Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I am completely exhausted today for no reason at all. Well, maybe because the cat woke me at 3:30am (!) and then banged around the house loudly enough that I broke out in a sweat and sat bolt upright, scared that I had an intruder in the house. The alarm provides only a small amount of comfort in that situation, but it was set, so I was reasonably sure that no one else was in the house. (No one was. Stupid cat.)

On Monday, I had the day off and stayed home and knit, knit, knit. I only worked on one project, a beret-type hat with cables (for me). I made a lot of progress but I'm only a little more than halfway done. The cables slow down this project, but so does the ridiculously complicated pattern. Who knows, I may end up ripping this hat and doing it over again, depending on how egregious my pattern mistakes are. It's awfully hard to tell how it will look in the end, though, since it's scrunched up on the needles. The fact that it's black will hide a multiple of sins.

Also on Monday, one of TR's daughters came over for a knitting lesson. Someone gave her a kit composed of two super large needles and a ball of yarn big enough to make a scarf. I showed her what to do and how to hold the needles but she still struggled. She's in the second grade, but the dexterity needed for knitting still eludes her. She's very close to getting it, though. Amusingly, she took a little rest after each stitch, laying the knitting down and admiring it. The rest of the time, she told me stories about school, the books she was reading and her family. I didn't have to ask many questions to keep her talking and I was thoroughly entertained. Great kid.

Sunday was more eventful, as I went to my first, live Redskins game. My work friend, Nina, had some tickets and a parking pass. Given my new status as football-fan, I was eager to attend. We decided to take the camper and tailgate. My mom, in her infinite wisdom, included a tiny gas grill in her gift of the camper—and she even provided a new propane canister to fuel it. All we needed was food.

On Sunday morning, I went over to Eastern market and got some hot dogs and ground beef as well as some fruit. I met Nina at Union Station and we drove from there to the stadium. I had a large cooler (also provided by Mom) packed with beer and food. The drive was easy and relatively traffic-free. We had a bit of a hard time finding a parking space, as everyone was violating the rules and using empty spaces for tailgating parties. I finally chose an empty spot next to a "party" spot. I managed, unfortunately, to scrape the bumper of the neighboring car as I pulled in. Totally my fault, but the woman sitting in the folding chair in the adjacent space unnerved me and caused me to err in judging the turn.

I slipped in while some drunken idiot yelled at me to "straighten it out!" (incorrectly). Another drunken idiot chided me, "better leave a note!", which I did. Nina felt bad and I told her not to sweat it. I'd only scraped the paint on the other car, not actually made a dent. Damage to the camper is inconsequential (thanks again to Mom, who gave it to me "pre-dented"). The only issue would be how truck-proud the other folks were. I told Nina that I've left notes before (only once, actually), and often the people don't call.

The end of that story is that we met the owners of the car when we were leaving. I told them what happened and that I'd left a note. The husband and wife inspected the damage and he told me, "don't worry about it." He added, "got anything to eat in there?" We all laughed and I said, "Yes! Want some pretzels?" He didn't accept the pretzels and I don't think I'll be hearing from them. Very nice people. I picked the right truck to scrape.

The tailgating wasn't very exciting, but I want to have the whole experience. We set the little grill just outside the camper and sat inside, comfortably, while the food cooked. I think we deviated from the norm by lounging inside the car rather than in the parking lot. Oh well!

Nina pointed out that a group of three guys were staring at us and she thought it might have been because of the fender bender. I got out and said hi to them and they engaged me in some car talk. It's been years since I did that! With my old car, a 1970 Chevy Malibu, I did it all the time. Because I knew a little something about that car's engine, I was able to impress quite a few guys—especially the ones at gas stations.

Anyway, these guys, one of whom was probably in his 50's, were marveling at the camper and wondering about how it worked. I explained its features and the older guy said, "It's hard to get these. There's a waiting list."

I said, "Yeah, they don't make them here—you have to get them from Europe."

"You can still get them?"

"Yes, well, not this kind, but there's a newer model, but it's a lot more expensive. They stopped making this kind in '92."


"Yeah, this is an '89." Gotta love those guys who think they know everything about cars.

When the guys left, we were still working on our beers and they said, "Are you headed up to the game?" We said we would be soon. I think they wanted to walk us to the stadium. Cute.

The game was…very disappointing. But the seats were good—high, but near midfield. I'm also glad I brought binoculars and a blanket.

Afterwards, fighting our way out of the parking lot, some folks in an enormous SUV tried to squeeze into the lane ahead of us. I'd just let someone else in and wasn't willing to yield. Nina agreed and admonished me not to let them pass. They pulled up next to us and one of the passengers yelled at Nina, "You're Arabian! Just go back to Arabia!"

That caused Nina to roll down her window and give them the finger and share a few choice words.

I was stunned. I'm sheltered enough—and white enough—not to encounter that kind of racism very often. We were both angered but managed to laugh it off. I said, "What is 'Arabian' anyway? That's not even a real thing!"

Nina said, "I know!" (Nina's parents are from Southeast Asia. She grew up in Southern California.)

After the game, we went for dinner and I dropped Nina home.

I was exhausted but couldn't drag myself to bed at a reasonable hour. A friend sent an email asking if I were up. When I answered, "yes," he called me. He wanted dating advice. Why, why do people think I know what I'm talking about? Scarier is that I think I know what I'm talking about. And I sound so convincing! Not sure if what I said was helpful, but he seemed to appreciate it. Sometimes, you just need a different perspective, and I did provide that, so how bad could it be?

Saturday was the last soccer game of season. We managed to win—giving us a record of 7 wins and one tie. Damn, that's a good team! Pele and I met up for a night of bar hopping that evening. Well, only one bar was hopped. It was quirky and endearing, but in a somewhat inconvenient location. I'd like to go back there but it may not happen.

Friday, I was planning to go swing dancing, but ditched that in favor of drinks with a few co-workers. My favorite (fading) office crush, Sailor, issued the invite to Nina and I on Friday afternoon. How could I say no?

Four of us ended up going for food and drinks at a bar in "Chinatown." It was fun but Sailor and I came close to blows over the issue of Federal unions (I'm pro, he wasn't). When I told Pele about it I said, "It was that kind of argument with someone with whom you're so on the same page with about everything, then realize you're not …"

She said, "That can be the worst kind!"

It did kind of suck. He looked deflated when he realized that I was never going to agree with his assertion that the private sector is, by definition, more efficient than the public sector. I was similarly shocked and disappointed. It was laughable. His palpable disappointment was kind of touching. He may not have a crush on me, but he does like me as a friend, which our argument made clear. We can still be friends, though I won't hold his ridiculous views against him. I'm not prejudiced.

Grateful for: strong opinions.

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