DC Douche Quiz, part two: The Carpet Baggers

When you step into an elevator with other people, you feel compelled to:

(a) Say something pleasant to each person there.

(b) Look at the ceiling and sigh because they are in your space.

(c) Hum a little tune or read your paper. So you seem sociableish but won't be asked to talk.

When waiting for a bus, you often:

(a) Ask everyone else standing there how long they think it will take.

(b) Call the number listed on the sign to complain that the drivers are NOT adhering to the SCHEDULE.

(c) You don't do buses.

Your hair is generally:

(a) The result of much effort and shine enhancing spray/gel (depending on gender).

(b) Six to eight months out from the last trim.

(c) One of your biggest expenses, but you'd never admit it.

You apply for jobs/internships that you hope will:

(a) Allow you to fill your life-long dream of helping every person in the world. A lot.

(b) Allow you to fill your life-long dream of being a Michael P. Keaton smarty pants type.

(c) Allow you a little breathing room from your parent's pressure to get a job.

You get upset in public when:

(a) The metro employee is mean even though you totally MEANT to put money on your card.

(b) The service employee requests you to follow a policy you are breaking specifically because it doesn't make SENSE.

(c) It's unacceptable to be upset in public. Or ever.

Generally, you perform volunteer service by:

(a) Showing up at the occasional homeless shelter.

(b) Joining a complicated and elite program reserved for volunteer MBAs from "the best" schools.

(c) Showing up at your family's annual benefit.

You found your apartment through:

(a) A Craig's List ad that emphasized, "Sociable," "Fun," and "Under 24."

(b) A Craig's List ad that emphasized, "Vegetarian or Vegans-only" and "Weekly group meetings."

(c) Your family keeps a place here.

You brag about gaining "issue expertise," but your job really involves

(a) Filing correspondence and mailing form letters.

(b) Making up things to pretend to be doing in between times you follow your boss to meetings where, you suspect, the participants made up an excuse to have a meeting so they could pretend they have something to do.

(c) Locating illicit substances and providing alibis for semi-important family friends.


The DC Douche Quiz

I compete with strangers on the train in made-up categories such as, "Better choice of walk-to-work-flip-flops," and "More contained hair toss." I compete with work colleagues, colleagues from grad school, "She got a job WHERE? Really? NO!" And - I am not proud - once googled every name I could remember from decades ago, to make sure no one is anywhere near as important a fellow graduate of Mrs. Powers' kindergarten class.

Even so, I am nice enough not to fight for seats on the metro. I also never yell at passing cars, passers by who are in my way, or service workers. Which in this town, has to put me in the top 20 percent of nicest citizens. (See what I just did there?)

I'm guessing half of the people reading this think I am crazy. The other half are already wracking their brains trying to top my stories with stories of their own competitive urges.

For these fellow sufferers, I have prepared a helpful quiz of unkind, anti-social or just spectacularly annoying traits which seem specific to the D.C. area.

You participated, as a candidate, in a student government election in any educational setting, including (and yes, I know several of these people) elementary school
5 points

You participated, as a candidate, in a student government election in any educational setting, LOST, and then ran again
Multiply the original 5 points by the number of failed attempts.

You have strong opinions on the current bus route schedule
5 points

You have strong opinions on the current bus route schedule, and you share these opinions with the bus driver while in the presence of multiple other passengers who really, really want you to shut the hell up
Multiply the original 5 points times by the number of fellow passengers who do not hit you. Add 10 more points if you do get slapped.

You correct strangers in public
5 points

You correct strangers in public on such non-public-safety related topics as, "Which country invented pastrami," "The best McDonalds in the city," or, "The name of the next metro stop."
10 points

You correct strangers in public, and you are wrong
Just go to hell

You own, read, or laughed at jokes repeated from something called a 'Pick Up Artist' manual
20 points

You wrote such a manual, or you introduce yourself in public as a 'Pick Up Artist
I would give you points for that shit but I know you haven't had sex with a non-plastic or non-passed-out woman in years, so nothing I can do will make you feel worse.

You forward mass emails sharing your political convictions to everyone in your contacts list
5 points

You write a cutesy email about how you don't appreciate mass emails, and then forward it to everyone in your contacts list
Do you GET what's wrong with that? Do you? Obviously not, so 20 points

You memorized a politics-related article before going out, and demand that every person you meet that night share some sort of opinion on the topic
20 points (unless it's an article I also read)

You wear an outfit copied, in total, from the J. Crew catalog to work.
5 points

You secretly believe you are a Malcolm Gladwell* "connector" of people.
5 points

You TELL PEOPLE you are a Malcolm Gladwell "connector" of people.
20 points

* Author of "Tipping Point," a book about the theory of making masses of people do what you want.


My Mugger v. My Ex Boss

Too often, we fear the lightning-bolt risk - the plane crash, the identity theft, the stranger abduction - over more prosaic but statistically more-likely threats. In D.C., we let worries about crime force us into racist and classist segregation. Yet, as eager and ambitious youths, many of us volunteer to spend most of our daylight hours with people who really, really suck. God forbid we live within range of Georgia Ave. But show us a sadistic idiot with an administrative assistant opening, and we FIGHT to work on his bandwagon. (For free, of course).

To illustrate this idea, here's a side-by-side comparison of my mugger and my ex-boss, measured in several categories that I made up to prove my point.

Favorite Catch Phrase

Mugger: Hey Chica! Over here!
Ex-Boss: Same.

Edge: It's a draw.

Annoying Habit

Mugger: Grabbing at my purse.
Ex-Boss: Employing supposed "rapport building technique" of mimicking EVERY DAMN HAND GESTURE MADE BY THE PERSON SEATED ACROSS FROM HIM.

Edge: Mugger.

Helpful Suggestion

Mugger: Something that sounded like, "You should eat your father in HELL." (My Spanish is bad).
Ex-Boss: "You should buy more porn."

Edge: Have to give this one to the boss.

Work Ethic

Mugger: Out prowling the streets at all hours.
Ex-Boss: In by 10 a.m. almost every morning. Often worked right through til lunch.

Edge: Mugger.

Attempted Haul

Mugger: Tried to grab a purse containing some insured credit cards and three tubes of lip gloss.
Ex-Boss: Tried to keep half of last two paychecks, all unused vacation time and some personal items kept at the office; claimed "record keeping error" when contacted by attorney.

Edge: Mugger again.

Long-term Risk Posed to Society

Mugger: May grab a few more wallets.
Ex-Boss: May breed.

Edge: Mugger. Oh lord god in heaven. It's sooooo the mugger.

Well there you go. My parents cringed at the thought of my riding the bus with, gasp, illegals. But they were EXCITED that I could have the opportunity to spend a large chunk of every day locked in a room with a jackass who started every other conversation with, "I know some people will say I shouldn't talk about something like this at work, but...heh..." Clearly they are stupid and I should move to Galludet and use the money I save on rent to buy better-quality beer.