Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New Slang

Around 11:30 tonight I returned from the movie theater and finally changed out of the black shirt-gray pants-black and gray-striped tie I’d been wearing since I left for the Young Professionals mixer at 6 p.m. I changed into brown pants, which have a hole in the near the back left pocket where I keep my wallet, a t-shirt that reads “Draft Beer, Not People” and a new blue hooded sweatshirt — an article of clothing that makes me as happy as an article of clothing can make a person.

Then the zipper jammed.

As I type this — and quite likely, as you read this — the jacket hangs open all the way down to the base, where three stubborn zipper teeth keep it from moving either up or down.

And even that, a possibly fatal flaw in an article clothing that makes me, as I said before, as happy as an article of clothing can make a person, cannot kill my good mood. I liked today, but not because anything especially great happened. I liked today for its wonderful, beautiful ordinariness.

For the first time since I got to Washington, D.C., I didn’t have a single first — no first day of work, no first lecture, no first time in a strange part of town on a color line of the Metro that I didn’t even existed before I accidentally got on it. After two and a half weeks here, I finally have a routine and the glorious familiarity shines down like the same California sun that I so dearly miss.

I woke up hungover this morning — so not a first — because I chose to celebrate the vice-presidential debate by drinking myself to the point where I adlib anecdotes as pass them off as truth. Then, I convinced Daniel and Adam that we had to watch the first chapter of the second volume of the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino: “Massacre at Two Pines.” That chapter, of course, led to the other chapters and the whole movie with a prolonged discussion of the societal importance of and directorial flourishes in that movie.

I limped to work without eating or drinking anything and got to work on the A-list, the format for which now seems as naturally as — I don’t know — waking up hungover. I ate lunch with two of the other interns, UCSB Melanie and the one I call Canada Sue, and despite an hour-and-a-half spate of migrainey badness actually pulled off the impression of an efficient worker. I got home and collected a group of people to go to an intern happy hour at a bar called Teaism that serves wonderful Asian-skewed cocktails like Saketinis and Ginger Margaritas, randomly found a decent place in Chinatown that serves good pineapple duck and finally saw “Garden State” at what turned out to be the same theater we saw “Hedwig” at drunk Friday night.

I wore a tie, delightedly, for six hours, in a town where it’s not weird for anybody to wear a tie, even me.

Yes, the zipper jammed. Yes, I spent too much money for the sixteenth consecutive day since I got here. Yes, the sun has left these east coast states and in his stead we’ve got a chill — sharp, crisp, sinister and invisible — that neither blackens clouds nor shakes the leaves in the trees.

But I have a routine and that’s never felt more important to me.

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