May 25, 2007

I'm a mature adult. Except when I'm not.

Every once in a while, you have one of those regression moments, one of those times where you see something, and your inner 5th-grader (or perhaps your inner Beavis) just takes over your brain. No matter how old you are, that little part of you stands up, takes notice, and takes over your head for a few, oddly gratifying moments. Most often, it is totally inappropriate, but also totally unavoidable.

I would say it probably happens more often with guys than girls, on average. And more often with me, I'm guessing, than most. I blame television. Yeah, television, that's it.

I had my most recent one last night, on the way home from class.

It's DC in the summertime, and that means that while many residents will be out of town on vacation, an even larger number of out-of-towners are choosing DC for their destination of choice: it's the annual Plague of Annoying Tourists. Often, large groups are distinguishable by their plumage, commonly taking the form of identical T-shirts displaying the name of the town/organization/school from which they are coming. This is what caught my attention last night.

Got on the train a little after 8pm, and found myself surrounded by blue tie-dye shirts, worn by a large group of girls, emblazoned with what I could only assume was the school these young ladies attended.

The school? Licking Valley.

I hoped for a minute that it was an all-girls school, until I saw a couple of boys wearing the same shirt. But still. Licking. Valley.

The prospect of their mascot is both delicious and disturbing.

I would like to find this place and visit the bookstore, if only to see if I could find a Licking Valley Cross-Country Shirt. I might never wear anything else.

May 16, 2007

Stop, drop, and... oh never mind

When I was in college, I lived in dorms that were mostly populated by freshmen (the last two years as an RA). What that meant was, among other things, the buildings in which I lived were inordinately fire-alarm-prone, and usually late at night. My job, of course, was to go round up the stragglers (i.e. the people who heard the alarm and decided they didn't feel like getting up) and send them outside. So you can imagine how popular that was in January. Anyway, fire alarms quickly became something not to take all that seriously.

You'd think that would change as an adult, but not really. At my previous office, I can remember several times when the fire alarm would sound, and most people would take a moment and try to figure out whether or not this was something they could get away with ignoring. We're talking people with kids, behaving more or less like college freshmen. In their cases, I think, it was mostly laziness: uncertain danger of fire compared with walking down and perhaps back up eight flights of stairs.

Fast forward to last night, around 11pm. I'm in my apartment, minding my own business, watching a little TV and winding down. All of the sudden, this bell starts going off in the hall. It was a feeble bell, and kind of intermittent, but it was definitely persistent and obviously trying to tell me something. It just wasn't that convincing. It took about fifteen seconds of hearing it for me to realize that it was most likely the building's fire alarm.

My first thought was, "That's your fire alarm? Seriously? Get that fixed, because that's just wrong." The fact that I wasn't sure it was a fire alarm in the first place means there's a problem. I then actually stood in my apartment and debated whether or not I was going to go outside. Part of me still wasn't convinced that what I was hearing was a fire alarm, the other half was flashing back to college and kind of assuming (hoping?) that it was just some false alarm. But I was in a high-rise apartment building, not some freshman college dorm, so the odds of a prank were pretty low.

Of course, hearing the sirens in the distance helped make up my mind. Definitely tipped the scales a bit. I then cursed myself for never getting around to making that renter's insurace call I'd been meaning to for a couple of months, and headed out to see what was going on.

It's never a good sign when you see, at the other end of your hall, a steady stream of people coming out of the stairwell and heading out the door (I live on the ground floor, hence near the exits).

I made my way up to the lobby, only to find about 50-60 people standing around, not doing much of anything. I thought that was a little odd. I mean, the fire alarm is going, there's a fire truck parked outside, and you're standing in the lobby like it's social hour. GO. OUTSIDE.

I went out the back door, and wandered down the building towards the opposite end away from my place, where I could see flashing red lights off of the buildings across the street. The fire crew was running hoses, heading for the hydrants, which didn't exactly help my optimism. I could see smoke coming from around the corner.

Turns out the apartment in question was on the first floor, on the opposite side and end of the building from me. It didn't seem that serious once I got there, a fair amount of smoke but no obvious flames. An ambulance came, but it wasn't needed, thankfully. I saw firefighters moving around, inside the apartment, but I never saw hoses running inside. Good news there as well. It seemed to be pretty well under control very quickly, nobody injured and no damage to the building. In fact, the firefighters never seemed to be in that much of a hurry, which I took as a good sign.

The story ended up being that the guy living in that apartment had a stove fire while doing some cooking. He was fine, the apartment, it seems, is intact, and we had quite a show going on outside for a little while. All's well that ends well, I guess.

But seriously, fix that damn bell.

May 14, 2007

It figures...

... that on the one day I'm in a kind of hurry, I hop in a cab with the World's Least Assertive Cab Driver. No exaggeration.

Coming up to a red light (where I feel obligated to mention, we were going to be making a right turn), the cab stops no fewer than five feet before the stop line, and made no moves to suggest making the right on red was even on his mind. Just waited patiently for the light to turn green (I looked for 'no turn on red.' didn't see it). On the way to the airport, he exhibited none of the maniacally aggressive cab-driver tendencies which most of us loathe and revile while driving near, but we do so tremendously appreciate when we're the ones benefiting from the onset of others' road rage. He let people merge. He didn't accelerate to stops, or jump from lane to lane at the first hint of a quicker line of traffic.

In short, he about drove me crazy.

I realize that we would all rather that more cab drivers would behave this way, but I'd just as soon they get enlightened when it better suits my needs. I don't think that's all that much to ask, is it?

I did see a couple of interesting things on the way, though:

A car turning into the flow of traffic with a steady stream of smoke coming from under its hood. The driver looked almost serenely unconcerned, which bothered me immensely. It bothered me that he wasn't bothered, and I was much happier once we passed him and made him someone else's problem.

If you travel down 23rd St to Constitution in the afternoon, you are no doubt accustomed to seeing the far right lane blocked by at least one car still parked at the meters, despite the fact cars aren't allowed to be there. The difference this time was that the lone offending vehicle was a WWII-era, olive drab Jeep. White star on the side and everything. I can only imagine Gen. Patton was off breaking a dollar for meter change.

The funniest thing about the trip was the car radio. Like many cabs, I'm sure, this one didn't exactly have a Bose premium sound system. Far from it. The upshot was that I got to listen to Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" with a disproportionately high bass level. Think about that: Carnie Wilson with Dr. Dre-level bass lines. It totally changed the song, which is to say it almost made it listenable. Almost.

Of course, Wilson Phillips was forever changed for me after I first heard The Dan Band. If you don't know who these guys are, you should, and here's why*:

I got to the airport and made my plane in plenty of time, so it was all good. But it wasn't quite the ride I was expecting, not by a long shot.

* safe for work, but there's a long-ish intro with some bleeped swearing.

May 2, 2007

Just.... A Little..... Farther...

I'm finished with classes for the semester, but I have to turn in a project (today/tonight) and do a final (this weekend) before I'm officially free. Then it's two-ish weeks of (relatively) minimal responsibility before summer classes start.

Just two semesters to go. Summer and Fall. Then I'm done. No. More. School.

Probably not ever.

I can't begin to describe how deliciously good that sounds. It will be topped, I admit, in August and December, but it's darn good for right now.

All I'll need to do then is figure out just what exactly the %$*@& I want to do with my life, and I'll be all set.
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