Tag Archives: Columbus Day

What do cops, donuts, politicians and toilets have in common?

15 Oct

Hint: there are probably many correct answers.

It’s only Tuesday, and already, this happened:

Pretty amazing collection from GBD, you must admit.

Pretty amazing collection from GBD, you must admit. Potentially worth burning for?

Which is not to suggest that donuts are a bad thing, or that I fell off my non-existent diet or something. No. These donuts? Demonstrated my office’s priorities. Let me explain.

Since I work in DC, most of the city – including our building – was shut-down for Columbus Day yesterday. But because my company is in the business of finding people work, we didn’t take the day off.  (Maybe the government could take a page from our book and the economy wouldn’t be in the toilet?)

We showed up to a darkened building, And yet we turned our lights on.

All was cool, until around noon, when the fire alarm went off – at approximately 4,000,000 decibels and accompanied by an eerie robot voice telling us to “leave our belongings and exit the building.”

We all looked at each other, balancing the competing concern of, “Do I really need to put my shoes on and leave my desk right now?” with, “Well, we do work two blocks from the White House, so maybe there really is an emergency requiring evacuation?”

And yet… as we all shuffled out the door, one of my co-workers called back, “Don’t forget the donuts!”

And as if we were moving in slow motion (probably because we were), another co-worker (whose new nickname is, “Hero”), turned around and ran back for that box of delicious pastries.

Because in case you didn’t study that photo closely, two of those mofo’s were covered in bacon. And that is worth dying for.

PRIORITIES. TRUE STORY.

Also, even before that box of donuts was rescued from a false alarm, this happened:

Hint: You're not doing it right.

Hint: You’re not doing it right.

That’s right. I went to the bathroom on a day when almost no one was at work and I found a stall out of commission. Because it was covered not by one toilet liner, but by four, folded in some crazy-ass way and lining each side of the toilet as if it were a pontoon boat. Seriously. It was so messed up I walked back to the office to get my camera to take this photo.

The good news is that later in the day, we FINALLY figured out who the seat pee-er is. I have to give credit to my friend Courtney, whose SpideySense was activated when a pink ballet flat poked into her stall in a way that indicated someone was squatting rather than sitting. Courtney emerged from the stall just as her stall-neighbor finished washing her hands and darted out of the bathroom.

With instincts to rival Sherlock, Courtney investigated the recently evacuated stall… only to find pee on the seat and an unflushed toilet.

CITIZEN’S ARREST.

It hasn’t happened yet, but here’s how that gentle conversation is going to go, now the we all know the culprit works one suite over and wears pink ballet flats:

US: Have you noticed someone keeps peeing on the seat and not cleaning it up?

HER, looking uncomfortable: Yeah – so disgusting!?

US: We’ve narrowed it down and are pretty sure we know who’s doing it.

HER, looking mildly panicked: Who? How do you know?

US: We have our ways. Signs track back to your office, so could you be our ambassador and talk with all the ladies there to let them know we’re close to a breakthrough so they can stop before we have to embarrass them?

HER: Gulp.

US: That’s right.

And – my Columbus Day wouldn’t be complete without a political tie-in of some sort, so then THIS happened as I was commuting:

Look! It's Uncle Joe!

Look! Blurry, but it’s Uncle Joe!

Yep. Hustling down Connecticut Ave on my way to get a massage, I noticed a crowd of people forming outside Brooks Brothers, and a security detail that was impressive yet not full-on presidential.

I stopped to ask an on-looker who they were waiting to see emerge from the store, and just at that moment, the police cleared the sidewalk, a few Secret Service guys came out of the store looking stern and self-important, and then out came Joe Biden, huge grin and no shopping bag.

He waved and smiled and – instead of making a beeline for his car (as I would do if my shopping spree had proven unsuccessful) he took a minute to shake hands and chat with the onlookers.

Whew. It was quite the day: Donuts, police… Toilets, politicians… Who would imagine seeing all these disparate things in just one day? It’s almost like they go together.

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I’m just here for the books.

11 Oct

Happy Columbus Day, old man.

I walk to the MLK Jr. branch of the DC public library on Saturday to pick up a book I had on hold. It was a gorgeous day, so I was glad to invent a purpose for a four mile walk.

The city was kind of odd — despite the great weather, it was desserted in areas that are normally nuts on the weekend, and over-run with people in areas normally desserted. I suppose I could’ve solved that mystery earlier by picking up a copy of the Washington Post, and realizing a) It was Columbus Day weekend, so many locals were traveling, and b) It was Columbus Day weekend, so Taste of DC was luring people downtown on the weekend.

In any case, I was caught off guard when I approached the library, and saw a virtual party in motion. Lining the street in front of it was a MetroBus with representatives handing out literature about the bus schedule, and a Whitman Walker van providing free HIV testing.

On my way into the library, I passed Mayor  Vincent Gray, glad-handing with a few fans while his bodyguard looked on. (At least, I assume that was his bodyguard. Or his especially thuggish looking cousin. You never know in DC.)

This dog belongs in a library.

Inside the library, the trip continued. A live gospel/jazz band was playing (on Volume 12!) while 50+ people (mostly senior citizens wearing shirts made of Old Glory) looked on, clapping and bobbing. I threaded by way through the crowd to retrieve my book from the Holds shelf.

I got distracted in the Popular Collections room, browsing CDs while tapping my toes to the band’s version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” but apparently not as distracted as the woman who had walked her two DOGS into the library and somehow lost the leash of the massive Golden Retriever. I looked up just in time to see it sprint out of Popular Collections, into the main foyer and across the stage where the Jazz Band was performing.

I can’t really get on the owner for being slow to the draw, because when I went to check out my book, I asked the clerk what the occasion was. “Is this a Columbus Day festival?” I asked.

He looked at me with some degree of incredulity before scanning the crowd, which — as I followed his eyes, I realized — was made up primarily of people sporting wheelchairs, canes or walkers.

“This is in celebration of Americans with Disabilities,” he told me.

And suddenly, it all made sense — the extra-loud music, the free medical tests, the dogs in a library, the flag-themed clothing.

As someone wearing a tank top and sporting a yoga mat strapped to me, I felt especially foolish for having trotted through the crowd. Next time? I’m going to take advantage of that free vision test.

I hope the closet isn’t as hot as my office.

11 Oct

Today is Columbus Day. It’s also National Coming Out Day. I chose to celebrate the latter with my Facebook Status today, and one of my friends commented along the lines of, “Ah, Christopher? Was there something you wanted to tell us?”

To which I think the appropriate response is, “Duh. He goes by ‘Christopher’ and not Chris. What do YOU think he’s trying to tell us?”

Anyway. It’s a Federal Holiday, which means Yours Truly still had to work, because I’m one of five people inside the District limits NOT employed by the government.

(Which also means that I’m one of five people who doesn’t get every other Friday off for working more than 10 hours in a day. On the contrary: know what I get as a reward for working four ten-hour days? A fifth ten-hour day! Actually, I don’t mind, but I rarely have sympathy for hearing government workers talk about “long” hours.)

This morning I went to work, completely forgetting that our building won’t heat or cool offices on Federal Holidays. It’s an unseasonable 87 degrees outside today. And our office has a wall of windows that spectacularly catch the morning and mid-day sun. Needless to say, it was HOT in there. We were all pitted-out and I swear I saw sweat drops hitting one of my colleague’s keyboards.

I finally cracked around 1pm, deciding to hoof it home and work in the comfort of my air conditioning. Which was a good plan, but I was so over-heated, I had to strip down to my underwear to cool off after my walk home.

No sooner than I had settled in at my desk, someone knocked on my door… forcing me to run around, find pants and make myself presentable. It was my neighbor, Michael, stopping down to tell me he’s having his floors replaced tomorrow. (HOORAY!)

To explain why I was home, sweating and looking a bit crazy, I said, “Wow. You’re actually lucky you caught me at home. Our office is hotter than hell because  of the holiday.”

This comment could’ve completely derailed the conversation in about five different directions. Fortunately, he just looked at me and said, “What holiday?”