Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Hurricanes, tsunamis and other uncontrollable catastrophes tend to make us use careworn phrases like "be strong!" and "our thoughts are with you." Heartfelt sentiments for sure, but powerless to ease the pain we see in the pictures coming from New Orleans. What can I do, you ask?

Go to the New Orleans Craigslist Housing section if you want a reminder that tragedy can bring out the good in people. Hundreds of people across America opening their homes to strangers, victims, for little or no money. Missed Encounters, usually stuffed with messages like "You were the blonde bachelorette who flashed me on Bourbon Street," is now a tool in the anxious searches for relatives and friends. Volunteers is full of people across the country anxious to do something, anything to help.

An article in the Post Style section today talked about how New Orleans has always been a city in touch with death. Celebrating it, living alongside it, glorifying it for tourist dollars. I don't see anything glorious about the last few days, or the coming months.

And so I sit, riveted to the pictures on my computer screen. There are things to be done, but I can't do them. I can't drive to Houston to volunteer because I have no vacation time, I can't donate money because I literally have none, and I don't even have any spare stuffed animals to give the Red Cross. So I sit. And emote. And link to here, and hope that others are not so unable to move as I.



About fifteen minutes after posting the above, I gave myself a massive guilt trip and donated online. The Red Cross website was flooded (sorry, poor word choice) so I gave at here at Second Harvest Food Bank. Your turn.

And watch out for scams. Brand-new domain names like are not to be trusted-- read a warning here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

this one time at band camp

Lord Larry was an intimidating fellow. Imagine Chris Farley but with black hair, a Harley, taller, less frat-boy and just toeing the line of flaming so that he appeared at first glance to be bi, British or maybe both. Lord Larry had a last name which I cannot recall at present, but I do clearly remember how he entered the classroom on the first day of Acting Technique and boomed "You WILL address me as Lord Larry, FOR I AM YOUR LORD AND MASTER OF ALL THINGS THEATRICAL!" He was, to put it mildly, a character.

That summer, I already thought I was being pushed quite enough. Mornings were spent making a mockery of colorblind casting as I tried to get my fifteen-year-old white girl hips to move like those of a Haitian Earth mama. Our director, Todd, had seen fit to cast me as a voodoo Earth goddess who belts the A above high C (if you know music, you know that is not a note that is easily belted). Shockingly enough, I didn't nail this part right out of the gate.

"Bend your knees! Heels off the ground! Move your damn hips!" Various frustrated adults would shake their heads at my pathetic attempts to shed my WASPy Midwesternness and find my inner goddess. While other girls had main camp time to buy ice cream cones and flirt with the only three cute straight boys in the division, I had extra belly dancing lessons with the vice-director's wife.

Todd brought in Lord Larry for extra help. "Break her," he told Lord Larry. "I want her so pushed and embarrased in your class that by the time I get her back she can BE Asaka without even trying." It was about this time that Todd got the nickname Todd-weh, God of Pain.

Lord Larry broke me. I don't remember the exact monologue, but I do remember it was a woman, at some sort of interview or audition who has a breakdown and essentially starts molesting herself out of sheer pathos. I know it contained the line "rude crude portrudes dubious boobies!" which I thought might help me track down the source, but you don't want to know what I found when I Googled it.

Lord Larry would bellow interruptions as I tried to manifest sexually psychotic desperation. I can only imagine how funny I was to watch. "CHRIST ALMIGHTY NO!" he would scream. "MY GOD, WHO WOULD CAST YOU AFTER THAT?! DO IT AGAIN AND REALLY GRAB YOURSELF THIS TIME!"

Don't think he was a deviant. Despite how it sounds, it's not that Lord Larry got off on watching a high school sophomore perform that kind of scene. He had a male student do a monologue about having sex with a horse, and another boy do one about the joy of being a serial killer. He wanted to push us to our most uncomfortable places in front of one another, to make us not only confront but embrace forbidden ideas and actions so that we could become stronger performers. It's the same reason businesspeople go to corporate retreats to climb ropes and climb over barrels with one another. The difference, though, is that he demanded that we not only physically challenged, but emotionally smacked down and rebuilt.

It worked. After two weeks of that monologue, including one cripplingly awful class performance for visiting parents, the show was a breeze. My inner goddess came out to belt and cluck over the silly orphan girl and shake her ass along with the bongo drum orchestra.

This has all been weighing on my mind since our first read-through last night. It was so familiar and yet so scary, being in a group of laughing strangers cold-reading these lines out loud. It didn't help anything that my character, in addition to not exactly being the brightest bulb in the chandelier, has some pretty risque stuff to say and do onstage. With another person. It's a very interesting feeling to look at a person you've never seen before and think "Okay, so I'm going to be spending much of this fall making out with you in front of paying customers."

But I can do this. I can do this. It is, after all, what an actor does. And I'm still a little scared that if I don't throw myself into it head-on, Lord Larry will somehow show up and bellow.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Mark your calendars, kids! EJ is in a play.

Where she'll be onstage in her underwear.

Until then, she'll be at the gym.

Friday, August 26, 2005

fridays are for mocking insane hipster flotsam

If you ever wondered what became of that guy from high school who was so crazy into raves that he would show up to trig with a pacifier, glow sticks and a slick coating of other people's bodily fluids... well, you can probably find out here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I did a lot of community theater growing up. It's a fantastic community in which to be a gawky teenage girl (or for that matter, a deeply closeted teenage boy), full of instant intimacy with strangers and the kind of validation and affirmation you can't beat with a stick. Where else in life can you get applauded on a regular basis?

My family got into theater along with me, and after I departed for college and became a Massive Political Tool, they stayed with it. When my father and sister performed in a production of Evita my freshman year, I went home to catch the show. The night ended with a cast party at the Aut Bar, a downtown gay club where the cast and their families gathered. As I sat between by dad and my grandfather in a gay bar crowded with blue collar workers and Burns Park academics, I was struck with the thought of how unlikely this scenario would be if I had taken up another hobby, say soccer, as a child.

Last night, bearing photocopied sheet music and a childhood of memories, I auditioned for a play. Who knows if I'll get in, but even if I don't get so much as a callback, it was worth the fear of singing showtunes in public just to hear a fellow auditionee exclaim "Oh, that's how I know her! She used to be my voice teacher when she was a man!" Ahh, community theater in Dupont Circle.

Instead of a prepared monologue, the director had asked us to spend a few minutes talking about a romantic relationship. This simple-sounding request became one of the most intense things I'd ever seen. Complete strangers were telling stories of losing virginities, falling in love, coming out of the closet, being cheated on. It was emotionally exhibitionist even by theater standards, swinging from high to low and back again as we all took turns climbing onstage, standing under the glare of the hot lights and telling our war stories. By far the best (even better than the transvestite) was the girl who described her booty call from a very famous and very married musical theater/TV actor. No, I won't tell you who he is... suffice it to say that the second we were done auditioning I called my mother to tell her, since she is a huge fan of his and also went to college with him.

So if I get in, great. I'd love to rediscover that part of myself that I stashed away during my preadult life of cheap suits, interning and history books. If not... well, it was a reminder that even though I miss the applause and joy of performing, it's the theater people I miss most of all.


UPDATE: Just got a call from the director-- I got called back!

Monday, August 22, 2005

there's more to life than being really, really ridiculously good-looking

I had actually taken a post-pool, pre-kickball shower in anticipation of flirting with him. Now, I enjoy everyone on our team for their own unique contributions to our group. The way they catch fly balls, their outrageous stories, their ability to pound Miller High Life like a seventh-year-senior. That said, I especially enjoy chatting with beautiful, if slightly dense, men (not specific to those in my kickball league). I hadn't seen him since the first game day, when I was still incredibly raw and the ego boost of a stranger's hand on my hip and a crinkly, smug smile flashed at me felt fantastic. I may not be so raw anymore, but ain't nothing like the prospect of messing around with a hot teammate to complete the healing process.

"So what's your excuse for missing the game today?" I asked him. Play it cool, EJ, play it cool. He knows he's hot, you gotta make him want it. Besides, you have to make up for the damage inflicted when seven of your friends simultaneously elbowed you when he walked in the door.

"Oh, yeah. I got caught in traffic coming back from Charlotte." OK...

"Riiiight, a likely story." Ugh, are my attempts at being a flirtatious tease really that bad? Granted, he's not giving me much to work with.

"Naw, I swear! No way would I have missed you and the game otherwise." Yesssss. Am Sex Goddess.

"So what was down in Charlotte?" Please say the beach/my brother/a really boring conference for work or something equally neutral.

"Oh, I was helping my girlfriend move."

Well fuck. So much for my scandalous post-breakup fling. Why do guys do this? They wait until they know the girl is interested and then drop the G-Bomb, even though there were plenty of opportunities to do so earlier, saving that girl a lot of time and energy. Maybe the girlfriend could have been brought up when you were telling me about what else you've done this weekend, or why you decided to move to DC or why you should probably leave the bar early because she's at home waiting for you with a seven-course homemade meal and a copy of the Kama Sutra.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I'm totally guilty of reversing the roles and casually mentioning my boyfriend after an indecent amount of flirting with a guy. But as long as women continue to make 75 cents to a man's dollar, we have to get our power from somewhere.)

Since it's silly to mourn what you never had, I moped for approximately .78 seconds and then resumed playing. I was still doing this a half hour later when I caught side of him at the other end of our tables, whipping his head around to-- I shit you not-- check himself out in the mirror behind him. Not in a "do I have something in my teeth?" kind of way, but a full-on "How you doin'?" to his own reflection. It was priceless; a real-life Zoolander moment for the drunken jock set. One of our captains was standing next to me, also looking in his direction. When she turned back towards me, we looked at each other and fell apart laughing. "Did you see?!" "At himself??" "Omigod!" Stomach-throbbing, sidesplitting hilarity. We lost the round because we were laughing too hard to stand, much less drink beer and not spit it out cackling.

Hot guys will come and go, but the joy of catching extreme narcissism in the act will last forever.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

things that make you go HA

Go immediately to see The Aristocrats. I laughed, I cried, I will never be able to watch reruns of Full House in the same way again. And can someone please tell me why Sarah Silverman is not yet a humongous star while Jennifer Love Hewitt gets one show after another? Between that and Rafael Palmiero's continued career, I'm pretty sure there is no justice left in the world.

In honor of The Aristocrats, here is a list of other things that crack me up, make me gasp with laughter as tears run down my cheeks, even if those around me are totally confused or grossed out:

  • The "This Bulging River" song on the DVD deleted scenes of Waiting for Guffman
  • The fake Chandler-Pheobe seduction scene on season 5 of Friends. It's such brilliant acting and writing, it never gets old no matter how many times I see it in reruns on TBS.
  • Sifl and Ollie's "The Panda Song." I'm drunk on panda mystery!
  • Stephen's Lynch's "The Gerbil Song." Lil' furry gerbil in yooooour bootyhoooole...
  • Re-enacting the "we would like some more alcohol and some more beers" scene with X.
  • Most people, if they even remember The State, remember Barry and Levon ("Two hundred... and forty dollars... worth of pudding.... awww, yeah!") or Doug, or The "I'm gonna dip my balls in it!" Guy. For me, the best sketches from The State were "Fragments" and the "Mr. and Mrs. Laupin Variety Programme." The incredibly disappointing show Viva Variety was based on this latter, but the original is gold. Insane, loony, Belgian gold involving Billy Joel, an escaped Ape-Man and a guy running around dressed as a cuckoo clock. The former includes a similarly odd cast, except the sketch is framed by Michael Showalter presenting a performance art piece based on some poetry he wrote because he'd been "going through some pretty heavy stuff."
  • The mere memory of that Saturday afternoon sophomore year of college when Jonas and I came across an ice skating exhibition by Tara Lipinsky, backed by the vocal stylings of Aaron Carter. Priceless.
  • The crack den in Wet Hot American Summer.
  • The dopey folk singers of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
  • Adam doing the spoken interludes when singing Boyz II Men at karaoke.
  • The moment in Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where the little boy mentions Osiris, the Lord of the Underworld, and Mr. Snuffleupagus incredulously says "A GANGSTER?!"

What makes you laugh until you cry?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

the blower's daughter

I do love the film Closer. I'm sitting at home after Quizzo watching it now, practically salivating over the delicious lines and Clive Owen's harsh brutality.

I love movies in which beautiful people are unspeakably cruel to one another while using stagey, too-articulate dialogue. It's such a perfect representation of what I want to be capable of but can't quite make myself utter. Decorum blunts the tip of brutal honesty. It's why I spent 17 euro on a script of The Shape of Things in Amsterdam yet can't quite bring myself to finish the four cutting, nasty, stingingly perfect blog entries I've started since Sunday morning.

This weekend was a perfect example of the cruelty it would be great to be capable of. Many scenarios in my head, and the one that came true was the completely inevitable option. Of course that's how it would be. It was so theatrical, so worthy of a dramatic monologue for junior-year English class. In fact, it reminded me of the time I broke up with my high school sweetheart for the second of three times-- or, I should say, he broke up with me-- and I scathingly said to him "Oh, save me the freshman drama monologue." Seriously, I said that out loud.

I do miss the drama, but not in the real-life, crapass dating game way. I miss the performing and rehearsal process and analysis and the applicable lessons learned from fictional situations. Time to get back in that saddle again. Time to utter the lines without the consequences, to be pushed to my limits without being responsible to anything beyond my fellow cast members and the written word at the end of the day.

Sometimes a girl needs the catharsis of saying things like "I don't love you anymore. Goodbye." Even if it's not to a person who deserves to hear it. Even if she doesn't mean it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

lord knows what she does all day when i'm at work

EJ: oh fuck
EJ: brb
EJ: sorry, the cat was trying to drink my chardonnay
LMo: smart kitty

Monday, August 15, 2005


Like emotionally functional, liberal, handsome heterosexual men in the greater Washington area, this is way too good to be true. Yet, just as we cling to the hope that the former do in fact exist, we may ponder what a better place the world would be if Christopher Walken were president.

"We've got a neverending conflict with unacceptable military and Iraqi civilian casualties that is widening the cultural divide at home and distracting us from pressing domestic issues of affordable health care, access to higher education and the preservation of worker retirement benefits... and the only prescription is: MORE COWBELL."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

ej quixote

Sometimes life and circumstance is hard enough, and yet I go out searching for windmills to tilt at.

Still, just because I go looking for them doesn't mean they aren't there.

Friday, August 12, 2005

yes that's all there is

Writing has been difficult the last few days. Usually when a thought comes into my head, I ache to push it out and document it as soon as possible. Lately, though, I've feeling kind of verbally constipated. I know something is there, waiting to be expressed, but the words just aren't manifesting themselves. It's a strange combination of feeling stuck in one place and yet not wanting to move an inch. I suppose that I don't know how to feel because I don't know what I want from the forseeable future.

Maybe it's that nothing terribly exciting has happened very recently. Funny how writing comes easier when one is getting lost in Italy or being dumped by someone she thought she could really be with. Event-based writing has never been an issue for me, but when the inertia of stability takes over I'm quite literally at a loss for words. Do you really want to hear about how I spent last night clipping my cat's nails and watching All About Eve? Or worse, about yet another night spent in the same bar I've been going to for three years drinking overpriced domestic beer and listening to prematurely bald men drone on about drafting floor statements?

Maybe it's August. Nothing like a heat index of 106 to render a girl completely useless. Walking home from work, I'm waiting for my brains to melt, pushing my iPod earbuds out with the force of their gray sludgy laziness. I've been trying to fight that laziness with other kinds of stimulation. I've been reading the trashy romance novels of other centuries, starting with Les Liaisons Dangereuses and working my way to The House of Mirth. They're both delicious and inspiring, but in this heat all I can get from them is a fervent gratitude that I am not required to wear a corset.

Maybe this weekend will jolt me out of it. There are goodbyes to be said, reunions to be celebrated, birthdays to toast, kayaks to be paddled, balls to kick and beer to drink. House of Mirth, indeed. Beyond that, there's much on the horizon-- my first graduate class, promotion at work, new relationships and actually enjoying the new home and roommate that I've scraped together in the last few months. I've never been good at settling and enjoying the moment. I've always been about anticipation and looking beyond, trying to see what's just around the corner. It's probably time to try and get over that... you reach a point where you've accumulated and discarded so much that it just becomes flaky. I don't want to be flaky.

Still, as I sit here at my computer at my pleasant job with nice co-workers, house and friends waiting for me when I leave, I can't help but hum to myself:

Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is my friends,
Then let's keep dancing...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

why can't all democrats be so aggressive?

If there is any doubt that Sadie is meant to be my cat, this photo of her decapitating her George W. Bush chew toy should pretty much take care of it.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I totally did this. Oh, the shame. Well, am not really sure which is worse-- downloading Journey because one hears it on Laguna Beach, or downloading Journey because one sincerely feels one's heartstrings tugged by the melodic stylings of Steve Perry and company.

To switch to a whole different kind of journey, I join the many people who mourn the passing of Peter Jennings today. Though I became a news junkie rather late in life (at least in comparison to fellow Washingtonians, many of whom have professed a pre-potty-training awareness of the Big Three anchors), I felt a special fondness for Mr. Jennings. He reminds me of that friend of your parents who you always found to be kind of handsome and harbored a very innocent childhood crush on, only you really liked him best because he listened to your youthful opinions and never talked down to you. He was given a dream job as lead anchor at the age of 26 and quit three years later because he knew he wasn't ready yet. Instead, he paid his dues with ten years on the road as foreign correspondent, striving to become worthy of the office he was offered free and clear.

What a class act. Can you imagine a 26-year-old today doing that? Yet look at all that he reported on. Apartheid. The construction and fall of the Berlin Wall. The Munich Olympics. The Oklahoma City bombings. Iraq. The search for Jesus. September 11. He was a man who sought to educate himself and his audience on the most pressing ideas and events that shaped our world. If I could go back in time and live somebody's life through his eyes, Peter Jennings would be in my top five.

His death is all the more sad because it is so senseless. This morning, NPR played the recording in which he announced his diagnosis of lung cancer and his regret for taking up smoking again after September 11. Hearing his courage in voicing his condition, voicing his anger with himself and the voicing the admission that he needed support and prayers just broke my heart. This is a man who has traveled the world over and seen more proof that life is worth living than most of us will ever dream of, yet he still could not conquer a habit that wound up cutting his life far too short.

Someone very dear to me has a similar habit, and I have only recently acknowledged to myself that it will probably take that person from me too soon. I don't know how to help, how to even offer to help, or whether any move on my part could help. I have always been about action, solutions to problems and finding a fix that will last. Today reminded me that there will always be things that one is powerless over, no matter how much we want to solve them. That sometimes, even we when win in the end, winning is not a one-time activity. Success over addiction, even if maintained for a lifetime, may still not be enough to repair the damage inflicted.

baby girl

Dear Sadie,

You are just about the cutest thing in the world. I do feel slightly disloyal to my other kitty back in Michigan for loving you so intensely after just a few hours. But oh sweet Moses, you are cute and fuzzy and so aggressively in need of my love that you just wipe all of that away.

You are a bloody expensive acquisition, do you know that? Between your adoption fees to the Nazi-Esque Animal League of Northern Virginia, pet fees to the landlord and purchase of the organic kitty food they fed you with, you are the equivalent of a new iPod and several pairs of very good shoes. None of those items, however, are capable of posing on my windowsill or headbutting my shin with such adorable glee. You, my sweet girl, are oh so very worth it.

Sadie, you have this incredibly sweet habit of lifting your butt in the air whenever I pet you in a manner that approaches your belly. God, that's cute. You may leave a grayish-white fuzz over everything I own, you may shred my really nice (though cheaply obtained) couch with your front claws, but hoist your hindquarters up with gratefulness and look at me with those big green eyes and we'll be okay. You and me, girl-- we're a team, and I promise to take care of you and buy you kitty food and pet you and not holler at you TOO much when you rip up my furniture.

I don't know who had you before me or how it is you wound up in an organization for abandoned animals. You are so cute and affectionate that no one in their right mind could ever leave you alone to the elements. Watching you curl up in the crook of my arm, knead my sweatshirt blanket with your little white paws and hear your purr-factory throat tell me just how content you are in my home, my heart swells up. I don't want to go to work tomorrow; I just want to spend all day dangling a string in your face and watching TV with you curled in a furry, purring heap on my lap. I'm so glad you're here and that we are going to take care of one another.

You and me, baby girl.



Saturday, August 06, 2005

Notes from a Friday night on U Street

I like DC. I really do, I swear. Sometimes I even love it.

But for godsake, it would be nice to live in a place where the phrase "Department of Defense" is never involved in a pickup line.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Vienna waits for you

I saw someone I knew on the Metro yesterday.

This is hardly earth-shattering, I know. Just the previous evening, with two other friends from college, I found myself sandwiched between a former residence hall director/co-worker and a previous president of my College Democrats chapter. Clearly, I have been in this town too long.

But this person was not from college, or Washington. I couldn't quite place him, but the preppy navy polo shirt, backpack and slightly snub nose were definitely familiar. He and I got off at the same stop, and I followed after him trying to guess where I recognized him from. Then, after two blocks of highly conspicuous glancing, I tapped him on the shoulder.

"Excuse me," I asked, "This may sound kind of weird... but were you in Vienna this last February?"

He pushed up his sunglasses and squinted at me.



"Yeah, it's me-- Will!"

Will is one of many Notre Dame students I met while backpacking earlier this year. Four of them had been on my delightfully cheesy Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and after we'd yodeled our way through the soundtrack while ambling around the Austrian countryside for four hours, they invited me to join their group for the evening. We had a delicious dinner at a pub called Zum Affen Fidelen (literally, "To the Faithful Ape") and then joined more people from their London study-abroad program, about a third of whom happened to be in Salzburg that night. This was how I'd found myself in pounding Steigl inside a Irish pub in a mountainside in central Austria with 40 Americans (and a good 20 Italian schoolboys on holiday).

I met up with their group in Vienna, where we stayed at the same hostel by the Hauptbanhof and spent a perfect day tramping along the city streets together. This is where Will and I actually met, and bonded over our mutual love of sociocultural anthropology. I recall being in the Historiches Museum with the him, staring at stuffed birds and Venus of Willendorf, debating the merits of Jared Diamond's scholarship. It was one of those days where, looking back, I can't believe we fit everything into just one day's worth of light. We went to several museums, ate overlarge amounts of schnitzel, lingered in Cafe Central (the most famous of Vienna's cafes), saw the Hapsburg crown jewels and watched a production of Aida from the sardine can standing section of the Vienna Opera House.

I loved Austria for everything it had to show me, but the wonderful people I met there were a large part of why it was my favorite country. Now, running into one of them in the middle of normal life, on my morning commute, was overwhelming.

"God," I exclaimed "such a small world!" I winced inside a little at the cliche, but it had never felt more true.

Turns out he was in Washington looking at law schools. Maybe not the most exotic raison d'etre, but it works. We wound up having a two-hour lunch later that day, reminiscing about our travels and trading plans for the future.

Walking him back to the Metro, I asked him if he'd had any trouble readjusting to life back in the States. After all, he had actually lived abroad, while I'd bummed my way across the continent with just a backpack. He paused to think for a minute.

"Well," he finally replied, "I miss easy public transportation. And I don't miss the food. But even though I'm keeping busy and writing my thesis and looking at schools...."

He trailed off again, and we exchanged looks. "Yeah," I replied. "I get that."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I've tried, but I can't make myself like The White Stripes.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Interns vs. Tourists

Another summer in DC. Another season of bitching about the heat, women's shoes and the lack of easily accessible beaches. Yet perhaps the heartiest complaints a DC resident will hear are regarding the twain poxes on our fair city-- Interns and Tourists. Like Beatles versus Stones, pop versus soda, Christianity versus everybody else, the side you take in this Beltway version of Who Sucks the Most? says a lot about you. Yet, for all the blogging bitching about both groups I've read this summer, to say nothing of the conversations I've heard for five years now, no one has done a side-by-side comparison to declare a "winner."

I feel that I am a worthy judge for such a noble competition. Having had recent experience making a complete ass out of myself as a tourist in many foreign lands, I am sympathetic to the disorientation that accompanies all travelers. Likewise, I have held no less than three internships (Senate, think tank and media outlet) in my youth and can navigate the icky world of the intern like the street I was born on. Personal biases now accounted for, I can also be a real bitch, too.

So let's consider some of the major categories in which Tourists and Interns compete to become the most annoying guests in Washington since the cicadas.


Tourists: Cannot dress themselves to save their lives. Pleated demin shorts, a fanny pack and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap do not a fetching travel outfit make. Oh, and put away that fold-out map with the 3-D Washington monument-- you look like a douchebag.

Interns: Cannot dress themselves to save their lives. Miniskirts, Steve Madden platform heels and epaulet-clad blue blazers with khakis do not an approproate work outfit make. Oh, and take off your ID badge before you get on the Metro-- you look like a douchebag.

More Annoying: Tourists


Tourists: Hordes of crying children and angry teenagers. The shrieking, the whining...oh, the humanity! However, Tourists are often accompanied by Locals who guide them into quiet alcoves, usher them to kid- and Grandma-friendly restaurants and generally bear the brunt of their most obnoxious questions, ie. "But why is it called 'Foggy Bottom?'"

Interns: Each other. Interns who are only in the District for the summer are incapable of doing anything, including having sex, in a group smaller than six people. Like the strain of flu that becomes exponentially nastier as more people get sick, interns get stupider in these groups. I witnessed the ultimate example of this on Saturday night at 3rd Edition, where a group of eight be-highlighted young women bogarted the bartender for a good ten minutes, debating whether they had enough cash among them to buy their vodka-cranberries or if they should try to get the guys next to them to pony up. The angry bartender tried to leave on several occasions but was summoned back with a plaintivly drawled "Ah'm so soooory, we're ready, kay?!" Drinks ordered and put on Daddy's AmEx, they then proceeded to block the door and the only source of ventilation, loudly complaining about how hard they had worked over the last week and what total losers their bosses were. Well, sorry ladies-- those envelopes aren't going to lick themselves.

More Annoying: Interns

Metro Etiquette

Tourists: One more time for the cheap seats: stand on the right, walk on the left. There is no Metro stop in Georgetown but you will survive this; the rest of us do. Please do not ride between 7 and 9 AM, as some of us do live here and would like to get to work on time. And for the love of Pierre L'Enfant, do not greet every stop with an announcement of how many more stations until the Smithsonian.

Interns: I'll give credit where it's due, those little scamps figure out all of the above relatively quickly. Occasionally some poor girl's heel will get stuck in a grate, but that's actually pretty good for a chuckle.

More Annoying: Tourists

Duration of Stay

Tourists: A week, tops.

Interns: Eight to ten weeks, depending on how many credit hours your college is giving you to open and sort constituent letters.

More Annoying: Interns


Tourists: If I can take a moment to be, well, not snarky, I'll confess something. Sometimes, the Tourists are kind of cute. I remember one time in college when I was jogging by the White House and overheard a little boy pipe up "Mommy, I can't believe that's where the President lives!" Yes, with moments of innocence and sweet awe like that, those pesky souls sometimes remind me of what I love about this town despite all that makes me batshit crazy. They are here for all of the noble, educational, historical sights that balance out the spectacular bullshit DC trades for a living.

That said, I wish they wouldn't gawp at people who play sports on the Mall. We're adults playing kickball, not exotic birds of prey in a zoo.

Interns: There are two main kinds of interns; Scared Intern and Cocky Bastard Intern. You know Scared Intern by her quietly preppy clothing and petrified expression, like she's expecting someone to tap her on the shoulder and say "I'm sorry, but you don't belong here." You might not notice Scared Intern, though, because Cocky Bastard Intern completely overshadows everyone else in the office. CBI can be a boy or a girl, and his or her internal monologue goes something like this:

Guy: I can't believe they have me answering phones. Don't they know who my
father is? I have two years of higher education for godsake, I should be running
campaigns right now. Fuckin' morons. Do they not see my red power tie?? I'm gonna own this place as soon as I graduate. Damn, that girl from SMU is hot. I'm so gonna nail her after happy hour at Cap Lounge.

Girl: I can't believe they have me doing data entry. Don't they know who my
daddy is? I have two years of higher education, I should have my own interns to
boss around. And my shoes cost more than my boss will make this month, which
means I am so much better than her. Wow, that nice man from Appropriations who
looks like Uncle Marvin sure is friendly. Maybe I can work that... just have to remember not to use his real initials when I blog about it.

More Annoying: Interns

Congratulations, Interns! You have proven yourselves worthy to inherit the Mantle of Obnoxiousness from the cicadas. Just remember to add this to the list of things you will embellish and brag about when you go back to school this fall. In the meanwhile, keep your nose clean, don't fuck your boss and enjoy your stay in our-- not your-- city.

If ya hoooold on for one more day

This kickball thing is going to be good.

First off, I think this might be the one athletic activity where even I cannot hurt or embarass myself. The games themselves are only forty-five minutes long and we have twenty people on our team, so I can stand in left field, kick a couple of singles and be a wild success at the sport. Besides, I have always been a phenomenal heckler and look forward to that activity as my main contribution to team spirit.

Any attempts at athletic prowess really shine at the post-game flipcup competitions. Sure, it's a hackneyed game that probably should have ended with the acquisition of a bachelor's degree, but it never stops being fun. Flipcup and beer pong are the equivalent to being in a car with a group of people when Wilson Philips comes on the radio, and everyone kind of looks at each other out of the corners of their eyes and mumbles "I could change the station if you want... I don't care... whatever..." Then two minutes later everyone is singing "Someday somebody's gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye!" in screechy harmony. You may pretend you're better than it, but you're not, and you're gonna cave.

So yesterday at the rules clinic and scrimmage, there was kicking and there was drinking and there was flipping. There were excellent people full of entertaining stories that made me laugh my ass off. However, kickball kind of kills the rest of one's Sunday. I got home around 8 with a good quarter of a keg coursing through my bloodstream, finally passing out at 9:30 only forty pages into my second reading of the sixth Harry Potter.

Urban Fantasy, indeed.