the street. I hear this all the time, and she was particularly bitchy, so I politely ignored her, said "Excuse me, ma'am," while passing her, and looked back as she proceeded to get her feathers ruffled and haughtily scold every single member of the tour--who were, as they always are, politely moving in a single-file line down the sidewalk. We weren't in anyone's way and legally, we were allowed to be on that goddamn sidewalk.

I felt bad for the kids that she yelled at, but they also ignored her. It gave me a nice dose of self-righteous schadenfreude (good word, and I think it's applicable here?) to see her completely unable to stop us because we were right and she was wrong.

It's these small examples that just build up and irritate the hell out of me--like when I tried to unlock the bathroom door at a cafe downtown (with the key that customers are supposed to retrieve, as indicated by a GIANT SIGN on the door) and someone was in there. I figured that because the key was still there, no one was in the bathroom, and I hadn't seen the dude walk in. I moved to wait by the door when this old guy at a table looks at me and says, rather snottily, "You should knock before going in." Wellll, thank you, sir. Nearly 22 years' worth of common sense has apparently taught me nothing. I guess the fact that the dude in the bathroom being able to voice "Hey, I'm in here!" wasn't going to be enough to deter me from walking in there.

Sometimes I wonder...if I was a man, less blond, older, and wore stuffier clothing (like not jeans and t-shirts), would I be treated differently?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

DC's getting it right!

I have been bitching for the last 3 years or so about how the yuppie-ish outskirts of DC (think upper Red Line) need more cafes, coffee shops, and chill little places to do work. And no, Starbucks doesn't count. I don't care how many billions of customers they draw annually, their coffee is disgusting.

Imagine my joy when I was biking down Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park a couple of weeks ago and saw The Cereal Bowl nestled between a newly opening Palm Beach Tan (really?) and the giant concrete facade of the Uptown Theater. The basic idea is simple--Americans like cereal, Americans like toppings on their cereal, kids like disgusting sugary cereals that their parents won't buy them, so why not create a cereal bar where everyone can be happy? You order your cereal (or a combination)--choices range from Cap'n Crunch to Grape Nuts to Cheerios to granola--then pick up to 3 toppings. You have your choice of normal toppings like strawberries, blueberries and bananas, or you can go crazy and get marshmallows and crumbled vanilla wafers.

I convinced my boyfriend that we had to go, so being the good sport that he is, he agreed to try it out this morning. I went the boring route and got granola (which I'm pretty sure was crumbled up Nature Valley Honey and Oat granola bars) with strawberries, blueberries and almonds. He went a route and ordered the "Dirt Bowl"--Cookie Crisp with crushed Oreos, chocolate syrup and gummy worms. The mere sight of it made my blood sugar spike through the roof, but he said it was delicious. I took his word for it.

And it's not just the cold cereal. They have muffins the diameter of soccer balls, a full espresso bar (Blackberry Creme Mochas? Yes, please.) "Oaties," which are smoothies made with oats (which are delicious, though the lumpy, snot-like consistency is somewhat off-putting), hot teas, and hot cereal. They're not just open for breakfast, either. Monday through Thursday, hours are 6:30 AM through 10 PM, Fridays it's 6:30 AM to 11 PM, Saturdays 7-11 and Sundays, 7-8.

Pre-designed combos run as much as $4.29 for a small, $4.89 for a large, but the quirky charm, free WiFi and outlets, and limitless cereal combinations make it completely worth the money. It's an up-and-coming national chain, but there's only a few nation-wide, so it feels like a neighborhood institution. The staff is warm, friendly and patient, and their uniforms consist of t-shirts and plaid flannel pants. The general lack of seating leaves something to be desired, but there's a permit for a coming enclosed sidewalk cafe on the window. I have a feeling that I'll be spending lots of time here this summer, inching my way ever closer to a happy, sugar-induced coma.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hoo boy.

What sort of miserable failure do you have to be to get fired from an unpaid internship? Like, really? In the midst of the 17 million things I have to do in order to graduate, I emailed my supervisors and said "Hey, I'm only coming in once a week." (I had been coming in twice a week previously.) I thought it seemed like a fair compromise, considering that I was (and am) stressed out to the point of tears half the time, they didn't pay me, and they never gave me a whole lot to do, so I'd sit around twiddling my thumbs for a few hours at a time. I liked the job whenever they actually gave me interesting stuff to do or sent me on bike delivery errands.

Anyway, my boss emailed me back to tell me that they had decided it would be best if I just left. And they're letting me go with the promise of recommendations in the future, because they know I'm a good worker when I'm actually functional. I realize this is the best option for everyone, especially for me, but...good God. They weren't even paying me and they still let me go.

Between this and my advisor tearing apart my Capstone (in a less-than-constructive fashion that mostly comes across as really condescending) every time I meet with her, I'm beginning to doubt my ability to survive in the real world.

Which is why I'm clearly supposed to give tours for the rest of my frickin' life. That's pretty much all I can do. Hoo-freakin'-ray.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quick letter

Dear Friend,

Despite the walls you put up, we can see right through you. You live in a bubble, you're either incapable of or scared to fall in love with anyone, and you like safety in your job, your location, and your relationships. You know what you like, and because of this, you will never explore beyond the confines of that bubble unless someone comes along, calls you out on it, and pops it, and I'm not sure that anyone has the heart to do that.

This would all be somewhat fine, if worrisome, except that you're becoming increasingly bitter, disgruntled, and self-righteous. Rather than using those brains of yours to accomplish anything, you're pissing off your friends by questioning everything they believe in. I suspect it's because you're insecure about your own standing in life. While I understand that some people take a long time to figure out what they want to accomplish in their lives, it would be nice if you could kindly refrain from taking out your frustrations on the rest of us. Frankly, you're turning into a miserable human being.

Sincerely, and only because I care,

I leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis: "There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it in tact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable... The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When in DC...

Jesus. Effing. Christ. It's become clear to me that the more people you pack into one area, the higher chance you have of running into assholes--it's a simple matter of proportions, as the world is made up of a certain percentage of assholes.

So yesterday, when 1) the Cherry Blossom Festival was still going on, 2) the White House Easter thing was happening, 3) there was the opening game for the Nats at which President Obama threw the first pitch, 4) People were working because it was a Monday and 5) Lots of tourists were there because it was Easter Monday...the city was a disaster area, and it was the worst at evening rush hour.

Which is when one of the kids on my tour decided to get a flat on his rear wheel. Which I got to change (with the help of another tour member) right in the middle of the very crowded sidewalk on the way back from the Jefferson Memorial. The kid's tire went flat again (a slow leak?) on the 20-minute ride home, and I think that pissed the mother off, because she did not tip me. Even though I spent a solid 10 minutes getting yelled at by pedestrians and bicyclists while sweating my ass off and getting my hands coated in grease. Which would have been OK had either one of them bothered to say thank you.

Then there were the pedestrians who, on the morning tour, told me that we were a "pain in the ass" and bellyached about us stopping on the sidewalk (single file--they had room to walk, and they're shared pathways by law) because a kid fell off of his bike. I had to reel in my desire to call them a bunch of self-righteous douchebags. Instead, I bordered the line between polite and snarky in telling them that 1) it was a shared sidewalk, and 2) a kid fell off of his bike, and what would they like us to do, exactly? After we passed them, one of my group members informed me that they had tried to stand in her way. She accidentally hit one with the side of her handlebars. I told her they deserved it.

I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.

Also, as an aside, I would like to send a shout-out to Peter Barnes, FOX News' Senior Washington Correspondent. You now have a cherry pie, courtesy of Destination DC. Destination DC delivers like...7 gazillion cherry pies to people during the Cherry Blossom Festival. (Which I find amusing, because fruit-bearing cherry trees and the blossom-bearing cherry trees you see around DC are two different species.) I don't really know whay, but if I someday end up with a job where I have people delivering me free baked goods, I will make sure that I come down and thank them personally.

All of this cherry blossom hoopla really gets on my nerves...I hate the damn trees because they're JUST TREES, for god's sake (albeit pretty ones) and they drawn in hordes of obnoxious tourists. And there's an entire committee devoted to them and that damn festival, complete with a President, Vice President, and student "Cultural Ambassadors" who have to wear ugly and hot-looking pink blazers and do Lord only knows what during the festival. I've also seen cherry blossom flavoured soap and lotions and stuff...have you ever smelled a cherry blossom? THEY DON'T SMELL LIKE ANYTHING. Starbucks has cherry blossom donuts...but cherry blossoms don't taste like anything, either. And once again, they don't bear fruit...they're basically nature's equivalent of doilies. Pretty, but annoying, fragile and useless.