Random terrifying bits of news

1. Allegations of sexual abuse at a summer camp run by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.

In depositions taken before the trial, Dominique Moton, who was a senior camp counselor responsible for Cabin 11, said that it was routine for counselors to break the rules and leave campers alone at night. "Nighttime comes, they want a little break," he said.
So now we have a bunch of little Jason Voorheeses running around. Because D.C. needed more unstoppable killing machines.

2. This guy died, inexplicably, of rabies. That's... random.

3. A bicyclist was murdered, and his still-helmeted body found just off a trail in Alexandria. In related news, I biked to work today! I'm living dangerously.

You can't prove unfriendliness... or, maybe you can

One of the big difficulties I've had in trying to convince people that Washington should be nuked from orbit (because it's the only way to be sure) is that a lot of my complaints have to do with intangible things that are simply unmeasurable. I can tell you that people here are less friendly than in most places, but... how could I possibly know for sure? There's no way I can know everything about everyone in such a big city. I could just be hanging around in the wrong neighborhoods or something. I think that I'm generally a good observer, and that my observations are accurate, but that's not exactly scientific proof to you, the convincee.

And that's why this blog is great. I can collect all kinds of great anecdotal evidence over a period of time, and it all keeps mounting into one gigantic Case Against D.C. The friendliness thing falls squarely into this category. The best I can generally do is tell you about my experiences, and there have been a few. But it's not even the individual encounters that wear you down... it's the cold, poisonous atmosphere over a long period of time that makes one (or, me) miserable.

And that's what's nice about going to other cities; you tend to get a feel for how human beings in the civilized world treat each other. San Fran was a great example, because, like I posted from there, the super-friendliness of people was really freaking me out. I don't like being the typical tourist on vacation, and I try to be prepared ahead of time as far as knowing where I'm going so that I don't have to rely on asking someone. But in SF, people were volunteering information without me even asking. This happened multiple times; people on the bus would see me looking at a map, and would ask if I needed any help. When we biked around the bay to Tiburon and were looking at ferry times, a friendly old guy who was walking by spoke up and let us know where to catch the ferry and to line up early, since they only take a limited number of bikes, which was good to know.

People coming up to you and helping you out in a big city can be disconcerting, because sometimes they have ulterior motives. But these were generally just people genuinely wanting to help us out. (I credit back-to-back airings of Dance 360, weekdays on the local UPN affiliate.) And it's so nice, because it makes you feel like a human being again. You forget what that feels like when you live in a rage-infested craphole.

For example, take a look at this DCist post last week while I was gone. It was a call for crazy tourist stories, which obviously can be fun. But it sort of had an unintentionally funny bent to it, in that a lot the things Washingtoniers got mad about were a little unreasonable. The original poster lamented missing his elevator because tourists asked him if the elevator actually goes to the zoo. Which, yes, is a little silly, but if you're not from here, it's easy to get confused by Metro stations with names that were assembled by committee, like "Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan/Connecticut Ave./Calvert St./Bruce Lee Chinese Restaurant/Sherry's Mini Mart". Or you might very well think that an elevator that says "Zoo" would take you there. If you're not from here, you don't know.

Then, there was this great comment:

Last week a stereotypical tourist family--you know, bright pink and green fanny packs, cameras and fat children--were standing near the Archives/Navy Memorial Station looking confused. The mother turned to me as I was hitting the escalator to go home after a long work day and asked, "do you know where Pennslyvania Avenue is?" I pointed at the sign near the intersection of 7th and Penn and said, "you already found it." I walked down the escalator and shook my head. I really have no patience for moronic tourists.
Yes! What morons! Our street signs, sometimes placed on the correct side of the street, often tell you what street you're on. If they're not missing.

Yeah. If you read some more comments, this should come as no surprise:

The thing is, this city is confusing. The layout is confusing. Street names are duplicated in weird places. I still get lost all the time in unfamiliar neighborhoods... and sometimes in familiar ones. If it isn't a missing street sign, it's poor lighting or a weird traffic pattern that trips me up. People who try to visit me invariably somehow wind up stuck in Anacostia. Even people who try to deliver food to my apartment have wound up wandering around for hours, in vain. The neighborhoods here can go from nice to sketchy very quickly, which can make it even more intimidating for an outsider who doesn't know where they're going.

So why do we treat being lost as a crime? Why are we in such a hurry to get where we're going that we're ready to crucify tourists for asking us to take 30 seconds to show them how to get to the White House? Whereever you were going in such a hurry, it probably wasn't that great a destination to begin with. Your table at Capital Grille? Will wait 30 seconds. Hurrying to a Congressional internship? Brownback can wait another 30 seconds for his damn photocopies. Got to get home in time to see The Apprentice? You may need professional help.

And yes, tourists are funny. When you see one on the Metro waving a wad of cash around and saying, in a loud voice, "What am I doing carrying all this cash? I hope I don't get mugged!" (true story), it's just funny. But the utter disdain we seem to feel towards these people is unwarranted. They're still under the illusion that D.C. is the center of democracy, and have not yet realized that we have made a traveshamockery of it. They have come to check out their nation's capital. Nothing wrong with that.

So, for the rest of the time I live here, if I'm someplace familiar and I see someone who looks confused and needs directions, I will place my misanthropy on the shelf temporarily and help them out. Hopefully, they will feel like a human being again, and so will I.

But enough of that happy stuff. You did not come here for happy stuff; you came here to listen to me bitch, and then to tell me my problem is not enough poontang. Or maybe it was too much poontang. One of those. At any rate... let's get it back on.


I'm in San Francisco

Everyone's really friendly... it's kind of freaking me out.


The best antidote for Washington

...is vacations. Lots and lots of vacations. Like the one I'm about to go on, for a week.

The best stuff always happens while I'm gone (e.g. Washingtonienne), so expect something really cool to go down in the next week. And when it does, just pretend I'm around to stick lots of profanity on either side of a <blockquote>. It'll be like I never left.

Oh yeah

I was in the Post today.

They've finally hit rock bottom.

Sorry, D.C., no vote for you; here, have some guns instead

Here we go again with the heroic Republican Congress-people from other states trying to repeal D.C.'s gun ban. They tried it last year as well, before giving up.

How many times do we have to go through this? This is not something D.C. wants. Stop trying to force something on D.C. that it doesn't want. If they wanted to repeal the gun ban, they could do it via the normal democratic process. Congress has got to stop stepping in and forcing its personal social agendas on an unwilling population that is fully capable of governing itself. This "Take Up The White Man's Burden" shit is getting old.

Seriously. This makes no sense, anyway. If I'm making a list of things that would improve D.C., "More guns" would rank somewhere between "More toxic waste dumps" and "daily Juice Newton concerts on the Mall."

And, of course, the bill's sponsoring senator is from... Texas.

"Many people live in the district during the week who are members of Congress and they would like to be able to protect themselves in their homes," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who wrote the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act of 2005. Hutchison said if the measure passes, she will resume her longtime practice of keeping a handgun in her bedroom.
So, she wrote this piece of legislation to benefit JUST HER. That's so... Schiavoesque. Except that "Culture of Life" isn't going to be mentioned in conjunction with this one.

Yeah, look, Texas, we're all very impressed that you're batshit crazy and ready for a gunfight anytime, anywhere. Could you maybe keep that confined to your state? There is, after all, plenty of room there for that. Thanks, that'd be great.


A mayor who's in touch with the people

Elizabeth Taylor has White Diamonds. Coco Chanel had Chanel No. 5. Now, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams has his own signature scent, a blend of patchouli, jasmine and citrus christened "Beau-Tie."

That's pronounced "bow tie" for the French-impaired, a coy reference to the mayor's signature fashion accessory. And though Williams does not normally wear perfume, cologne or scents of any kind, he cheerfully accepted a small, beribboned flask of the stuff yesterday from representatives of Aveda during a news conference at the new Gallery Place mall.
Ohhhh man. Couldn't this have happened while Barry was mayor? How much would you have paid for a bottle of "Essence of Crack Whore"?

Meanwhile, rumor has it that Le Beau-Tie was visiting the Moonie Times newsroom today. It's just a non-stop party with him. Must be hard to squeeze in any actual mayoring.

Papers, please

The Post has the scoop on Washington's latest transit martyr:

Julie Jozwiak figured that taking Virginia Railway Express would be the easiest thing. She had an early morning class to get to, and, rather than starting her day in a line of traffic, she would hop on the commuter line.

And it was easy. She had bought her ticket two days earlier at Union Station and so, on April 28, went straight to the platform at the Woodbridge Station and onto the 6:48 a.m. train to the city. No sweat.

That is, until minutes later, when she was accused of trying to duck the fare because she failed to validate her ticket -- garnering her a $150 citation from the conductor and a court appearance Friday that could run her an additional $66.

"It was a completely innocent mistake," said Jozwiak, a VRE regular until about three years ago. "It didn't even enter my mind I had to validate the ticket because it had been so long. But what I don't get is why a conductor who sees a person hasn't validated a ticket, why are they not willing to validate it on the train? What kind of customer service do they have?"
That would be the usual Washington kind, which sees the customer as the enemy.

Things have changed since Jozwiak last took VRE. Three years ago, conductors could punch a hole in tickets to validate them for riders on trains. But in November 2003, VRE switched to an automated system that requires riders to purchase tickets and validate them by getting them stamped by machines at stations.
Such a shock that a Washington-area transit thingy has a confusing bureaucracy you have to navigate just to legally ride a train. "Sorry, you didn't fill out Boarding Form 32-E in triplicate." I guess it's good practice in the morning for government workers who have to do that stuff all day.

OK, so they've got this weird system in place that's unlike any train in the Western hemisphere that I've taken, and that allows the conductors to be lazier. Whatevs. Surely this causes a lot of confusion, and I'll bet a lot of people buy tickets and hop on the train without realizing they have to "validate" them at the stupid machine.

For which the appropriate penalty is, apparently, $150. $-fucking-150! It's an $8 train ride, and they fined this woman $150. Out of whose ass did they pull that dollar amount? That's just infuriating. And what's the point of having conductors, if they can't sell you a ticket, as in the rest of the civilized world, or do this stupid "validation" thing? Lady already bought the ticket, homes. Do you really think that $150 citation you're writing is a fair punishment? Maybe just let this one go.

Anyway, so now that this has been in the Post, VRE's public relations people have of course been deeply apologetic, and assured the VRE-riding public that it would work on reducing the confusion caused by the validation system, and be more judicious in handing out fines.

AH HA HA HA! That was another test! The bastards didn't do anything of the sort! (Did you pass the test? Give yourself 72 points.) No, instead they went with the quickly-becoming-a-Washington-standard line: "the customer is always a filthy whore who got what she deserved."

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said riders are alerted to the procedure when they purchase tickets, on the tickets themselves, on the system's Web site and by "monstrous, yellow, glaring signs" at stations.
See? She missed the monstrous, yellow, glaring sign. And for that she must be put in the stocks, or a pillory.

Linda Davenport, a district manager with Amtrak, which contracts conductors to VRE and prosecutes cases, added that it is a rider's responsibility to know how the system works. "I can't go on an airplane and say, 'Oops, I've got a knife,' " she said. "Once you get on the train without a valid ticket, you are in violation of fare policy."
Yeah, good anology, train lady. I think that was on the SAT test.



Yup, same thing really.

Jozwiak doesn't dispute that she ended up having a testy exchange with the conductor. "He asked if I was aware the ticket was not validated," she recalled. "I said, 'Can you validate it for me?' He refused to do that. I said I'd previously rode the train and had seen conductors punch tickets, and I also said there must be a lot of people who ride the train and don't have a validated ticket.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "All he said was, 'Ma'am, I could issue you a ticket.' I think I challenged him, and I don't think that he liked that. The whole thing is just crazy to me."
Oh well, you didn't validate your ticket, but at least you did validate the conductor's ego.

Hey, I just thought of something. Uou know those endearing (read: hella-nnoying) radio ads where they sing "V-R-E To-mor-row" as a conga-line song? They should re-work it and change the words:

"V-R-E Ges-ta-po! V-R-E Ges-ta-po!"

Roeber said he doesn't believe the fine is excessive or turns away riders. "If the penalty doesn't have some consequence to it, some people would be like, 'I pay $50 just to park.' Clearly, at $150, it catches their attention, and they don't want to do it again."
OK, a) where is this guy parking, and 2) she bought a damn ticket. This is not fare evasion; it's just a matter of not knowing VRE's stupid procedure.

ARRRGHHH. OK, to recap: we stymie development near Metro stations, drag our feet on improving transportation infrastructre, and make it as difficult/inconvenient/annoying as possible for people to ditch their cars. Thus, we have the third-worst traffic (and getting worse) in the nation.

Oh, and also, we're complete dicks to each other.

So come live here! Really, it's great.


INS1PID: Personalized Virginia license plates I have hated (part 16 in a series)

B JELLIS (i.e. "be jealous" of my IROC-Z)
SIR REAL (proving once again that puns are the lowest form of humor)


That's right, Bow... tie. I am dangerous.

That little flyby stunt Maverick and Goose pulled Wednesday has everyone buzzing.

First of all, none of the notification systems set up for such an event actually worked. Normally, I would find this hilarious and joke that they shouldn't have put D.C.'s trademark narcoleptic 911 operators on that job. Or, you could argue that I did just make that joke, just now. Either way, if this isn't hilarious, it's at least hilariously disturbing.

At the Homeland Security Operations Center, a command post built after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the D.C. government was relying on a sergeant to keep track of any potential crisis. But it was not until the air scare was nearly over that he got word to police commanders.

At police headquarters, someone had disconnected a phone line that would have provided emergency communications from the Federal Aviation Administration, the officials said.

Of course someone disconnected the emergency hotline phone.

That's the only prudent, sensible thing to do.

After all, the emergency hotline phone isn't going to disconnect itself.


Wow. As a result, police chief Ramsey and The Bowtie weren't notified of the emergency, and had no idea until it was over. But don't feel bad, guys; the President didn't even know.

That an emergency military operation was underway.

In our capital city.

Well, I suppose after the My Pet Goat incident, they don't bother asking Bush for advice during emergencies anymore.

Anyway... frightening "Emperor's New Clothes" security implications notwithstanding, this probably shouldn't have been as big a deal as everyone made it out to be. I know that we're hypersensitive about air traffic around Washington after 9/11, and rightfully so, but there's a big difference between then and what happened Wednesday, when the threat was merely a Cessna.

Cessnas are the Cooper Minis of aviation. They're tiny cute little planes that only hold four people, tops. There was a great aerial shot in the Post of the pilots being arrested in Frederick that showed the actual scale of the airplane; if you parked four cars side by side, they would be about as wide as the aircraft, including wingspan.

What I'm saying is: this tiny plane isn't about to do a whole lot of damage. If one of these planes hits a building... the building wins. How do I know this?

Because it's happened before! In January 2002, a crazy teenager flew a Cessna into a skyscraper in Tampa. And the building won.

As you can see there was some relatively minor structural damage, and the plane didn't even penetrate all the way into the building. Which means: an evacuated White House or Capitol building wouldn't have a whole lot to worry about if a pilot decided to crash one of these babies into them. There would be some structural damage, the pilots probably wouldn't survive. End of story.

So it's disturbing to read accounts that describe how close the Cessna was to being shot down over the non-evacuated portion of the District.

The aircraft flew over the vice president's residence, a senior federal security official said, came within moments of reaching the White House and was close to being shot down.
I'm obviously not in the military. I don't fly fighter jets with cool missiles and such. I'm just a simple unfrozen caveman lawyer; your "modern flying machines" make no sense to me. But it would seem to make more sense to let our already-evacuated buildings take the (tiny) brunt of a kamikaze Cessna pilot, rather than blowing the plane out of the sky and letting it land, at random, on some unevacuated buildings/houses/streets. Even if it's some kind of awful scenario involving explosives or dirty bombs or whatever... I would rather let it land on the evacuated Congress or White House, so that the attack is isolated in a relatively unpopulated area.

In conclusion: let's not freak out over a tiny plane just because a big one hit us before. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take the batteries out of the smoke detector. Why? Oh, no reason.

Oh hell, let's have one more Top Gun reference for the road. Hit it, Kenny Loggins!

[credits roll]

"Take me on your mighty wings; take me on your mighty wings toniiiiiiiighhhht! Bah DUM DUM BA DA DUMMMMMMM.... ba da daaa DA DAAA DUMMMMMM!"


At least I'm not homeless

But a lot of people are, and it's getting worse.

The count showed that in several suburban counties, at least half of the heads of homeless households are working. In Loudoun County, 79 percent of homeless adults in families have jobs.
Yay. Once again, here's a problem happening in Congress' backyard that they could work to alleviate. If only they paid attention to, you know, anything going on around them. That would be so nice. Oh, that's right, I forgot. They're too busy with personalized novelty legislation.

Fun fact: "If the minimum wage in 1979 had been indexed for inflation, it would be $6.92 today (2004 dollars). In other words, the inflation-adjusted minimum wage is 26% lower today than in 1979."

I'm guessing they think raising the minimum wage would be too broad-based an effort. It wouldn't do anything to directly help specifically-named individuals. It also would only help people who are not in a persistent vegatative state.

So that's right out.

Ahh, how I miss Herndon


(But I do miss "not." Whatever happened to "not?")

As you might expect, I haven't been back to Motherfucking Reston since I got my new-old job back. You might recall that my boss laid some wonderful-awful quotes on me, like when he "joked" about our company being unable to hire more computer scientists:

"We should hire those temporary [Hispanic] workers who hang around the 7-Eleven on Elden St. in Herndon." No longer joking: "I used to live around there; it's a really bad neighborhood."

In that same spirit of racial harmony:

Barely four months into her first term, Herndon Town Council member Ann V. Null set off an uproar by writing disparagingly about immigrants in a community newspaper, characterizing them as "cooks, maids, janitors and gardeners."


Now Null is in the thick of another immigrant-related controversy. As it turns out, she rented a room to an immigrant family for about a year in violation of town ordinances against overcrowding of homes -- laws that she campaigned for and voted to approve last year, according to town documents and officials.
Ahhh. L'irony, je t'aime.

The Washington Times is an endless source of comedy for the entire planet

Wait, did I say comedy?

I meant rage. Unbridled rage.

Parliament in Pakistan is urging the government to seek an apology from The Washington Times newspaper over a cartoon that depicts Pakistan as a dog.
Where's your civic pride, people? That's our hometown paper they're talking about! Can I get a woot woot? Can I get a beep beep? No? OK.

The cartoon shows a US soldier patting a dog holding Libyan al-Qaeda suspect Abu Faraj al-Libbi who was recently arrested in Pakistan.

"Good boy... now go find Bin Laden," the soldier urges the dog.
And here it is, from the pen of Bill Garner:

Um, yeah. I don't even know that much about Islam... but even I know they're not gonna like that.

It's non-apology apology time! (A.k.a. "I'm sorry if I offended you.") Sayeth the artist:

Cartoonist Bill Garner told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that he never intended to offend the Pakistani nation.

"It is a cultural gap, a cultural misunderstanding that caused the uproar.

"The symbol to me was that of friendship," he was reported as saying. "There is a saying in English that a dog is a man's best friend."
*Sigh.* Everyone together now:

Bump-bump-a-nah, wahhhhhh.

"There has always been a great friendship with animals, especially dogs, in America".
Oh dear God, Bill, STOP! You're making it worse!

Mr Garner said that the cartoon was meant to depict "the spirit of goodwill and friendship that exists between the two countries".
And also, of course, that Pakistan's like our dog.

Wow. When your political cartoonist nearly starts a jihad with one of our allies... that's some hard-core extremism. All I can say is bravo, Moonies.


Request permission to buzz the tower

That's a negative, ghost-rider. The pattern is full.

Um, we really mean it.


Trophy wife parade

Please, marry us!


My love-hate relationship with [product-placed phone company] Center

To be fair, this did happen to me there.

They picked me to shoot some baskets during the [product-placed bank] Classic basketball tournament in December, and I hit them and won a couple free JetBlue tickets. Which I'll soon be using to visit San Francisco for this first time. (Yes, expect a lot of "I can't believe how cool S.F. is" posts after that.)

I'm also planning a Boston trip in July, another city I've never been to.

The perfect antidote for D.C. is lots and lots of vacations.


I'm Not Wrong!

Let's see if I can squeeze this in. Must... use... brevity...

OK, so I managed to score a ticket to the Wizards-Bulls game last Friday night. The Wizards managed to put together a non-offensive season, and they made perhaps the smartest move any Washington team has ever made when they suspended the awful and childish Kwame Brown for the rest of the season.

Going to an NBA game by yourself is not the most fun thing in the world, but at least [product-placed phone company] Center was packed and somewhat loud, instead of half-empty and eerily quiet like it usually is. And although I'm Just Not That Into the NBA as I used to be, I was happy enough to be there. I had a fairly good seat in Section 400. There was a Friendly Black Guy sitting to my right who was there with his wife and daughter, and they were way too into the game to listen to his deep insights on the game, so I got to listen to him instead (No, really? They need to rebound the ball more? You don't say). But that was OK, since at least that gave me someone to crack jokes to at the expense of fourth-quarter-opening-act C&C Music Factory. ("Everybody Dance Now!" I would have been really impressed 13 years ago. Or if they had gone with "Things That Make You Go Hmmm" instead.)

Anyway, it's a decent game, although nobody on either team wants to hit any shots. Jared Jeffries makes an impressive steal and dunk for a two-point lead, and there's a time-out. The Bulls are inbounding the ball to try to tie it up with about 30 seconds left.

And that's when a guy fell on me.

The family of six in the row directly behind me had inexplicably left the game early; dude came crashing down on me from two rows back, so he had some good momentum going. Thanks to my lightning quick reflexes, I managed to grab on to the guys on either side of me... that was Friendly Black Guy on my right and Random Other Alone Guy on my left. Also, fortunately didn't hurt the sprained ankle any worse. ROAG on my left and I took most of the impact, but we weren't hurt and didn't fall.

The guy who fell on me really looked like a choad. I don't even know how to describe the jacket he was wearing. It had like these... weird bulgy patches, like elbow and shoulder pads. Oooh, you know the Wizards' NBA standard-issue trampoline-jumping mascot, G-Man? He's got this suit with comically inflated musculature:

Imagine a jacket that has that bulgy, plastic-ish material at the elbows and shoulders. Really bizarre, and surely some kind of suburban fad the kids are into these days. It almost looked like someone was trying to create the Jacket Of The Future, and this kid got a hold of the prototype and decided to wear it to a playoff game. For that reason... his nickname is now "Jackoff."

Anyway, Jackoff falls on me and ROAG, and it's clearly an accident. Nobody goes tumbling forward two rows in a basketball arena on purpose. Luckily, we weren't hurt, just a little surprised. And, after regaining my balance, the close game had already started back up, so I basically was trying to keep one eye on the game and one eye on Jackoff and ROAG to make sure they were OK.

However, apparently ROAG was not willing to take being fallen on in stride as I was. Jackoff apologized, I think, and said something to the effect that his buddies had pushed him and he had fallen. This was not enough for ROAG, who, after a few more words spoken between the two, threw a punch at jackoff.


Now, this is already not a smart move by ROAG. Jackoff is half his age, and has a distinct height and reach advantage. Nevertheless, he says something to effect of "Fuck me?! FUCK YOU!!!" and throws a quick right hook into Jackoff's chest. Jackoff responds by punching back. A couple more quick blows are traded, and I'm looking on, half in shock, kind of wishing I had gotten between the two to try to smooth things over before they had come to blows... but honestly, I guess I thought ROAG was going to let it go, and he threw a punch before I realized what was happening.

Then Jackoff uses his momentum to shove ROAG over the seats in front of us. ROAG tumbles down, partially lands on the girl in front of him, and then down one more row of seats before coming to a stop on the floor, thanks to some more people who broke his fall.

I'm basically standing there not believing what I'm seeing. This was one of the stupidest things I'd seen at a sporting event... and I had seen the RFK grounds crew fail to pull the tarp over the baseball diamond during a rainstorm, causing the infield to be covered in a foot of water, just the week before. Who pushes somebody downstairs in a crowded arena, where they're surely going to land on and hurt somebody? That's just hugely stupid. Somebody could have gotten seriously hurt.

Jackoff bounded back up to his seat two rows back, probably to avoid trouble. ROAG stood up and was OK. The girl he landed on was in some pain, but was able to stand up.

The two combatants stayed at their new seat locations and didn't threaten to resume the fight, which was good. I asked the girl if she was OK; somebody said "no", but she was standing and seemed all right. Of course, there are no ushers to be seen, and since the game was about to end anyway and the fight had stopped, there was no reason to go get them.

But, man. The whole thing was just head-shakingly stupid. And even more bizarrely: Friendly Black Guy missed the whole fight, because he was so locked in on the game.

"What happened?" he said.

"They were throwing punches," I said, still concerned about the girl who might be hurt.

"Oh. ... Juan really needs to make these free throws."

So, that's how the game ended... everybody else celebrated, while I was somewhat in a state of incredulous shock and looking to get out of there as quickly as possible. I walked outside, down F Street, past the victory party, still kind of in a daze at the ridiculous behavior I had just witnessed.

Now, I know that fights at sporting events happen. They're stupid, but they happen, especially in the North, where fans tend to take sports way too super-seriously. People drink and get into fights with rival fans. And, since we tend to encompass everything bad about the North, that's on the list. We're like Philly, but without the delicious cheese steaks. Or we're like New York, but without the everything awesome. Or we're like Detroit, but without the... um... uh, or we're like Detroit.

But this was different. Neither of these guys was drunk, and they were rooting for the same team. This was just... awful, hateful behavior. "Oh, you have the nerve to fall on me? I think you deserve a beating!" "Oh yeah? Well, let's see how the people in front of us feel about that after you fall on them!"


Now, a word about this blog. It should be noted that I occasionally go through phases where I Think I'm Wrong. Sometimes, I'll think... maybe it's me. Maybe I'm being unreasonable; plenty of people live in Washington all their lives, and they like it just fine, and they don't go into conniption fits like I do. Maybe my expectations for people and big cities are just too high.

That's why, for the past four months or so, I had resigned myself to just complacently living out the rest of my term in Washington, which I expect to last the rest of the year. Basically, I've been coming to work, sitting at my desk, going through the motions, trying not to think about any hopes and dreams I might have once had, and trying not to let crappy Washington bother me too much.

I, basically, forced myself not to care. I stopped thinking about my crappy apartment. I stopped thinking about the boring dead-end bottom-feeding job I've been working at. Stopped thinking about all the unique things I love about living in cities. Stopped thinking about the high cost of living. Stopped thinking about the poverty and the suburbs and the politicians and the way we treat each other. I tried to put out of my mind.

As I walked back to the Metro on Friday, still angry about the game, and I witnessed two car jockeys arguing over who had the rights to an empty street space, it all came rushing back: all the anger and desperation I've felt since Day One of living here. I was re-reminded of it. I've had a ringside seat to all of the hatred and injustice for nearly four years now, and, for some reason, I expected to be able to reconcile living alongside it for a little while.

There's no way. I can't do it. I can't wrap my head around Washington. This place is too fucked up.

Ultimately, I'm glad this happened. Because it reminds me that I'm Not Wrong. All you people who think this is a great place to live? I have to say, and I mean this in the nicest way possible: OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES. It's FUCKING AWFUL, and it doesn't take a whole lot of work to see that. We have, somehow, created a city that encompasses everything bad about living in a city, with almost none of the good things. I thought I could be one of those people who sits around contentedly, ignoring how the people around me behave, trying to deny what I've observed. But that's like trying to get excited about eating at TGIFriday's. I can't do that. And I can't say it any more clearly than this:

NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T BEHAVE THE WAY PEOPLE BEHAVE IN WASHINGTON. PERIOD. The only way I'll be able to survive is if I make that my mantra.

OK! Well, so much for brevity. Everybody dance now.

Relax, people

I'm on blog-vacation. Enjoying the weather, trying to make sure the Dead Panda Sox stay in contention, actually doing work at work, etc.

Don't worry. I still hate D.C.

And, in fact, something happened last Friday that redoubled my hatred.

Umm... maybe I'll write it out tomorrow. (The problem with being a long-form blogger is that it takes two frickin' hours to write anything.)