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Shelf Space Cartoons Bar

Public Bar in Dupont quickly became one of my favorite spots a few weeks ago. Rooftop bar, great music, and decent drink prices solidified it as a go-to haunt for my girlfriends and me.  So it was no surprise when after dinner at Raku on Saturday, we settled on heading there – just Boots and me.

On our last evening there, Boots, J-mint and I received a lesson from a couple guys who came up to talk to us. They informed us that a group of 3 women is extremely intimidating for a guy and his wingman to approach. 2 is perfect, 4 is okay, but 3 is impossible. Truthfully, this didn’t make much sense to me, but I guess it’s that one “extra” person that overwhelms the pursuer. Perhaps one guy feels weird having to hold a potential conversation with 2 girls. I would think this would be less of a pressure situation because the awkward pause factor diminishes when there are more people to talk to – but on the flip side, when there IS an awkward pause…it’s probably super uncomfortable with 3 people looking around and into their drinks searching for the next thing to say when compared to 2. With 2, you can just start making out and that takes away the tension (hopefully) – am I right? Yes? No? Maybe?

It was an interesting lesson to think about and one both Boots and I remembered as the pair of us headed toward Public bar. We knew it was going to be a top night.

So we grabbed a beer, scoped out the scene, gossiped, listened to music – a great start to a summer evening in DC – we didn’t see anyone in our first perusal who piqued our interest so we just continued to hang out and people-watch. Then Boots spotted a relatively cute guy (Scruffy) laughing with some friends. I told her I’d play wing-gal if she wanted to chat him up…but she played the “shy” card and we watched as he sat down next to some girl and began talking with her.

“Ugh – I guess I missed my chance – I should have said something!” Boots lamented.

“Yo – maybe she’ll puke and then you can swoop in for clean-up…” I said.

We continued to watch Scruffy and Girl banter…when suddenly Girl bolted up. I leaned into Boots, “what just happened?”

“I don’t know…” As Boots and I stared (openly gawking now), Girl turned around, and splayed across her back were chunks of purple vomit (we’ll go with red wine as the culprit). The Puker hung over the back of the bench Girl had just vacated. Scruffy looked a little green.  A crowd stared on as she puked again down the bench. Girl, rightfully pissed, escaped that spray of projectile mastery and headed toward the bathroom/home/a large hole…

Boots and I couldn’t believe it.

“Well – that’s gonna be quite a conversation starter for the rest of the night – hey…did you see the chick that got puked on?” We shook our heads with Scruffy, in disbelief that what had just happened had just happened.

“Did you get any on you?” I asked him.

“Thank God – no – I have a really weak stomach. If it had touched me, I would have puked on you, you would have puked on her (he pointed at Boots)…”

“Yeah it would be like a domino chain of projectile vomit,” I laughed.

We talked a bit longer then Scruffy moseyed back to his friends as Boots and I tapped off our latest beer and continued our night.

The next day, I shared this story as the highlight of our evening with Sis and Co. I still couldn’t believe it, and was more than grateful it wasn’t my back that became a Rorschach painting. We wondered how Girl coped – I’d have gone straight home in an effort to get clean. And apparently we weren’t the only ones that thought about Girl…

Boots emailed me last night: Subject Line: OMG!!!! with a link in the body of the email:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/mis/1243969202.html

I clicked on it as you should do, but for those of you who are lazy…here’s where it takes you/what it said:

Washington DC Craig’s List/District of Columbia/Missed Connections

Girl that got puked on at Public – m4w – 26 (DC)

Reply to: pers-usqwn-1243969202@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-06-28, 3:13PM EDT

We were talking for a bit and having a good time, then out of nowhere, some drunk bitch projectile vomited on us (98% on you). You took off to the bathroom while I tried to coax my weak stomach into not throwing up myself. I didn’t see you again after that, probably for good reason.

The throw-up brought them even closer together. And just think…if they hadn’t been sitting there, and she hadn’t been puked all over, it may have ended like most Saturday bar nights – with a bar-make-out session, perhaps worthy of on-lookers before going their separate ways. As it is, apparently it was love and how they met will definitely make a great story for their grand-kids.

**Picture courtesy of ShelfSpaceCartoons.com

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So you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. I’ve had blog-block. Funny, random and awkward things keep happening, but I have no clue how to sort them into coherent thoughts to share with you all. After receiving a slight onslaught of complaints for my inactivity, I’ve finally sat down to write something…

Like many of you, I spend close to and sometimes more than 8 hours a day at work. Though I don’t particularly like blogging about my job, mainly because I would like to keep it, sometimes it’s impossible not to since so much of my time is spent in the office. I’m lucky that most of my co-workers are laid back enough that if they read any post where I mention them, I think they’d just laugh. At least I hope they would.

A few days ago, I popped into my co-worker’s office. She has two little boys, so we often swap stories about her kids and my nephews. Mainly we laugh at them and their antics. This is how we digress and refocus our eyes from the blurried distortion Excel spreadsheets cause.

I shared with Co-Worker a fact that many of my close friends and family know about me and a trait most of them hate. I DETEST being teased. I do not take it well AT ALL. With that being said, I dish it out quite liberally. People seem to think that because I can hold my own in a battle of sarcastic will, I should be able to accept the same treatment in kind. I just can’t do it. But in all fairness, I am working on it.

Co-Worker commented that her oldest son, at 7, is much the same way:

“Thing#1 hates to be teased too and the other day at daycare some girl came up to him with a Cootie-Catcher (*Editor’s note: I had no idea what this was and thus asked her to explain). A  Cootie-Catcher is like a fortune teller for kids.”

cootie_partyAfter you go through various hula-hoops, you end up with a fortune. In the case of Thing#1, his fortune was his future occupation. He picked a color; LittleGirl spelled the color. Then he picked a number; LittleGirl counted the number. Then, she told him to choose the number 3 to reveal his life’s path.

It said: HOBO.

He was devastated.

She probably liked him, right?

I felt for the little guy. Heart hanging there on his sleeve as he blindly chooses a fate doomed to living beneath an underpass with nothing to keep him warm but malt-liquor in a grody brown bag. Teasing sucks. Love hurts. And so it goes…

Cootie-Catcher (I personally think this sounds like a disease — and not a pleasant one) reminded me of another fortune game I used to play with my elementary, middle, and yes probably high school friends: MASH.

Ring a bell?

M- Mansion

A- Apartment

S- Shack

H- House

My friends and I’d sit in the back of the bus and script these letters at the top of our 3-ring notebook paper. From there, we’d pick categories: Husband, Car, Money, Occupation, Pet, Bridesmaids, Color, Relationship Status, Location.

I’d get to pick one of the boys for husband, but for the most part the FortuneTeller (FT) fills in the selections under the categories. FT’d then draw slashes until I said stop, count them up and begin to run down the list for my future life. Then, when the magic number was hit, FT’d cross through everything until 1 item was left in each category. At that, my future was set:

KT will be a waitress living in a House, married to PerfectBoy in Hawaii. He’ll be a lawyer. They’ll have 2 kids, a boy and a girl (sometimes we’d give specific names to imaginary children). V will be her bridesmaid and wear blue in her wedding. PerfectBoy and KT will have a Golden Retriever and drive a Range Rover.

And I’d believe it to be so…it’s funny how when we’re young, we put so much stock into these silly games. I would have rather died than to end up with TL (the whiny kid who picked his nose in Music class) and who would actually desire to become a hobo? We’d spend hours on the playground trying to act grown up, and when someone would show us a future we didn’t want to see, we’d throw a fit.

As I’ve grown-up, the tantrums have faded, but I still remember the effects of those pastimes – how I’d cringe in anticipation of my future and how absolutely shattered I’d be when it didn’t come out “cool.” The other kids would laugh that I was marrying TL and we were going to spend our days in a Shack. And I’d remember their laughs long after the bus ride ended.

So I guess this is how I developed my hatred of being teased and later the defense mechanism to dish it back in force.

Co-Worker ended our little chat with, “As Thing#1 and I drove home that evening, I told him he needed to get thicker skin….that the little girl was trying to play a game with him, that she was joking. But he just pinched his arm and said his skin was thick enough as it is.”

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Living with my sister, her husband and my 3 nephews (LittleMan, Cue-ball, and Pea) spells chaos but it’s probably the best part of my decision to leave NY for DC. I battle them with a Storm Trooper helmet balancing precariously on my head (the helmet is child’s size) while they beat me with their light-sabers. They run me over with their Lego spaceships. I’m forced to watch the same SpongeBob episode after dinner that we watched that morning, the day before, and last week. I’ve learned the words to Drake & Josh’s theme song and actually think ICarly is pretty good.

If you don’t have kids, especially boys, the above may not make much sense, but trust me when I say…being part of it all is a blast! So when Sis asked me to go with her to a birthday party last weekend for one of Cue-ball’s friends, I said sure.

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The party was here, an hour twenty minutes away from where we live and we sped to get there on time. Pump It UP! sits on a stretch of business park buildings and looks like a warehouse from the outside. Inside, it’s color-coded in a basic Crayola scheme. We were hurriedly ushered down a hallway into the “romper room.” Five inflatable moon-bounces jiggled as 40+ four-year-olds hurled themselves up and down blown-up slides and against castle walls. Cue-ball dove over a little girl in pink to pound his way up the ramp. Survival of the fittest, and in this case, most agile. At the top, in a king-of-the-world stance, he propelled himself down the slide landing on his head before leaping off to do it again.

The social interaction of four-year-olds is an interesting dynamic to behold. There were kids everywhere while parents stood either with cameras flashing or arms crossed honing their radars solely on their own child. See, it’s their responsibility to make sure their kid and their kid only is having a fantastic time. But with all these children running in every direction, I was struck by how very little they actually interacted. For the most part, they did their own thing independent of one another. Watching Cue-ball, I quickly realized he was totally fine with playing alone. Grant it, he was surrounded by pre-school tots, but he bounded over and through the blow-up-obstacles without really paying attention to anyone around him. I leaned over to Sis, “You know…I was a lot like Cue-ball, wasn’t I?” She just smiled tolerantly at me…I took that as a “duh.”

Growing up, I was as content by myself as I was when playing with others. My response when asked why I didn’t want to go and play with them was just a simple shrug, “I’m okay over here.” “Over here” being alone by the blocks or with a coloring book. Mom tells me I used to say, “I don’t need friends.”

But occasionally for some, they need to feel accepted and know when they’re not even at that young an age. As Sis and I stood off from the group, we observed a little girl crumble, sobbing to her mother that “nobody at the party liked her.” She walked over to a little corner, bent her head to her knees, and cried. Then as we watched, she ran into her mom’s legs and glanced up at us. Her mom confided, “T (the birthday girl) didn’t say hi when Em (her daughter) and I got here. I told Em that everyone is here to see T and so she’s very busy today, but…”

moonbounce_slide

I looked down at poor Em, “Hi Em, I’m KT. It’s nice to meet you…have you tried the slide yet? I hear it’s awesome.” She hesitantly smiled and nodded. “Can you show me?” She looked up at her mom and raced off. As she bobbed up the ramp, her mom leaned over, “Just because T didn’t say hi, Em thinks no one likes her. I don’t know what to say…what do you say? They don’t understand when you tell them it’s not their fault…You don’t want to make a big deal about it. But she’s so conscious of being liked and if she’s ignored, she assumes nobody likes her.” I waved up at Em, and with a gap-tooth grin, she catapulted down the slide. “I guess she’s fine now,” her mom announced. And that was it. A five minute spell and Em had completely recovered, grabbing the hand of another girl as they climbed up and over the bouncing apparatus.

Maybe it’s because I’m twelve years apart from my nearest sibling and so was kind-of an only child that I was satisfied when it was just my Barbies and me. Or maybe I had some serious social issues, but clearly as I’ve grown older, I realize the value of friendship. I love my friends and the support and camaraderie we share with each other. But in many ways, I’m still the same kid. I’m totally comfortable alone. And it always surprises me to hear people say they could never sit at a coffee shop or park by themselves, that they would most definitely need someone across from them. Because to me alone is okay and quiet is okay…so maybe, I haven’t changed that much after all.

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Weighing the odds has never been my strong suit. When I try to rationalize, naturally I’m biased toward what I want the outcome to be whether or not I openly admit it. I find this attitude trickling down into all aspects of my life. Sometimes it’s a big deal like moving from NYC to DC while others, it’s something small and often ridiculous. This post covers the latter.

Technology occasionally drives me nuts. I hate being utterly accessible to all people at all times.  I want to shout, “What did you do before there were cell phones…you realize sometimes people would go DAYS even WEEKS without talking and that this was normal?”

Now, don’t get me wrong…while I feel this way in sporadic bursts, I remain unlikely to smash my phone into the side of a building. That said, I am often amazed that people can reach me through many different avenues, and thus get mad at me if I don’t reply in due time (aka 45 seconds).  While you all know how I feel about “He’s Just Not That Into You” (see here), I do think that the writers got a few things right.

Drew Barrymore plays the “techie romantic” in the movie (no I cannot believe I’m referencing this film again, but bear with me) and she says one line that clicks things into place perfectly for me, “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

It is exhausting Drew. And as I sat with my DC girls on Sunday morning, re-hashing the events of Saturday night, I felt that familiar weight of technology’s force and the events didn’t even happen to me. The night wasn’t spectacularly different from any other Saturday. We went out, had a good time, came home, passed out and of course Sunday brunch brought out eggs, smoothies, and a detailed account of everyone’s opinion of the previous evening’s events, no matter how small-seeming or trivial.

Enter: Cowbell* (she’ll probably hate me for this nickname, but I gave her fair warning…it’s not my fault she was too hungover to give me possible alternatives). I probably will not do justice to her story, but I’m going to try my best in her no-nonsense style.

Cowbell met a guy in a bar a few weeks ago. They went on a date and had a really good time and suddenly she found herself sucked into a cellphone’s keypad. She had to learn to master…textual relations.

When we’re single women, the early beginnings of a relationship are often the biggest hurdle. We (if this is just me, I’m going to be slightly embarrassed) over-analyze EVERYTHING. We try to out-play, out-think, out-smart the opposite sex. We crave the upper hand in communication, and think that to get it, we have to forfeit initial contact in favor of waiting…and waiting…and waiting…No matter what the self-assured feminist says about “old-school courting practices,” I believe that they still get the second-guess jitters when it comes to who makes the first move.

Do/Should I becomes a powerful mantra. Our friends say no when he hasn’t texted us or if he has, we have to wait at least 15 minutes before responding so he doesn’t think we’re too eager. Is 15 minutes the new cut-off point between over-zealous and aloof? These ponderings become our textualizations (pardon the play-on-words).

But there is a soft spot for many girls…a weakness, one point where all of our over-thinking can be erased, when we can no longer resist those urges to text on pure principle.

It begins with a vodkacran.

What earlier in the night was no I will not text him tonight suddenly seems far too harsh. It gradually fades into well maybe I’ll just see what he’s up to…no big deal.…so it goes.

Cowbell* had her Grad Program Formal on Saturday night. She may not have made the declarative statement to not text 3B (yes a double negative…do the math), but she is a pretty typical girl. And after a few drinks she found her phone in her hands and her thumbs tapping,

“SO I’m OUT.” (insert Long Island Mental-accent). She shared with us on Sunday that this was what she came up with after several failed attempts…all of which ended up in her drafts folder. I’m not really sure why she thought she would lead with this phrase.

“Cowbell, you realize that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What’d you expect him to say? Congrats?” I asked.

She just shrugged sheepishly, “OH it gets better.”

Here flows the highlights of the typesation as I heard Cowbell tell it with her Sunday morning reactions inter-spliced as (*):

3B: haha yeah? Where?

Draft: Homn VA

CB (actual text): Yeah..i’m in YA. zip you were her.

3B:  ? zip

*Cowbell took this to mean zip code. As she told us Sunday, “How am I supposed to know the zip code for Arlington, Virginia? I live in DC.” And apparently she didn’t respond fast enough.

3B: Dónde Está? E va?

*JuniorMint interrupted, “Dude, did he actually text you in Spanish? He knows you don’t speak it, right?”

Cowbell answered, “Well yeah, I think it was a mix of both, but he knows I speak Italian…maybe that’s what he was going for?”

And I chimed in, “Yo, he probably thought it’d be funny for you to try to figure out what he was saying.”

“Yes, real funny KT,” Cowbell said.

CB: I’m in Clarendon.

*Sunday Morning CB declares, “I have no idea how I managed to get that out and spell it correctly at that.”

3B: I’m out too…in Baltimore.

…and so it went…ending suddenly a few texts later. No goodbye, good night, good riddance.

I concluded, “You know…since the texts ended so abruptly, for all he knows you could be dead in some alley in Y-A. You should text him….SO I made it back in one piece to the DC zip code.”

JuniorMint announced, “No…you should say Bitch, you know I don’t speak Spanish.”

Cowbell’s saving grace as she sees it is that he has to know she was extremely intoxicated and it was only casual texts. Thankfully, she didn’t declare her unwavering love for all things 3Be. She didn’t beg, plead, or profoundly utter that he had changed her life (none of these are actually the case by the way)

She hadn’t heard from him when we talked Sunday morning.

As such, we have no clue if she will…but we still sat around a dining room table reenacting the entire line of textual communication because that’s what WE do.  When we measure whether it’s a good or bad idea, when we agonize over to send, what we sent, how we sent it, we think we’re being rational because we took the time to weigh through all of the outcomes. We’re not. Sometimes we just need to let go and loosen up like good ol’ Cowbell. Her declarative, “So I’m OUT” put her out there and she’s totally okay with that. Meanwhile, the rest of us like Drew are exhausted. But all in all, my bet is he will text her again…maybe not until a few days from now, but he will. And at some point after that, there may even be some time for make-up texts.

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*A best friend from college who hails from CT via her Long-Island accent. She’s blunt, loyal and dedicated. And one time she learned the proper way to punch. She’s never forgotten it.

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I recently “went” blond and the day after, my mom asked me “so are you having more fun?”

I didn’t get it until she elaborated, “you know…cause blonds always have more fun.”

If we stay along this line of thinking, blonds also say stupid things that make everyone look around at each other in an unsurprised, roll of the eyes, “that’s our -insert name-” type way. Their comments through the decades have provided for endless hours of amusement.

I guess then it was bound to happen eventually. All that bleach soaking into my head would invariably cause some type of brain damage. So this weekend…after a month blond and no real “dumb” statements, it finally cracked, my brain that is. I spent Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia catching up with some college friends, one of whom was in town from California.  Naturally, because she was a visitor, we decided to do some touristy things. We force-fed her a cheesesteak and beer, then went into the old city to ring the Liberty Bell.

The building is situated on a large patch of grass, set kind of like the Mall in Washington DC. At one end is the Constitution Museum (a really cool attraction) and at the other is an older structure. The four of us were walking towards the older one when I asked,

“So what is that building? It looks pretty old.”

A long pause ensued in the group. Then,

“Katie,” MB said straight-faced, “that’s Independence Hall. It’s where America became America.”

Clearly I should have known this hall’s importance, but perhaps the streaks of blond were suffocating my naturally brown locks. Perhaps there was a guerrilla coup taking place atop my head in which the new majority was out to overthrow the previous ruler, thus securing and permanently enforcing a new “blond” ideology. Perhaps. Or maybe at least for now I can blame it on that rather than admit that I was unaware of the historical significance of that building. But hey, at least I got to put my John Hancock on the Constitution guestbook in front of a bronze Ben Franklin.

…he did sweep that scrawl on the Constitution…didn’t he?*

*Note: I realize that John Hancock did in fact sign the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. A historical tidbit that I may or may not have known when I stepped into the Constitution Center this past weekend.

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On Saturday night, I got together with some friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile. They were girlfriends I knew in college who I could always count on to stop and listen when I had something to say. The four of them live together in DC, and I ventured in from the Burbs to spend a few quality hours conversing over wine and cheese. The best thing about these four girls is that they are all great storytellers. Each one has a different style and while it often conflicts with another group members’, when I get together with them, I know I’m in for a good time. After spending all day Saturday cooped indoors with 3 toddlers while it deluged outside, I was ready for some adult talk.

We sat in the kitchen of their beautiful townhouse as Kate* cooked brie with marionberry jam and brown sugar and JuniorMint* arranged a cracker platter. Dodge poured the wine.

After a glass of wine and an initial catch-up session, the stories started to flow as we shared our adventures over the past year. JuniorMinty spent her year in the South, the dirty South working on a college campus as a Service Coordinator (I think that’s right) and she had plenty to dish about her experience, but the one that made my eyes water and my throat hoarse with laughter began:

“So one night I went into a Bojangles

And I was next in line behind a rather obese black woman who was giving her order to a scrawny white kid behind the counter. “What can I get you?” the kid asks. (In a southern accent Jess mimics the woman) “I’d like a bucket of your 12-piece fried chicken.”

The boy answers, “Is that for you to eat here or to go?”

And the woman says (still JuniorMint’s southern accent), “Boy, do’I look like I can eat a whole bucket of chicken bys myself?”

–and without missing a beat—The boy says, “Bitch I don’t know your life.”

At which point, JuniorMint says she stepped away slowly before anything else could get out of hand.

She finished…but not before adding with hand emphasis, “Guys, we’re talking really large.”

When we recovered, Kate reminded us of her experience in a Chinese restaurant where she was eating dinner with her family.

They were led to sit by the door to the kitchen and the kindly-looking Asian woman took their drink and meal orders before going through the double doors to place them. Kate and her family were chatting as usual when they heard some clanging in the back, and the doors flung open with the kindly-looking Asian woman backing out yelling, “You dumb fuck…I tell you 5 or 4 time…”

At which point Kate and her family, and now all of us were laughing so hard we can’t here the end of the conversation/story.

This was probably the 20th time I’ve heard that story…the first time being in Bath when we were all abroad. That line became a motto for the group…and we used it just about as often as we could in any situation, the most recent being JuniorMint’s interaction with a prank caller:“So the other day, some number calls Cowbell* and she doesn’t recognize it. Naturally I suggest we should call it back. The phone rings and a guy picks up, “Hello?” he answers. I clear my throat and say,

You dumb fuck I tell you 5 or 4 time to NOT kick my dog**…you kick my dog!

I couldn’t keep a straight face after that so I had to hang up…

Each story led to another story with elaborate descriptors to convey our points…

“You know…she’s tall and kind of Lurch-like, he’s the guy who always starts a story with yo, she’s the girl who makes herself ugly on purpose.”

And then we blow the story way out of proportion which is clearly how rumors get started…

“Wait, she broke up with him and now she’s pregnant. Who’s pregnant, not Sam? No one’s pregnant. They’re engaged. He got her pregnant and then dumped her. Isn’t he 40 and divorced. No he’s 30 and never been married…”

We all talk over each other, breaking off 1-1 conversations to interject our knowledge and version into the mix, until finally someone over-shouts the group and says:

“We’re talking about Sarah guys, not Sam and Sarah is not dumped, engaged, or pregnant.”

To which we all go…”Ohhhhh…” as if we knew that information all along.

I laughed so hard that night as we shared our latest awkwardness’, catastrophes, and adventures. And I realized that the best forum for a story is gathering around a kitchen counter with bottles of wine and the best audiences are the friends who know that this story, whatever it happens to be about, could only be told by you.

*names changed for obvious reasons.

**You Kick My Dog Prank Call

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