Thursday, June 02, 2005

DC Vote

Wednesday, I took a "work at home" day so I could wait for the cable installer to hook me up. I called to make sure the installer was coming but it turned out I wasn't even in the system. Bastards. I'm not giving them my money. I trundled all my anger off to Café St. Ex for a happy hour held by the nice folks at DC Vote.

I live about eight blocks from Union Station in DC. It's a little more than two miles from my place to U-Street (the general area of Café St. Ex). The simplest way to get there is to take the bus from 8th & H NE.

I drag myself out of the house in time to catch the 6:16 bus, which means I should get to the happy hour around 6:45. Perfect. Except, the bus doesn't come until 6:35. The bus stop is filthy with trash blowing all around and an overflowing garbage can. There is a lively crew of impatient people waiting with me. There is a sock-selling duo. The bus ride is unbelievably slow. I like the bus, but some days, it gets to me. If only the bus ever came on time, life would be much better.

Even though I almost gave up and went home, I did mange to get where I was going by 7:15. The happy hour was in the basement, a funky little room with a decent crowd. On the way to the beer, a (married) man started talking to me and asked me how I came to be there. I answered (the explanation involves a google search). Before I could talk more he said, "Am I stopping you from getting a beer?" I said yes and that was the last time we spoke.

Much to my surprise, I actually knew someone there. She was one of Princess's old roommates (PR), a young woman who worked on the Kerry campaign in Iowa. She was there with a bunch of other young worked-on-a-campaign type people. She was a little surprised to see me. She was talking to a cute young guy (tall, dark hair, eager look). He stared at me and then looked expectantly at PR. She said, "Oh, this is Jamy, a friend of my old roommate's. This is Rob." He shook my hand. PR is living at home and Rob joked about taking delight in telling people he was unemployed and living at home. PR faded away and I asked Rob if he were still unemployed and living at home. "Oh, no, home is New Jersey." I told him my brother lived in South Orange. Rob was happy because he is from right near there. Oh my, we had so much in common.

We just got started on the topic of breeding Standard Poodles, when we were interrupted by the guy in his group who actually works for DC Vote. He shook my hand and started recruiting me. After he was called on to sit by the entryway, I rejoined PR's group, where Rob was talking about a girl he'd recently met. His friend said, "I could tell there was a spark and I was all the way across the room." I listened and couldn't help chiming in with advice--he'd gone off the rails with this girl when he insulted her favorite movie. I think he went off the rails with me when he mentioned that he and the party girl both loved Garden State and even had the same favorite scene. Boring. He mentioned that he hated Amélie (I'm with you there, Rob). The girl loved it, but he just wouldn't let it go. She said, "I'm not even going to argue with you about it" and walked away from him. We all agreed that she would probably get over it, but that he was wrong to push it.

I turned my attention elsewhere since Rob was clearly not the boy for me. (He did take the trouble to ask me why I didn't like Amélie. I said it was too pat and she was too passive. I did enjoy the world-travelling gnome, however.)

There were two guys near me (one married). I stood up, picked up a piece of paper on the table near them and started to read about volunteer opportunities with DC Vote. Soon there were introductions and handshakes all around. (Tons of handshaking in this crowd.) The single one was cute: shaved head, shirt and tie, crazy thick-rimmed glasses. He took pride in being a bureaucrat, so we had that in common.

After his friend left, Big Glasses asked if I knew anyone there and I said, "I didn't think I would, but I know a woman in that group--all those kids worked on the Kerry campaign in Iowa." He said, "I worked on the Bradley campaign in Iowa." He'd tagged along with a friend and wasn't a huge Bradley supporter, but he said it was worth doing it for the experience.

I probably went off the rails with Big Glasses when I said that I would never work on a campaign because I wasn't a big enough supporter of the Democratic party. He asked what party I did affiliate with--I said that officially I was a democrat (in DC, it makes sense to vote in the Democratic primary, otherwise I might register Statehood/Green) but that I considered myself a socialist, "But I'm not joining the socialist party."

"I've considered it, but I'm more of a libertarian really. Actually, I'm a monarchist."

"Really? A libertarian monarchist?"

"It would be great if we could bring back the Pharos...then you have God and the King all in one. Saves time."

"Sure, except for that enslaving the Jews part."

"I'm Jewish, but you know, you have to break a few eggs..."

About here there was a lot of confusion because I thought he said, "Break a few legs." I laughed and said "Eggs! Eggs!" I also said I was Jewish. Right.

He left, after shaking my hand again and giving me his full name. I know where he works too. Mighty odd.

How did I get home? I took the bus. No problem.

Grateful for: the bus.

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