The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mr. Smith goes to Washington

Okay, I admit it was a little more like Mr. Magoo. This morning, I put on my suit, grabbed my "Gallery Pass" and headed to the Senate for the confirmation vote of Mr. Samuel Alito. I was right on time to meet my friends at the corner of Louisiana and Constitution. Walking to and around the Capitol, I was a little disappointed not to see any protestors, mostly because it would have felt really good to walk right by them on the way to watch Mr. Alito get confirmed.

We got through security, dodged a few tours, and finally landed ourselves a spot in the line to enter the Gallery around 10:30am. The vote was at 11am. Around 10:45, a gentleman told us the Senate Gallery was full and we would not be able to get in before the vote but were welcome to view the gallery after the vote. WHAT? We were really disappointed, but didn't have too much time to dwell because the vote was coming up. Quick! Think! We need to at least find a television to watch it. Have you ever tried to find a television in our nation's capitol? Well, it is no easy feat. We began frantically asking tour guides and info desks where we could find a television. It's funny that the MCI Center can have twenty-foot screens on the side of the building showing you what is going on inside, but the Capitol doesn't even have a 20" Magnavox or something. Our search led us underground, because how else would one maneuver between buildings within the the complex?

As we are walking, everyone is going the opposite direction; they are heading toward the vote. As we pass the "escort required beyond this point" sign, I begin to question this and my friends shush me. We figured out really quickly that if you walk confidently acting as if you belong, no one will stop you. As we were about to get on the staffer subway system, a train stopped from the opposite direction. Off stepped Senators Kennedy, Warner, and more. I was not close enough to trip Sen. Kennedy, but considering he is on a cane, I probably would have saved that for Sen. Kerry had I seen him. At our next stop, we saw Sen. Lieberman. When we got off, we searched for the cafeteria that we heard had a television. Nope. Some nice gentleman had told me there is a small TV in "Cups & Company". Great! We truck it over to C&C and I turn the corner to find the television...and a man watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We really had to laugh. Apparently law school students are a little more interested in some Senate votes than the folks that work in the Senate buildings. Okay, enough is enough, I decide we are going to head to my Senator's office. On our way to see if Sen. Vitter has a television, we pass Sen. Santorum's office. The door is open, the TV is on, so we just ask is we can watch with them. We arrive just in time to find out the Senate voted to confirm Mr. Samuel Alito as a Justice on the Supreme Court in a 58-42 vote. We stand for a moment, just taking it in. Okay, I admit it was fairly anti-climactic.

But, it ain't over yet. My feet are killing me by this point, but we keep walking. (As the only female, I have no intention of complaining about cramped toes.) We headed to the Russell building to see if we could catch a glimpse of some of the reporters interviews or something. Up the stairs, down the stairs, next hall over. As I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs into the rotunda area, a gentleman was coming toward me. I recognize him and immediately smile. He winked at me and continued on his way. "Did he just wink at you?" I smiled. Yes, that's right, Senator John McCain winked at me.

What a fun trip to the Capitol.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

An excess of human rights

This weekend I read:

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties;

The final draft of the International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility;

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

two Law Review articles about universal jurisdiction for international crimes;

and I am about to read International Law in a Nutshell all in prepping for a 40 page paper due in less than two weeks. You just WISH you could have my life right now, don't you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Vermin problem

My law school was invaded today. These pests came from out of nowhere, easily made their ways into our classrooms, and even seemed to multiply. I personally watched separate attempts by two professors to get rid of these intruders to no avail. (Correction, Prof. K eventually got rid of them, but not before the class began chanting about the 4th Amendment.)

No roaches or ants or termites. Nope, those I could handle. These pests were smut-pushers and they were sent by this crazy guy. Being that I am a Republican in a liberal DC law school, I am accustomed to banter that is less than flattering to the current administration. However, 'Dick Cheney is Satan's son and Alito is their lost incestuous love child' is not a part of the intelligent discussions that usually ensue around the law school. I have to pass these fools daily at Foggy Bottom, but a quick spin of the IPod wheel can tune them out. When they are standing in front of my classroom and class begins in two minutes, no such luck.

I first encountered the youth cult members when they were passing around magazines and voicing uneducated viewpoints to my Criminal Procedure class. When it was time for class to begin, Prof. K politely told them it was time for them to leave. They did not seem to agree as they continued their preaching. I was actually appalled at the inappropriate manner in which they addressed (and ignored) a professor of his stature, or at any level for that matter. About an hour later, I encountered a group of four of them in a yelling match with students and Prof. M. These morons kept going on about how the students here were being lied to and we all needed to face what was really going on (um, that apparently aliens were living among us). They spoke as if they believed they had a much better grasp on current events and the Supreme Court nominations than we or our professors did. Really? At a top law school in our nation's Capitol? Do you really think so?

A few of the things about the way in which the cult members were attempting to elicit support really struck me. First off, I believe that it is common sense that if you want someone to listen to what you have to say, you do not begin by calling them ill-educated, money wasting, lying students-of-the-law who have no grasp of reality or of the political process. It will also not help to follow up with how your cult can help them. Chances are, they quit listening to after you told them their tuition money was wasted. Second, if you are going to attempt to argue law and politics with people, you may want to know a little about who you are taking on.

Quick run-down of the two Profs I noticed the cult members in contact with today: Prof. K is a contributor on the extremely popular Volokh Conspiracy (a blog about legal and political issues), has degrees from Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, has written articles in every prestigious Law Review around and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. Prof. M clerked for Supreme Court Justices Kennedy and Thomas, got both of his degrees from Harvard and is an Officer in the US Army Reserve.

I watched these youth stand before these two professors at different times being inconsiderate and disrespectful, even going as far as to challenge one to a debate so his students could learn "the real truth". You will have to excuse me if I chose to learn what is "really" going on with our government and Supreme Court from former SCOTUS clerks and not some pamplet-holding children who went to cult-training for a week with a quack who preaches outside of the Metro. I must commend both professors for maintaining their composure throughout. Personally, I probably would have kicked the vermin had I been close enough.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Letters to strangers

In the spirit of my quest to not harbour resentful feelings and keep them all bottled up:

Dear Platform Bench-Sitting Metro Lady,
If you choose to sit in the middle of what quite obviously would be enough room for two people, I will clench my glutes and squeeze my ass right in that leftover spot that should only fit 1/2 a person. When I receive annoyed looks from you, I will crank my IPod to decible levels that ensure your ability to listen to "Sunglasses at Night" with me. I will not break eye contact as you stare at me in annoyance. When you refuse to scoot into the 12 inches of empty space on the other side of you, I will fulfill my urge to continuously play with my IPod volume which happens to be in my coat pocket adjacent to you, thereby accidentally bumping you repeatedly. Don't worry, I will apologize each time because after all, I am a southern gal.
Yours truly,
Your Morning Metro Friend

Dear 1L Chick in the Library,
Although I am thankful it is not body odor eliminating from your pores, I would say your perfume-doused clothing is just as bad.
The girl sitting two tables over who is gasping for air.

Dear 1L Dude in the Library,
Whispering is just as obnoxious as yelling if your whispering is continuous and about topics such as Bar Review, Barrister's Ball, and marrying your 1L crush.
The Girl Sitting Next to you who has cranked her IPod up so loud, she has almost burst an eardrum

Dear my friend Mary in Alexandria,
Oops. Are you still waiting on that check from me? You know, the one for $350 to get that two inch scratched fixed. Yeah, well, um, it's in the mail (or at least it will be eventually). Hey, I agreed to pay, I never said I would make this easy for you.
The poor starving student whose lunch money you are demanding.

To the Jackass in the basement study room,
While your "I hate to be rude, but can you two please be quiet, I have this room reserved" is technically correct...it is just wrong on so many levels. Apparently you are not accustomed with how the cool kids play. You do not begin obsessive SOLO room reserving until much later in the semester. If you are studying alone, you do not need an entire room reserved via the portal. Only jackasses do that this early in the game...really. Get out much?
The girl sitting across from you typing as loudly as possible while giving you "die" eyes.

To the Gentleman who walked onto the Metro at Foggy Bottom in front of me last night,
The girl who switched cars (not trains) at Rosslyn

Friday, January 20, 2006

I write a blog, but am I really a blogger?

Upside of having lockers at school, I can lock up my bag in there before going out at night, so I don't have to lug around a laptop. Downside, when I get home at the end of my evening, I don't have said laptop and we ALL know that 2am is the most opportune time to blog about the events of the evening. Sorry I am late!

On Wednesday, I had plans to attend a happy hour after class. A guy at school asked what happy hour and I said "oh, just some happy hour" refusing to disclose the true nature of the event. Granted, it wasn't like I was attending an AFF event or anything (*nod* to grasshopper;-), but nonetheless, it was not something I felt comfortable discussing. I wondered why that was, especially considering the guy who brought it up actually reads WonL daily (*nod* to RLPC co-org). Anyway, enough nodding, back to why I have not come to terms yet with being a blogger. Yes, I write a blog, but am I really a blogger?

In a way, I live two lives, one in the real world and one in the blogosphere. I have never really made it a habit to discuss my blog with people in the real world. There are some parts of my life I like to keep seperate from others in a "This is not good. World's are colliding! George is getting upset!" sort of way. People rarely bring up WonL to me in person and when/if they do, I probably react in a socially awkward manner because I am just weirded out about merging those worlds. In my real world, I do not feel I am defined by WonL. I do not want people to pre-judge me based on the ramblings I publish and rarely proofread on this blog. People know (and hopefully luv) me for me and many of my friends don't even know about this blog. I am just hesitant to allow the blogosphere to penetrate my real life.

However, I had never considered allowing my real life to penetrate the blogosphere. What a concept. I can actually go to a happy hour and make friends with random people who I have tons in common with outside of blogger.com. I re-lived my college days of EPH with Miss M and DC Sports Chick. I yelled at Travis like I had known him for years. I found out that Marci (half of the boobers) lives right near me. I got to hear gossip about my own law school classmates from EJ. I whined about law school and the bar exam with BettyJoan. I attempted to pre-emptively console AJA for her upcoming trip to Nola. I had a family/relationship discussion with a cowgirl and expressed my dismay at her punk boyfriend for not showing up. I also got to meet this guy who may or may not have looked like a Smallville character. I had a long conversation with the sweetest girl ever about her virginity. I chatted with Alex about his parents. I happily met a gal who has whole blog about pandas! I finally got to meet this Chase that everyone loves and I even met Lesley, who will soon be starting a blog about becoming a professional cheerleader. I had short but sweet conversations with the usual troublemakers Kathryn, Cookie, VP Dior and I-66 but did not get the chance to meet or chat with everyone. Hopefully, that will come in due time because I really had a great time making the friends that I did make. There are re-caps everywhere...check them out. I must say that my absolute favorite description of the bloggers at Mackey's goes to Lex: "They're everywhere, I tell you. They're like cockroaches, except that they're frequently much cuter and usually more interesting."

So, I guess it is time to admit, as I did at the most recent Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Blogger Happy Hour: My name is Law-Rah and I am a blogger.

**Due to an insane increase in people doing perverse searches and arriving at WonL, I am having to abbreviate my favorite college pasttime.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

She's back in the nook, but he isn't Mr. Big

She lies there, nestled in the nook. Everything feels so right. The world around does not exist. Her head rests comfortably on his strong arm, an arm that wraps her in a blanket of protection. Their bodies rise and lower in harmony with each breath. The fit together so perfectly. They both lie there, awake, feeling so right in each others arms. Neither want this moment to end. No words are spoken. None need to be spoken. In the nook, she just feels so at home.

She knows though. She knows this is some false reality. She knows that outside of these moments this will never work. The way in which she is nestled does not provide a good angle in which she can see his face. This is for the best. If she looks at him, she will see that he is not the one. She knows that he is not everything she dreams of; that she is deserving of much more. She knows all of these things, but she is just not ready to face them.

So she lies there feeling needed, comfortable, safe. She doesn't want to move. Even though he may not be Mr. Big, he is Mr. 'right here' and he does tuck away her pangs of lonliness to replace them with feeling desired. She lies there, struggling to muster the energy to move. Just like snoozing an alarm clock, she knows she should get up, but she's just too comfortable. She will never recapture the time she knows that she is wasting. Right now, though, right now that doesn't matter. She wants to hang on to every last moment in the comfort of the nook.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rise and Shine

I just won the award for worst hungover wake-up experience ever.

Best Friend arrived in DC yesterday for a teachers conference. After an evening of mucho alcohol consumption, I crashed at her hotel on Capitol Hill. Luckily, her teacher-roomie was not arriving until today. Not so luckily, by "today" she meant early this morning.

BFF had to head downstairs for a presentation at 8:30 and I fully intended to sleep in. Not long after she left, I was awakened by a door slam. Thinking she had just forgotten something, I headed back to slumber land. Door slam was followed by a lot of rummaging and zipping/unzipping and rolly bags and just plain noise. Since BFF and I go back to the 5th grade, we can talk to each other fairly casually. Eyes still closed, nestled under the covers, I ask "dude, could you be any louder?" The response of "oh, I'm sorry, I just have to get ready for my presentation" came from someone who was not, in fact, BFF. I open my eyes to little lady teacher-roomie whose bed I am sleeping in. I apologize profusely and explain who I am and such. She politely tells me to go ahead and continue sleeping. She promises not to be "chatty."

The problem with attempting to sleep at this point is the noise that teacher-roomie is emitting. On the other hand, there is a problem with getting up at this point too. Aside from the splitting headache, I am not actually, um, dressed. BFF had an extra pair of pants for me to sleep in but no top. While some people may think that sleeping unclothed in a hotel room with a stranger is normal, I am not one of those people. Although this is an acceptable level of "modesty" in front of BFF, it is not in front of teacher-roomie from Connecticut. I figure she will just get situated and head downstairs for whatever they have today. So, I wait. And I wait. At least things are quiet by now. I crack one eye and peak through that little slit to see her playing with a glue stick and construction paper. When she said 'get ready for my presentation' she really meant it. Realizing that I cannot do this all day, I go ahead and face the music. I quickly get out of bed, grab my smoky clothing from last night and make a b-line for the bathroom.

I guess teacher-roomie thought this meant her promise not to be chatty was no longer in effect, because she just hit the ground running. With every word, my head throbbed. She is talking about the television in the bathroom and when and if such a thing would ever be necessary. "Must be those hoity-toity Washington people who just cannot go five minutes without knowing what is going on in the world. Unless, of course they take a long time in the bathroom. You know, when I was younger, my father used to take 45 minutes in the bathroom. I would tell you we didn't know what he was doing in there, but when the door opened, the smell that came out..."

At this point, I look out of the window to see how far the drop is because when I jump in two seconds, I want to make sure I die. I am standing there with a throbbing headache wearing clothing from last evening that smells worse than the smoking rooms at the Atlanta airport and I am about to have to Metro home, plus this strange woman has just seen me almost naked and now she wants to tell me about her father's bowel movements. I am just not okay with any of this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Nobody "gets" me

I have now found a way to be mis-understood by a computer:-)

Me: God
God: GOD rules.
Me: yes, i know
God: Awesome. How do you know it?
Me: known for a while
God: How long? Do not ask me any more questions please.
Me: wait, i have not asked you anything
God: I'm waiting. Me either.
Me: wanna bet
God: Sorry I am not the gambling type.
Me: okay, let's start over
God: Yeah okay, You start.
Me: Dearest God, I need a favor
God: What if it didn't happen?
Me: if WHAT didn't happen?
God: That is a hypothetical question.
Me: right, but I will need a better fact pattern for the hypo
God: Understood. How do you plan to do this?
Me: you are the one asking the hypo!
God: Thanks but surely I am not the only one.
Me: starting again...back to that favor
God: Once more? Try saying that with more or less context. Yes, let us get back to starting.
Me: i'm going to need some help with school
God: Do you think your plan will succeed?
Me: if you help me
God: I think I do.
Me: you do what?
God: I talk to people on the web. What do you do?
Me: apparently, i talk to fake gods on the web
God: How do they respond to you?
Me: in unintelligible ways
God: Where is that?
Me: somewhere in Mississippi
God: Where? Tell me a little about your life in Mississippi.
Me: geez, I have to go now
God: Oh. See you later, . Nice chatting with you.

Thanks to Aja for this gem:-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

*please excuse my momentary break from reality blogging*

Dear Phil (and the remaining Playa Bon),

I just wanted to thank you super-heros for everything you do for us, DC Bloggers. Where-oh-where would we be without you? I am sorry for your recent loss(es) but am honored that in your time of sadness, you were still there to offer your services to me in my time of need. Mary from Alexandria would have never messed with me, if she had known that the Playaz have my back.

I take comfort in knowing that even though you are far away geographically, you can be called upon so easily. I will sleep easier this evening knowing this.

You are my hero, Bat-Phil!

Your Friend in the District,

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The one I cannot argue with

Toward the end of last semester, I may or may not have scratched a woman's car in a parking lot in Alexandria. Being the honest soul that I am, I left a note. (HA! Lesson learned and duly noted.) So, Mary in Alexandria, has been calling about the two-inch scratch on her bumper. My first thought was "why don't you just give me the make and model of your car and I will go buy you some touch up paint at Target." Well, Mary had different thoughts. For whatever reason, she decided that it is of the utmost importance that the little white scratch on her bumper be handled in the most difficult possible way so she took it to some price-gouging car shop and got an estimate. They are going to need to take the whole bumper off, sandblast, buff, paint, blah, blah, blah $350. WHAT? Mind you, in an effort to ensure that Mary is not trying to pocket $350, I told her that I would be putting this on my credit card which meant I would be going to get it fixed with her.

Mary and I had a few very polite conversations disagreeing on how this should be handled. I sought outside advice (as I am sure she did as well.) I have gotten an array of advice from friends: "tell her to f-off"; "block her phone number"; "change your phone number"; "tell her you don't know what she is talking about"; "tell her you will fix it for her yourself"; "tell her to take you to court. It's not like she will actually do it for a mere $350." All good pieces of advice. Then, I called home. (Once again, lesson learned and duly noted.) You see, although I am an "adult" and have my own money and pay my own bills and do other grown up things, I am still a child when it comes to advice from my father. What daddy says goes.

"Pay the $350 and walk away." But, Dad, I think she is being unreasonable. I think she really doesn't even need to get it fixed. She's being dumb. "Law-Rah, you hit her car. She is in a position to be unreasonable if she wants. Pay the $350 and walk away." But, but, I don't have an extra $350 right now. Besides, I just sunk all my money into a charity, that should count for something! "Pay the $350 and walk away." Damnit! I sure hope Mary enjoys her new bumper that my student loans will be paying for.

Friday, January 06, 2006


A little late to the game, but I'm going to throw my New Years Resolutions into the mix. Honestly, it took me a little while because I just was not sure if I would be able to handle this one resolution. Of course, I have the usual: lose weight (eat healthier, exercise regularly), put more effort into school, keep my sanity during school, don't lose touch with friends, go to Church regularly (or at least at all), etc. Eh, these don't change from year to year. There is a new one this year. Well, it's actually more like a New Years Gift instead of a resolution.

As of now (rather, 5 days ago), I am wiping the slate clean in 2006. I am going give a virtual 'get out of jail free card' to everyone who pissed me off or hurt me last year. Yep, no grudges, no dwelling, no drama. I want to start fresh. If these means forgetting about things that people did to me last year that were "less than nice" then so be it. I'm done.

I forgive the pointy grade guy who didn't want me and my friend in his study group because he didn't think we were smart enough. I forgive my "good" friends who did not buy toys or contribute even $1 to a charity that I formed that meant the world to me. I forgive the boy who found out I was interested in him and, although he didn't feel the same, he thought it would be some sort of fun game to pretend he did. I forgive my friend who used her chemical imbalance to take advantage of me and my friendship. I forgive my former roommate who left naked pictures of himself on my computer. I forgive that snob at law school that talks about my friends as if she is above them. I forgive summer co-worker who made my life pure hell for 11 weeks. I forgive him (even though for some backward reason HE won't speak to ME). I forgive that professor for giving me a below-the-curve grade after sitting with me in his office saying "you really understand this class." And I even forgive law school boy from my first semester (well, whole first year really) for...well, he knows what for.

So, now, my list has been wiped clean (exept, of course, for Arlington AutoCare).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Dear neighbor state,

I realize you have done a lot for me in my time, with offering me a job, becoming the homestate of half my family, and most recently taking in all the Katrina evacuees...but I need one more tiny favor. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE prove them wrong and hand the Trojans their Bush on a platter this evening.

Best of luck:-)

says Matt Leinart: "I think we are the better football team, they just pulled off the plays."
says me: "I beg to differ, Matt Leinart."

The cost is insignificant

Yesterday, on the phone with my mom, I said "sometimes, I feel sorry for the people who are on the receiving end of me." This is something I used to say about my father and now realize about myself. She asked if she could have that in writing. I'll do one better, I'll expound.

As a prelude, I would like to say that the anal-retentive, argumentative, stubborn, pain-in-the-ass consumer that I am is not a product of my own making. These traits are inherited from my daddy and his side of the family. Anyway, as a wee Law-Rah, my most vivid memory of my father's consumer wrath was directed at the cashier at Pizza Hut. We were on our family pizza outing and I cannot recall if we were finished eating or had not yet begun, but regardless the whole family was standing up front between the buffet and the teenager ringing us up. The last time we had eaten at Pizza Hut, they had run a special where if you buy a big red jug of Coke (aka: cola, pop, soda), you can get free refills every time you bring it back. Dad brought our jug with us this time and handed it over for our 200+ ounces of Coke. "Um, sir," says the cashier, "we aren't running this special anymore." Dad's response: "what do you mean you aren't running it anymore? When I bought this you didn't say anything about an expiration date on the jug." "Um, sir, we haven't run this special in over a year." I cannot remember exactly what happened after that because I was running my fingers along the grout in the bricks hoping the wall would just fall on me. In the end, there was some arguing and some yelling and my father telling them we refuse to go back to Pizza Hut ever again. (This was not nearly as bad as the time my aunt was not satisfied with one of the burgers in our MickieD's order and after attempting to reverse in the drive-through only to find a car behind her, she got out and walked back to the window, wedging herself between the cashier and the next car in line to demand the onions be taken off.) Yep, I lived my childhood fearful that one of my relatives would make a scene over some insignificant purchase.

Now, I am the one making the scene:-)

Yesterday, I went to get my car inspected. The mechanic was a little less than nice, but what can you expect. We'll call him Flea because he looked like Flea from the Chili Peppers. The guy at the desk, however, seemed really nice in the HOUR that I listened to him answer the phone while I waited for my car. We'll call him Victor because that was his name. So, Victor calls me over and tells me that my left rear brake light is out and the car will not pass inspection until that is fixed and the windshield wipers are replaced. The conversation went like this:

"Well, do what you have to so it passes" I tell him.
"Okay, the light is gonna run you about $24 and the wipers about $40."
"Woah! Fourty bucks for wiper blades. That seems steep, why are they so expensive?"
"I don't know, that's just how much they cost." (nice Victor is getting a bit defensive at this point)
"Are all of your blades so expensive or is there like a generic kind?"
"That is just how much they cost. It's because they are ultra zip tight squeeqie blah blah blades."
"Is it a necessity that I have them done here? I mean, could I just go to Target and buy the blades?"
"I don't care what you do." (Victor is really pissy now)
"Hang on now, there's no need for the attitude, I'm just curious if I could save some money by getting the blades myself."
"Hell, if you want to do that, you can walk next door and buy the blades"
"Really, how much would they cost over there?"
"I don't work there, you have to ask them. If you get them there, we ain't puttin' them on." (pissy Victor now has his arms crossed) (Law-Rah is now beginning to get pissy)
"Well, if I get them next door, I bet they could help me put them on."
"They aren't allowed in our shop and your car is taking up space, so we would have to move it."
"Fine, put the $40 blades on my car. I don't care." (By now, I realize Victor is going to make it real difficult for me if I don't get his rip-off blades. I had been there for way too long and by that point just didn't care.)

Victor tells Flea to go ahead with all the work. After reading for a little while, curiosity begins to get the better of me, so I walk next door. As the nice gentleman is looking up the prices for me, he asks how much they are charging me. When I tell him, he chuckles, as does everyone else behind the counter. "Yep, just as I thought, they run $8.99 a piece." WHAT??? Thinking possibly labor costs could raise the price of the blades closer to $20 each, I asked how difficult they are to put on. "They snap right on, I could do them for ya. I would tell you to go back next door and tell them nevermind you'll get the blades yourself but they already came and got them" he says. "Hang on just a damn minute. You mean they bought my wiper blades from you?" "Yeah, they get all their blades from us, why?"

Steam coming from my ears, I march back to talk to Victor. Lucky for him, he is on a phone call that lasts about 8 minutes. I stand right in front of him staring the entire time. He's so uncomfortable, he swivels his chair around with his back to me. Bad move, compadre, I am not leaving. He swivels back to: "I think it is really dick how you treat your customers especially considering I have been coming here for four years."
"The wiper blades cost $9 next door."
"I don't know."
"I'm not asking you. I'm telling you. They cost $9."
"Whatever. I already told you we are a separate business and I don't know how much they charge."
"Well, Jack-Ass, you should. All you have to do is look at the receipt considering Flea just purchased MY blades from next door."
"Wait, uh, well, uh..."
"Yeah, apparently, wiper blades more than DOUBLE in cost when they enter your shop. Fascinating."
"Well, uh, uh..."
"Is this the manager's card?" I ask pointing to a stack of business cards.
"Uh-huh. Um, hang on a sec." (He frantically types in the computer as I write "Victor" and the time down on the back of the card.)
"Oh, yeah, I, uh, gave you the wrong price. The blades aren't $40, they are $30."
"Actually, I believe they are closer to $18, but whatever."

Moral of the story: It's not about the insignificant price. It's a matter of principle. Oh, yeah, and DO NOT got to Arlington AutoCare on Wilson under any circumstances. Since I have no kids, I am issuing this ban on my readers!

Monday, January 02, 2006

I Corinthians 13

When I first moved to DC and didn't know too many people, I decided to look into my sorority's alumni chapter in Northern Virginia. The first meeting was a pot luck dinner and I had no clue what to expect. The room was filled with a lot of women who seemed to already know each other. Some of the ladies were a lot older, but there seemed to be a core group of us that were recent college graduates. Those of us that were a little younger all swapped phone numbers and decided to hang out. I went home glad to have made some new friends in my thus far lonely DC life. In my journal, I wrote about it describing each of my new friends. About Holly, I wrote "small southern religious." Little did I know, in the following years, she would become my dearest friend.

Over the years, we spent countless evenings on her balcony with a few packs of cigarettes and bottles of wine. We could talk and giggle for hours and hours. We talked to each other about past experiences, many of which we came to realize were very similar. We got to know each other's families. Over time, we have made and lost touch with many friends, but the two of us always remained. We really have gone through a lot together: a boyfriend leaving the country, a boyfriend who asked her not to tell his parents she was from Texas, a disastrous job loss, the LSAT, an uber-Christian roommate, a creepy porn roommate, a very mean aunt, two siblings with "former" drug problems, a wedding with a rat as the ring-bearer, drinking problems, Law School, a Master's of NonProfit, a couple of Religion changes, numerous job changes (all Holly;-), an Eminem surprise birthday party, a cowboy themed birthday party, a bout of depression, running a charity and most recently, her move to Richmond. In essence, we really have been like peas and carrots.

The funny part is with all that we have in common and in all that we have grown together, we come from very different worlds and are looking to go to very different places. From the day I met Holly, she has been dreaming of her white picket fence. In fact, I think she has been waiting for this since she was about four years old. She wants to be a PTA mom ready with brownies when her little ones get home from school. She is your typical Junior Leaguer that will have her children dressed in clothes made from designers I cannot pronounce. She will do the cooking and cleaning while some charming husband makes all the money. She will go shopping with his mother and her mother and then they will go for high tea. She will throw the dinner parties and all the socialites will gather around her beautiful new piece of antique furniture. At the end of the day, this is what will make Holly smile.

Since I have known Holly, she has been struggling to get there. She has known exactly what it was that she wanted and has held onto the hope that she could one day have it. This has not been an easy road with dating disasters and relationships that seemed to go nowhere. Add that to a whole lot of pressure from friends and family members. "What? Holly is still not married? She's 26 years old, she better get moving." (It's a Southern thing.) Sometimes, I felt like giving her a giftcard to Home Depot and telling her to build her own white picket fence. Still, while Holly was growing into an independent, self-sufficient woman, part of her still longed for someone to just come and take care of it all. Enter white knight. I am happy to report that yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, while everyone was still celebrating the arrival of 2006, Adam got down on his knee with ring in hand and offered Holly the white picket fence she has always dreamed of.

Congratulations, my "small southern religious" friend, no one deserves this more than you do.