After the midnight screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I made my way home, and shot off an email to my boss telling him that, as I’d mentioned as a possibility, I would be taking the day off from work. I answered a few emails, wrote a blog post, and finally found myself in bed around four-ish.
I woke up at 7.
And I woke up again at 8.
Again at 9:30.
Finally, by 11, I’d broken away from the snuggling, purring, drooling cats, burned my scrambled eggs, and shivered getting dressed because I hadn’t turned the heat on before stepping into the shower.
I jumped the Metro for Silver Spring. I’d heard about a used bookstore near the Metro station I hadn’t been aware of, and I’d heard it had a great genre selection. I’ve been looking for Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, and I was hoping to find the few still absent from my shelves. Notable the second book, because, yes, I know you can read them out of order, but man, I like to read them IN order, okay? The store was pretty decent, and I found some John le Carre titles (Call of the Dead and Our Game) and headed back into the city, intending for a grocery run.
But of course I hopped off the Metro at Dupont to visit two of my favorite used book shops: Second Story, and Books for America. No Lee Child at Second Story, but I found two at Books for America. I was hesitant about the hardback copy of Worth Dying For until I realized it was $3. Oh, okay. I can live with that.
I walked over to the L2 stop at New Hampshire and Dupont. Given the choice between Metro rail and Metro bus, I’ll always choose the latter. Riding a bus I feel connected to the city in a way I don’t in dark, underground subway tunnels. Also, if I miss my stop, I can just yank the chain and walk a block or two, rather than having to wait for a train heading in the opposite direction.
With a twenty minute wait at the stop, I said “screw it” and started walking south. This can sometimes be dangerous, depending on how long the wait is for the bus. It’s like this: if you’re trying to walk to a bus stop that’s closer to the bus’s current location, you might always find yourself halfway between the two stops when the bus comes past. That’s a recipe for shit-outta-luck.
Everything worked out fine, though, and I got on the bus. And then the bus went right past its turn on New Hampshire.
Look: I get that traffic on Dupont is fucked. I’ve literally been on buses that have taken ten to fifteen minutes from that turn from 20th Street to being able to get across the circle and make the left on 18th. Fucking sucks. Nobody knows how to drive that damn circle.
Anyway, the driver cut up to P Street, made a right, and entered the circle with little trouble. Problem: there was a woman waiting at the stop on New Hampshire.
And then the driver stopped along the curb, opened the door, and ran over to the stop to get her on the bus.
Which was awesome, but I couldn’t help but think about how trouble that bus stop can be when traffic’s high volume. Not so long ago, there was a long line of cars waiting to enter the circle, and the bus pulled up past those, the doors opened, and the driver was like “C’mon man!” and I ran over, between cars, and jumped on, and the driver was like “Sorry man, these idiots are supposed to be doing this double-lane like.” And a minute later, BAM!, we were across the circle.
I napped a bit on the long ride up to Van Ness, but got there okay, got some milk and some other stuff, and was checking out, and listened to the most ridiculous exchange.
I’d used one of the four automatic check out lanes. If you’ve never used them before, when you’re done, they print out receipts for you to use on your next visit. It’s a way to get you to come back. Or to buy the same products again.
“So, can I use these coupons?” this guy asked the clerk assigned to the automatic lanes.
“Yes you can.”
“Great. But I already paid, so …?”
“Well, you can’t use them now.”
“So I can’t use them?”
“You can use them. You just can’t use them on the purchase you just made.”
“Well, that’s dumb. I’m never coming back here again.”