TGIF afternoon! ;)

I’m a little behind.

I know the Olympic Trials are going on. I know Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are…running mates for the 2012 presidential election. Whacky weather around Washington. Tomcat and Katie Holmes split. Which was all part of the SCRIPT and if you don’t realize that you’re living in a fantasy world. Tosh.0 made some bad rape jokes (sorry, I’m gonna have to go with the “never funny” side on this one). Fred Willard found masturbating in adult theater, which is disappointing if you’re a fan of the whacky world of Christopher Guest, but also not especially surprising. In fact, it’s not surprising at all.

The only thing that really matters this week is this.

And apparently since JANUARY, airlines have been pretty chill.

I can’t believe I’m just finding out about this now, but evidently new airline rules have been in effect since January of this year allowing anyone making travel plans more than a week in advance of the trip 24 hours of wiggle-room to cancel, move things around, and even put tickets on hold.

Also, airlines need to notify us immediately of significant delays (30 minutes or more). And no hidden baggage and tax fees allowed.

Wow. Wow! Thank you. Seriously. Though, it seems like a no-brainer: “Hey, let’s not be dicks and ruin everyone’s day,” given the climate of corporate take-over and advertisement-laden everything, at a time when we live in a state of latent paranoia that everyone is trying to take advantage of us, pull a fast one on us, or the rug out from under us, scam us, rip us off, be sheisty jerks, I would be more surprised if navigating monstrous travel hubs were indeed a breeze.

Instead, they’re the most notoriously pain-in-the-ass sterile hell mall on Earth (with slight charms in people watching, reunions, and modernity).

Twenty-five dollars to check a bag? As if I’m not going to check a bag! I’m going on a week long vacation. Of course I’m checking a bag.  Shoes take up a lot of space and I need at least 4 pairs. I need outfit options. You’re punishing me for packing outfit options and too many shoes? Actually, if that were in fact the sentiment behind baggage fees I might be more sympathetic. Instead you’re doing it to spite us, because you hate us, and you’re a big fat white guy in the form of an industry.

I just drove an hour to the airport, and you’re telling me now that my flight is cancelled, and there are no other flights until tomorrow, and I have to pay for it? You won’t even cover my hotel fare tonight, because I have to stay here, since the only other flight is at 6:17 a.m.?  On what planet is that fair? Why does your CEO have a black heart?

So now I’m stressed, I’m angry, frustrated, so exhausted, on the verge of tears, $150 poorer, I’m going to be a bitch to the cashier at Sbarro’s, and I have a night of lonely hotel TV watching to look forward to. I’m going to arrive at my friend’s/sister’s/parent’s/boyfriend’s/vacation late and stressed, angry, frustrated, exhausted, and with a dent in my budget. I’m going to put bad energy into the stratosphere and probably indirectly cause an environmental disaster, hate crime, or car wreck. My trip will have a sour start, and my best bet will be to just try to forget about it. Ughhh.

But maybe not so much anymore.

This is the direction we need to be going in. Screw health care (I don’t mean that), this movement towards transparency by the airline industry is ultimately one that promotes peace, on a most basic level. Flying, and all the lines, stress, bad food, cramped seats, seemingly idiotic personnel, sterile and robotic atmosphere that comes with it, can be pretty goddamn miserable. It brings out the worst in all of us. Truly. The amount of times I’ve cried at the airport out of sheer frustration is pathetic. I know most factors cannot be helped, airports will never be a hassle-free, and the idea of working at one dealing with people during the worst 2 hours of their life (…week) sounds about as appealing as street canvassing for the World Wildlife Fund (WHY did you take that job!? You had to have known what you were getting yourself into! Was it a craigslist ad about changing the world or a bulletin board tear-off?) However, advancements toward accommodating and pleasant customer service and transparency in a corporate mandate are the glimmers of hope we need when someone enters a movie theater on a shooting spree in the middle of smalltown, Colorado, USA, population: all of us. (See how CURRENT I am?!)

-Cassiel Archdeacon

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TGIF

Mitt Romney claims Self-Employed Author on campaign filing report. Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown says the word vagina in front of a room of rich educated white men with power AND IS NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR AGAIN. Octomom does porn, big surprise. Have you seen this woman interviewed?  And that poor bus monitor is bullied to tears by our badly raised asshole children. Then the internet bought her a vacation. Good work America!

And they did it. The Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship. And they gosh darn earned it. With four years in Ohio under my belt, I’ve got some love for MVP Lebron James. I saw him dunk as a Cavalier at the Q. I understand that he’s an aging superstar deserving of a ring, and that playing for Cleveland wasn’t going to get him one. I’m happy for him, even though my love for OKC was greater and my support for the underdog will always prevail that of the cocky big shots. In fact, I think the big three lost some of their arrogance this time around, making their victory more…okay.

So yes, somewhere along the line I became an NBA fan. Baseball doesn’t do much for me. I don’t know the rules of football. Soccer’s okay, I guess. Hockey, sure, fine. But basketball’s my sport, the Celtics are my team, and the way these sexy men waltz into the arena in the finest suits lookin all fresh, kind of makes me melt.

Over drinks with an old friend the other night, my need to periodically check the score was shocking to her and got us talking: American sports culture as a corrupt industry with obscenely overpaid workers, and a wicked obsession for the masses with extreme under-acknowledged racial currents. She pointed to this photo essay.

Certainly, pro athletes are overpaid. In the same way that movie stars and Wall Street bankers are. Maybe our society needs this wildly juxtaposed realm of envied untouchables to show range and serve as a point of comparison and topic of gossipy discussion for us little people. That may hold some truth, but certainly the way we allocate salaries is incredibly unbalanced, and rather than have a thousand professional athletes with three luxury vehicles and multiple homes, we could probably end hunger (a completely made-up figure, but doesn’t seem far off.)

She took the “Sports is an evil industry that gives kids the unrealistic idea that their way out of poverty is through sports” stance, and I sympathized with many of her points. However, I couldn’t help but point out that many of the pro athletes we idolize in the media did come from poverty. And that’s a commendable feat to make it so far with shear talent. A way of out the ghetto is a way out of the ghetto. Unless of course you’re dealing drugs or running a prostitution ring…these are less commendable feats.

Sure, we can’t have all our kids believing they’re going to be the next Rondo. And glamorize it all your want, NFL teams have upwards of fifty members, note my avoidance of the word player. A lot of them warm the bench, never get game time, and make very, very average salaries.

But to compare them to slaves? I just don’t know about that one, Hank Willis Thomas. Granted, he uses college players as his subject, criticizing the NCAA as a “multibillion dollar industry that’s built primarily off of the free labor of descendants of slaves.” Some of these men may have used sports as a way out, but something tells me they love playing. Something tells me their celebrity-like position on campus is welcomed, enjoyed, and gets them way laid. Their special treatment from faculty, tolerable. And they do truly have a shot at going pro.

The things these men can do with their bodies are insane! I watch Ray Allen in awe. Lebron James defies gravity. Just look at them: chiseled gods whose ability to leap is the closest thing I’ve seen to human flight. They have absolutely mastered their craft, and in their technique and play, have captivated the country. They’re fun to watch, bring cities together, and fill up the awkward grocery store run-ins once we’ve out-talked the weather. We need that.

There’s a lot wrong in this world. Overpaid athletes is one of them. Exploiting college players is another. Sports as a spectacle that brings people together is not. But I still don’t like football.

TGIF!

-Cassiel Archdeacon

TGIF

OKC!!! Kanye took a naked pic of Kim and tweeted it, which I think is a stroke of asshole genius, and Don Rickles straight up crosses the line.

I also turned 24. I’m not 23 anymore. I’m in my mid-twenties, not my early-twenties. I’m officially an adult.

Well, that’s certainly not true. We still haven’t decided on the marker of adulthood. I was never mitzvah’d. But I pay bills, and make my own doctor’s appointments, and really need to buy some soap scum remover, what’s the best one out there? Scrubbing Bubbles? Tilex? Lime Away?

I do feel like there’s a big difference between 24 and 23 though; at least it sounds like there is. Then again, 23 did seem a lot older than 22, and 21 is maybe our grandest marker of adulthood, save 18, as far as the law is concerned. One thing I do know, you can’t get trashed on your birthday anymore.

You can. Of course you can, and it might happen without you meaning to, and it’s probably the fault of your wonderful friends, because buying the birthday girl (or boy) drinks is what you do! Because how else do you celebrate someone else’s birthday? It’s weird. Nobody really cares. Because why should they? But they have a birthday once a year too, and they know how it feels.

That’s not the point. The point is, I think getting older means not getting shitfaced. You can get really drunk, you can brown out, you can be hung over, you can get weird. Please get weird. But you can’t be falling over. You can’t fall asleep in the bar. You should not need to be walked out, unless of course by a handsome young gentleman singlehandedly proving that chivalry lives on. This is fine. Let him hail you cab while he’s at it.

When you live in the city you can’t fuck around. You need to get home safely. You need to navigate through drunk murderers and paying a cabby, and it’s really hard to do that when you’re hammered. And if you have an iphone, you’re playing with fire.

If it happens it happens, and we’ve all been there, no one’s judging. But the advancement here is about putting the conscious effort into not getting to that point. By now we should know our limits, and exceeding them is just not cute. It’s not a good look. If you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for the people that have to take care of your sorry ass. Or the guy you were trying to impress.

I say this after a two birthday sloppy streak, with a shockingly composed 21st.  Last year, I had to be carried out of the bar, and, I kid you not, wet the bed with my boyfriend-at-the-time in it. The next day I had to call out of work sick, and felt like I was delivering an alien baby (sorry, just saw Prometheus! Spoiler alert: scarring alien baby delivery scene). I wasn’t feeling too hot two days later either.

So this 24th birthday, I got drunk yes, but I felt fine this morning, I remembered everything, my sentences were coherent (this is a big one, folks), I stayed awake, and most importantly, I was able to enjoy myself. I may have missed a few phone calls, but I can’t be all things to all people.

Thank God It’s Friday!

 

-Cassiel Archdeacon

TGIF

This week in the world:

NBA finals have once again seduced me, and if my Celtics take it, I might cry. But I like you OKC, I like you a lot.

Ray Bradbury, who was always a favorite of mine in high school, has died. Yeah, I think I’ll read some more Bradbury soon. Venus makes rare trek across sun, which I wish meant more to me. Wisconsin Senator Scott Walker pulls some sheisty Republican shit. Warren Buffet is like so above recessions. And our British comrades are alarmingly serious about their jubilees. I like Jon Stewart’s take, as usual.

Let’s talk about food. Probably a lot of people talked about food this week over expensive food that was all about the food.

When did it become so bougie? When did the upper class begin using food jargon and standards as its flag, and waving it so vigorously? When did being “cultured” mean being able to talk charcuterie, burrata, and molecular gastronomy? Charred this, braised that, grass-fed everything. When did we start living in a world where a vegetable can be trendy (brussel sprouts) and a cooking method a fad (pickling).

It makes me think of that brilliant moment in The Kids Are All Right (is this the second time I’ve mentioned that movie in a post? I didn’t think it had a particularly lasting impression on me) when Annette Bennings’ character loses it: “If I hear about one more fucking heirloom tomato…!” Ugh, seriously.

At the same time, culinary America is doing some exciting things right now. How spectacular that we’ve taken one of the most basic human needs and turned it into an opportunity for creativity, innovation, and art.

But how am I supposed to enjoy the chef’s provocative approach to nose-to-tail pig consumption at that farm-to-table restaurant in that up-and-coming neighborhood if I’m paying any attention to the bombarding food theory hearsay getting spat on us from all “expert” angles?

First it was carbs: the first real “maybe we have it all wrong” re-evaluation of the Food Pyramid, circa the early 2000s.  South Beach. Atkins. One thing was for sure. The initial six to eleven suggested servings of carbohydrates a day was gluttonous blasphemy and the reason why we’re all fat asses. They turn into sugar and latch onto our organs. So cut them out entirely for two weeks, and then ease back onto them, but KEEP IT TO A MINIMUM, FATTY.

And then it was like, whoa whoa whoa, do people even realize what’s going on in the meat industry? More blasphemy! People eating beef from cows who were fed puppies. People eating beef from cows who were fed other cows! Chickens given hormones to make them grow to full size in 20 days to the point that their little chicken feet can’t support them anymore. Livestock offering all kinds of different by-products being raised in the equivalent of a small-cage pissing and shitting on each other.

And then it was like, what really is gluten? Is that something our bodies are supposed to digest? Is that something our bodies are even capable of digesting?

And then it was like, what’s going on with corn? Sure, eating it as a vegetable (starch!) is one thing, but why and how are we converting it into sugar, into high-fructose syrup, and making everything with it? Maybe we should ease up on the corn.

And, ahhhh all these evil nasty pesticides, and processed foodstuffs. Get out of our supermarkets! Go organic! All things organic all the time!

And these alternatives, soy, tofu, tempeh, seitan, is that really a good idea? What ARE they? And oh wait, soy is destroying the rainforests of the Amazon, and is full of estrogen, more estrogen than even the femmiest women ladies can tolerate.

And yes natural is good, natural is great, but fruit tastes like candy for a reason: it’s all sugar. And however protein-packed they may be, nuts are ultra-fatty. And the wheat and grains that make our bread are natural, but they have gluten, and carbs. And dairy may be natural and rich in calcium and vitamins, but dairy is the worst thing in the world and the whole “we need calcium for strong bones” thing is a myth!

But vegetables are always good. Unless of course you cook them, and rid them of all their nutrients.

What am I supposed to eat?! Undressed salads for all three meals?

Let’s be real. Our social lives revolve an awful lot around food. Going out to eat. Meeting for happy hour. Summer BBQs. Dinner parties. Potlucks. How am I supposed to stay a social butterfly with a strictly regimented diet? Seriously, how does one do this? I want to know, and I don’t support people going to restaurants and not ordering anything on the menu. You gotta pay to hang.

I agree, we need to think more about what we’re eating. Obesity is not something we can allow to kill us, and the rest of the world is laughing at us. Michelle Obama is a hero. We’re not supposed to be eating Fritos or drinking soda all the time (if at all). Fast food is not food. Putting salt on your pizza is not okay!

But eating cake on your birthday is. And your friend’s birthday. And all the birthdays that you’re around.  Unless there’s a weird week and everyday there’s a birthday of someone close to you who’s having a get-together and serving cake. Then maybe it’s too much. I don’t really know.

All I know I is I’ll break the rules on a lot of things, but white bread is not one of them.

I saw Forks Over Knives, and it changed my life. My roommate saw Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and it changed her life. You probably saw Food Inc, and it probably shook your world up a bit too. Stay educated but don’t preach.  You’re not better than anyone else just because you eat only raw veggies, or hunt, slaughter, and cook all your own meat, or don’t drink coffee,  or only eat local, or were vegan before being vegan was even a thing.

But seriously, stop drinking soda.  TGIF!

 
-Cassiel Archdeacon

TGIF

Friday May 25, Third week of May 2012. Woah.

Kentucky Derby: one of those things that I didn’t know was going on until it was going on. Apparently the case surrounding the first boy on a milk carton, which isn’t even a thing anymore, has had some…developments. Bill Clinton takes pic with porn stars. I think that’s fine. Lots of talk about American Idol, but I’m not exactly sure what about, because I don’t care at all. But I do care that Kristen Wiig is leaving SNL. I think I’m in love with her, I think she’s my American Idol, and I think the world is about to be a darker place without her on network television. But obviously she’s just going to start doing other cooler, bigger, funnier things, so we digress.

And summer dress season has begun.

I like dresses, and clothes, and shoes, and earrings, and shopping. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. And I don’t think me pretending like I don’t give a shit about these materialistic feminine obsessions would make me hotter. I like putting outfits together. When (some) girls get bored, they try on everything in their wardrobe and dance around to Beyonce in front of the mirror. THIS IS NORMAL. I DO THIS.

But lately, when I’m out either shopping for summer dresses, or observing the monsoon of them that wash over the city, I become disillusioned by the summer dress. We’re all just wearing summer dresses. We all look the same. Yours might be blue with cap sleeves, flowers, and an A-line (I know these terms because I’m interested in them) while hers is a yellow maxi halter, and mine is red with a sweetheart top and ties in the back, but ultimately we’re just a bunch of girls wearing summer dresses, and they’re all the same. None of us stand out. Did anyone notice my brand-new summer dress? No. Every girl in America is wearing one.

At my place of work, girls come in with their summer dresses and their high heels that they can’t even walk in (Don’t wear them if you can’t walk in them! You look like an idiot teetering around! Not sexy!) and they just stand around posing and taking pictures of each other and asking men to take pictures of them drinking lemontinis. To…showcase their summer dress and matching heels? And their social life, as being filled with girls just like them? STOP. YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME.

I hate when girls say they hate girls. Someone said it to me just the other day. Some tough chick. What is that? A pick-up line? I infer that to mean you relish being “just one of the guys” because you get all the attention, and you purport to be above the catty shit and the drama and the clothes. You’re way cooler and better because of that, and for that reason you think/hope guys will like you more, think you’re different, and be more attracted to you because you’re not like the other girls.  But you’re putting on a front, and you’ve never known what it’s like to have real girlfriends. And you’re missing out.

Because my girlfriends and I don’t go out to take pictures of each other, and drink lemontinis. We might end up taking a picture or two (or three or four, but that’s when I start to get uncomfortable) while out drinking gin and tonics, but we’re out to mingle and converse with strangers, and each other, about real shit, and silly shit too, and dance, which we know how to do, and have new experiences and see new things, and yes, get attention, and be weird, and giggle and flirt, and we just happen to look good while doing it. That’s secondary. But yes, very much part of it.

We don’t steal each other’s boyfriends. Sometimes yeah we cry in front of each other, but not exclusively over boys who don’t text us back. And when someone bumps into us, we do not fume and throw the stink eye around.

I want to regain my faith in the summer dress, but you ladies are making it difficult. Dance in your summer dress, by all means, make a summer salad in your summer dress, but for the love of God stop getting wasted and sitting with your legs wide open! And stand up straight. Your hunch is so unbecoming and takes away from your pretty summer dress, which I haven’t seen before, you must not have gotten it from H&M or Forever 21! How evolved!

There’s a time and a place to have a sing-a-long with your girlfriends while wearing summer dresses, getting summer drunk, and listening to top 40 or early 90s pop music, but it’s not EVERY night at EVERY lame bar you go to in DuPont Circle. You’re giving us all a bad name, and mostly just hurting your own chances of getting a date with someone who isn’t drunk and singing along to Sugar Ray.

Do you not see this as a problem?

If not, good for you. You will forever be charmed by the inbreeds who wear the equivalent of the summer dress: the bright polo. Before you know it they all start blending together. And if we want to carry out the human race, someone needs to procreate with these bright polo-wearing goons, because I’m not going to.  So thank you for stepping up. I’ll take this picture of you and your 12 friends from so many angles with each of your 12 friend’s cameras. The Facebook peanut gallery is gonna go nuts! “Omg you’re all so gorgeous! “ will echo from the comments. “Soooo pretty” will have a trail of y’s.

Maybe this is just about money. I don’t want to spend money on a dress that everyone else has, or a dress that’s just gonna make me feel like another girl in a dress. But I fear this is more an issue of principle.  Can I stand out in an ordinary summer dress? Because if you’re going to be the spokespersons for girls everywhere, I need to stand out.

Stop being so predictable and say something interesting. Because I need a new summer dress.

At least it’s Friday, TG.

TGIF

Lotta kiddos graduated from college this past weekend, or as I like to call it, fantasyland. And when I say kiddos, I mean kiddos, because the next few years are gonna be a rude awakening, and they’re gonna be tough, and they’re gonna be fun, and they’re gonna be existential, and they’re gonna be thrilling, and sexy. Consider what you are about to embark upon as “life college.” Be ready and willing to LEARN.

New French presy. Trayvon autopsy reveals knuckle injuries and a tragic score for Zimmerman’s case. Will Khloe Kardashian get a DNA test?! Will shits be given?!

This cutie.

Is anyone else as excited about Britney being on X-factor as I am? Aside from all of my Archdeacon girl cousins, because Lord knows they are. Are you brats even reading this?

Facebook…going public…money…IPO…young people…

Tough week for black musicians. Chuck Brown AND Donna Sommers passed. Oh wait, can I say black? This hipster racism controversy is mammoth and uncomfortable and I don’t know how to feel about it, other than uncomfortable. Especially in coming to terms with the fact that I am probably racist, and so are you, and no one’s safe. But I’m never going to think whispering “black” with a hand shield when describing someone is the PC way of doing so. She’s black. I’m white. You can call me white. It’s what I am. It’s not fair all that comes along with that. It’s awful that we’re reduced to our race, which doesn’t even exist, but I guess we are. So if you call me white, can I call you black?

Am I making a fool out of myself?

Locally, the dialogue has taken form in a firing squad on my friend’s food truck, the Fojol Brothers, who travel around wearing flamboyant outfits, in a flashy tin truck, hailing from the made-up land of Merlindia, serving GOOD food to the masses in a quasi-circus act. They happen to serve primarily Indian-inspired, but also Ethiopian and Thai food, while wearing turbans, fake mustaches, gold, sequins, bold stripes, bright colors, and large pants. They’re probably the most popular food truck in DC.

And then some guy, a white guy, maybe he’s a man, I don’t know, posted to Facebook a furious critique of their manifestation of hipster racism. But it’s cool because he has an Indian friend. Needless to say, people are talking.

Part of me is like Dude, chill out. Let these folks (who are ethnically diverse, is that the best way to say that? I’m not being sarcastic. I want to know) wear silly vests, serve tasty food that people love, and have a gimmick.  This country is all about gimmicks. Are white people even allowed to speak on racism? Wait, isn’t that what I’m doing right now? Should I stop? AM I MAKING A FOOL OUT OF MYSELF?

And then there’s the part of me that’s like, well, is this racist?  Are these cultures being mocked?  Are they even being portrayed?  This white guy certainly has the right to speak out against something that he finds offensive, even if the offense is not directed toward him. But they’re not intentionally directing offense toward anyone. But if it’s being perceived as such does that even matter? If one person is offended, (and more are stepping forward in an internet-sort-of-way) is that game-over? Is this all just one big misunderstanding? Is the mere conviction of such trivializing, and egregiously insensitive? Is this me being racist?

Hipster racism is real, and it is fucked up. And we think that just because we have a degree and liberal views and took some sociology classes in college and have a couple black friends and voted for Obama, that we’re above racism, and so making racially-charged jokes is okay. It’s funny. Chill bruh. Howcome I can’t use the n-word, but you can?

Personally, I’m not looking to use the n-word. I won’t, ever. But can I listen to Jay-Z? Because if I can’t, if I can’t play Aaliyah’s We Need A Resolution album for the rest of my life, that’s going to be a huge problem for me.

Have I shot myself in the foot yet? This is really hard. I don’t know why I took this on.

I think that I am a relatively culturally-aware person. I recognize my privilege. And living in this city, this neighborhood in particular, I’m reminded of it everyday. I’m very hesitant to laugh at those questionable jokes, and very critical of your “white girl problems.” (even more so your “super white girl problems.”)

The other day (a couple months ago) I was talking to this guy who lives in the living room of an apartment, and I was asking him if he had any sort of privacy, like a divider or curtain or something. It’s not what you think! It might be what you think. It’s not what you think. Anyway, he was like “yeah I have these folding doors,” and I was all “Oh, like those Japanese folding screens?” And he goes “yeah, I was gonna say that but I didn’t want to sound racist.”

Yikes! Immediately, I said “If saying the name of a culture is racist then…” Shit, I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was good and it was quick and he was like “Woah, you’re right.”

I don’t know where I’m going with this, and I’m trying to be as sensitive as possible here.  I just want somebody to explain my ignorance to me. We need to be sensitive about these things, and our post-modern attempt to be hyper-ironic all the time is exhausting, obnoxious, and a slippery slope. But when do we become too sensitive? What can we laugh at? Dave Chapelle? Because people are in stitches over Chapelle’s Show. We’re not above racism, or past it. It is alive and well and living on my block. And I don’t know if I’m a hipster or not, or what that even means anymore, I’m pretty sure nothing, but I guess I could see how I might fit into that box, which is limiting and unfair, but if I’m referring to a mixed group of people, and I need to identify someone, I want to be able to say “The Hispanic woman” without that being racist. Not because otherwise it’s a hassle, but because she is Hispanic. And that’s beautiful. And wonderful. And need not be ignored, evaded, or overlooked. And she’s hanging out with a black woman, an Asian man, a white couple, and two Indian sisters. And that’s fucking awesome. And that’s the future. But she just dropped her wallet. The Hispanic woman. And my hands are full so could you please go run and give it to her?

I draw no conclusions. I couldn’t possibly. Of course this post has no picture, because what picture would I put?! This is really difficult, and uncomfortable, and it should be uncomfortable, and there needs to be a dialogue. All I know is that I smile and say “Good morning” to everyone I pass on the street. And they usually smile back and say “Good morning, sweetheart. Beautiful day isn’t it?” And I say “Sure is.” That’s gotta stand for something.

Or maybe that doesn’t mean anything and I’m just a naïve white girl who doesn’t get it. I’m trying. Know that I’m trying.

Thank God It’s Friday.

TGIF

Obama endorses same-sex marriage! Which, frankly, he really needed to do.  It may have been little more than a strategic political move, but we got Barry back.  The man we thought we elected, who, like, cares about the underdog, and makes decisions, and is a Democrat. Thought we lost ya there, pal!  Nice to have you b(ar)ack.

But seriously, did anything else happen this week? Anything that doesn’t pale in comparison? Oh yeah, the CIA thwarted an Al Qaeda bomb plot. No big deal.  Maurice Sendak, beloved children’s author of Where The Wild Things Are, who didn’t even like children, died.  And Hillary Clinton is just a boss, in so many ways.

And Avengers.

Well in my personal life, I am faced with a classic early 20s problem. An early 20-something in 2012.  A beggar who wants to choose!

After a wonderful and really real visit with my mommy, who is also a boss in so many ways, and never fails to put everything into perspective, give me a confidence boost, while criticizing my generation, get silly tipsy, and ridicule my house’s ant problem, she also convinced me to quit my job.

Some background. I’ve been working in the restaurant industry since my college graduation. I know I’m supposed to be embarrassed about that, but I’m just not. Please, don’t feel bad for me. I beg of you. I support myself completely. I sleep in. I go to museums during off-hours. I catch matinees. I have breakfast dates, and my lunch dates last for hours. I’ve thoroughly explored the DC coffee shop scene. I can buy myself things. I can go to New York at the drop of a hat, and pretty much do once a month.  And when I am working, I’m moving. I’m talking to people. I’m practicing public speaking. I’m maintaining a very high level professionalism. I’m learning a LOT about food, beer, and wine. And I’m working my ass off, with fun people from all different walks of life. And going out for drinks after work isn’t Happy Hour. It’s the seasoned, cool, late night week bar crowd. Who knows what they’re doing.

I’m not trying to validate anything. I’m trying to make you jealous.

But, no, I don’t want to be in the service industry forever. I will always respect it. I will always tip 20%, because I know how hard it is, I know the degree of bullshit that one has to deal with on a regular basis, I know how much goes into making a restaurant run if even remotely smoothly; it’s a whole lot. But, I do think my skills could be put to better use in a different, perhaps more intellectual environment. I spend many days applying to jobs (yeah, in coffee shops) hoping for my big break, but apprehensive about giving up this quite luxurious lifestyle for a desk, a commute, office politics, slacks, flats, and overall dronedom. Knowing that I have the rest of my life to be on the Monday through Friday 401k HMO grind, I truly relish my off-beat schedule, and wonder what the rush is to get rid of it.

Benefits would be nice, though. The security of a salary. Being able to go to things that everyone else is going to. Cooking myself dinner. Watching and keeping up with a primetime network television show. Weekends. And yeah, having a better answer to the question “So, what do you do?” usually asked first in an introductory DC conversation.

And so then I got one. A job. Not a “real job,” you asshole. I already had a real job, that paid me real money, that I paid my real bills with. But one of those jobs that looks good on a resume, that’s relevant, with general working hours between 9am and 5pm. Of the sea of applications I sent out, I remember being particularly excited about this Multimedia Editor position. Oolala! And then all of a sudden I’m nailing the interview. And then all of a sudden I get an offer. And then all of a sudden I’m working in an office (PART-TIME) on a horrific hourly wage transcribing (mostly government) files for a contracting company an hour away on public transpo in Virginia. Sitting in a room of about 10 people roughly my age with headphones on, transcribing. Our primary mode of communication amongst each other being gchat.

So I’m gchatting with people ten feet away from me whom I’ve never had a face-to-face interaction with. I eat lunch alone in the blindingly white kitchen, and feel like I may as well be in a bathroom stall of my junior high.  And then I rush to my next job and work til 10:30, maybe 11:30 at night. And then I wake up at 7:30 and do it all over again.

Now, some of the files are genuinely interesting. The Army Investigation I did the other day read like a real murder mystery! I was emotionally invested in the characters, and for lack of a better phrase, on the edge of my seat, reacting audibly to several plot twists. But that conference on China’s economy almost put me to sleep.  And the hour-long investigation on the US Marshall who used US Marshall letterhead in a fax to the judge he was hoping would waive his son’s traffic violation fees was infuriating. And listening to the voicemails of a government official, MOSTLY FROM SEARS AND HIS DOCTOR’S OFFICE, was enough to make me blow my brains out.

I was looking forward to going to the Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) conference on Tuesday (to record, take notes, and then later transcribe…), but then they said they didn’t need us.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission public meeting today should be interesting, but it really throws a wrench in my plan of quitting.

Oh yeah, I’m definitely quitting.  I mean, I have to. I can’t do this.  I can’t sit at a computer for hours on end typing verbatim whatever is coming into my ears with the only hopes of moving up typing faster and getting maybe 2 more dollars an hour. In six months! Fuck that. My neck hurts.

There are no ideas. I’m a robot. I contribute nothing unique to this team. I’m not valued for anything more than the scripts I produce, and the efficiency with which I produce them. I know I have to start somewhere, but this is not it. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for way too long to settle for this shit. I’ll stick to waiting tables, thank you, and happily make a few less bucks a week for my free mornings and spontaneous Wednesdays.

But that’s the question. Am I really in the position of turning down anything? A recent college grad in a devastating economy?

Today as I ate cake in the office kitchen to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this company I feel no connection to, after the president said a few words about how we got here, (couldn’t have done it without us!) I felt like I was having an out of body experience. Is this what life is? Is this what being a grown up is about? Is adulthood really this mundane? Is office culture really as ridiculous as it is on TV and in the movies?

I hope not. I reeeeeally hope not. I know there are cool, exciting, vibrant offices out there doing commendable work with big ideas. And I aspire to work in one some day. Some day soon. Ultimately, I’m not sure an office is the place for me, but I’m willing to put in my time.

And I know we’re in the throes of a crippling recession, and our college degrees aren’t worth what they once were. But I refuse to sell out. I refuse to become a drone. I refuse to hate my life.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, because these other transcribing cats seem to really like it. They take it very seriously, and for them, this is their big break. That’s great. We need people like that. Sensitive government and private sector files need transcribing! I’m just not gonna be the one transcribing them…come, say, Tuesday of next week.

But I’ve taken something from this experience, of course. After two weeks of gruelingly long days, no free time, and borderline soul selling, I’m really going to make better use of the free time I do have once I get it back, say, Tuesday of next week. (Oh God, quitting is going to be so awkward. It’s going to involve me gchatting her from 8 feet away, and asking if I can speak with her privately, in…the hallway?) In addition to applying to jobs I’m worthy of, while still recognizing I have to start at the bottom, I get that, I’m also going to heed John’s advice. With the world ending in just seven short months (which obviously isn’t going to happen, you guys realize this right?), I’m going to focus more on two things: reading and running. I’m going to read more books and run more runs.

MAN! Thank God It’s Friday.