The Capital Crescent Trail & Jeff on Jeopardy

A few months ago, I walked the Capital Crescent trail. One of my coworkers, Ginger, expressed interest in walking it with me, but despite our attempts to find a workable date, we stalemated for months: hot weather, expected thunderstorms, and sudden, unexpected work projects or girlfriend issues or last minute happy hours thwarted all plans.

Until this week, when we decided to give Wednesday a try, and the weather more than cooperated, it was damn near almost spring like.

Our plan was to leave work at 3:00 and catch either the RideOn 47 or the WMATA J3 to Bethesda. As fate would have it, we wound up on the J3. Which is not at all a bad route or anything, it’s just that it takes a longer time to get to Bethesda as it stops past Medical Center first. Honestly, we should’ve just waited for the 47. We bailed on the bus long before the Metro station as construction of some sort at Wisconsin and Old Georgetown was really snarling traffic.

The Capital Crescent trails runs from Silver Spring to Georgetown. Total length is marked at 11 or so miles, although the last half miles is under the Whitehurst Freeway. The Bethesda starting point is roughly 3.5 miles into the route. Ginger is a good six inches taller than me, and it’s not at all unfair to say his legs go all the way up to his ass. Seriously, he’s got long legs. I, on the other hand, have short stumpy legs. Fair to say I was a tad worried about the pace he was going to set, and he set what for me would be considered aggressive (and I’m sure for him it was “ambling”).

We averaged about an 18 minute mile. Mile markers seemed to speed past us. We took no breaks, and arrived in Georgetown a few minutes before six. Two miles from the end, the blister I’d acquired on Saturday decided to burst, causing my right foot to alternate between “OH MY GOD MY FOOT IS ON FIRE” to “Okay, this is bearable” to “OH MY GOD I STEPPED ON A LEGO BRICK WITH MY BARE FOOT” and back again. I kept pace with Ginger right until we reached Jack’s Boathouse, at which point I throttled back and he was suddenly like twenty feet ahead of me. Thing is: if not for the blister? I totally could have – and would have – kept going. Georgetown is only a couple of miles from my apartment. Mostly, though, I’m kind of sad that this blister pretty much means I’m going to have to scrap my Long Walk on Saturday. Boo.

We waited under the Whitehurst for about thirty minutes, and then Ginger’s girlfriend, who works up McArthur, arrived in her nice air-conditioned SUV and gave us a ride to my nice frigid apartment. We went up to the roof of my building to enjoy the view and our brews — Abita Purple Haze, if you’re curious — and met a new neighbor of mine, which there’s really not much to say except she’s cute, and enjoys lounging on the roof reading books, which is totally awesome.

By a little after 7:30 I was back in my apartment, soaking my foot in Epsom salt infused water watching Jeopardy. A guy I used to work with at my current day job — Ginger probably started just a week or two after he left — (who also happens to be named Jeff) was on the show last night. He was doing very poorly at the outset, but then came back strong and won the game with his answer: USS Constitution “Old Ironsides.” (I think I’d been checking my email and actually missed what the final question was). He was the only contestant to get the answer right, and he won the game.

FUCKING AWESOME DAY.

Long Walk – Saturday, June 25th 2011

My long walks usually follow the same formula: my apartment, Adams Morgan, downtown, Georgetown, home. I wanted to change it up a bit, so Saturday morning I ventured down to Rock Creek Park and followed the trail to Georgetown. I only came across one homeless guy living under a bridge, and walked part of the Georgetown canals. I truly do believe Georgetown is one of the most beautiful places in the city, but only early in the morning when most of the crowds who will eventually flock there are still sleeping off the previous night’s excesses.

In any case, my walk left me with a fairly large blister on my right foot so I ended my walk at the grocery store and caught the bus home. I walked ten miles and worked up quite a nice sweat.

My Pocket Sun

When I started working at the Cinecave, I bought two things I realized I would need. The first was a watch, because working in a theater that’s two or three stories underground and has lots of cement overhead because it used to be a parking garage tends to drain a cell phone’s battery really damn quickly. Not to mention it’s just easier to look at my wrist then to fumble my phone out of my pocket every time I need to check the time to see if Auditorium 4 is about to get out or not.

The second thing I bought is what my coworkers refer to as my pocket sun. It’s been missing for a week.

I found my pocket sun the other night. The last time I remembered seeing it was while I was cleaning my closet. My closet is huge – it’s like sixty-four square feet. It’s a storage room, a dressing room, a hobby studio, and a clothes hanger all wrapped into one. My cats will also commandeer it for their own purposes if I’m not careful enough to keep the door closed.

Turns out, I’d left the pocket sun on a bookshelf. And then for some reason, I’d put a stack of books in front of it. Whoops.

Point of fact: I do not, in fact, carry a star in my pocket. It’s actually a compact LED flashlight. And it’s super bright. I can be standing at one end of the auditorium hall at the Cinecave and illuminate the far wall of the hall. That’s literally a city block. With a flashlight that’s about as long as my thumb.

It’s awesome. It’s also really bright.

A couple of weeks ago I was down on U Street for a happy hour at Tabaq Bistro. I met a whole lot of Twitterers and bloggers, including A Single Girl, Cupcakes & Shoes, and Sassy Marmalade, and it was a really fun time. Buuut I’d just worked the previous night at the Cinecave which, when you factor in the early hour I arise for my day job, basically meant I was running on about four and a half or five hours of sleep and was pretty tired. So I went, had a couple of beers, made my excuses, and caught the bus home.

Before I caught the bus, though, I wanted to relieve my bladder. So I ventured down to the basement, which was the only place where I could find a restroom (maybe I’m blind?). I entered the men’s room and was greeted by absolute pitch darkness. Like, seriously, even with the door open I could barely make out a sink and a urinal. I groped along the wall for a light switch and found nothing, which completely confused me. Where was the light switch? Maybe it was on the outside wall? I looked, and no light switch.

I pulled out the pocket sun and flashed it about almost blinding myself with the reflection of the light off the mirror. The restroom was small. There was a urinal and a sink, and then a stall to my left. I decided that, screw it, I’d just keep the pocket sun on and hold it on while I did my business. Here’s the problem: among the pocket sun’s flaws, and it has them, perhaps the biggest flaw is that the switch must be depressed for the light to work. Release it, and the light turns off. (The other flaw is that it’s far too easy to activate one of the light’s features like, say, strobe, and far too difficult to figure out how to turn said features off.)

I decided to try this delicate maneuver in the stall, where at least I wouldn’t blind some other patron trying to relieve his bladder. Opening the door of the stall I saw the light switch.

On the wall. Of the stall. Access blocked by the stall door.

Are you kidding me?

Who the fuck puts a light switch on the other side of the stall door?

Whoever wired Tabaq Bistro, apparently.

Good Bones

My building between the 2009 double blizzards.

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Before I moved to DC, I lived for seven years on the Cranbrook Road strip in Cockeysville. I remember an episode of that TV show where neighbors decorate a room in their neighbors’ house while they neighbors do the same to one of theirs? I can’t recall the title of it, but it was hosted by a woman named McLeod for a year which was awesome because I’m a huge Highlander fan (even if Connor and Duncan are MacLeods). Anyway, so one episode was actually filmed in Timonium, and one of the show’s regular artisans commented to the women he was working with, “I knew this was going to be trouble when I saw ‘Cockeysville’ on the road sign.”

Also fun: when I’d enter my address into online forms and it would come out ****eysville. Yeah, that’s hilarious. I guess the residents of Fuck, Australia are rightly and truly fraked.

In any case, I moved to that area after living for two years in Towson. I spent two years in a small studio apartment, then moved to a larger two bedroom apartment in Timonium, just past the end of Cranbrook Road. Both the studio and the two bedroom (which ran me something like $850 a month when I moved out) were managed by the same company.

One day – I don’t know I could remember even the year – I was getting ready to step into the shower when I heard noises from the living room. I stepped into the hall and there was a guy standing there. He said he was with the complex, and he needed to inspect my apartment. Um, excuse me, what the frick? He handed me a letter, glanced around, and told me to clean the place up because their loan company was doing annual inspections of the apartments and mine had been randomly selected.

My thought was: what person will actually walk into an apartment (after presumably knocking), hear a shower running, and not leave immediately?

Flash forward many years. I’ve been in DC for three years. The building I reside in is night and day different from that crummy mass built structure I lived in for five years. There’s a lobby with gold detail and ornate carvings and I think some marble. There’s a management staff that is very approachable and delivers dry cleaning and packages. Every day, the housekeeping staff is mopping and cleaning, and the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a maintenance request was two days: and that was for a new dishwasher.

A note was slid under my door over the weekend, I received another one yesterday evening. Tomorrow morning, the water to the building will be turned off at 6am and will be left off for almost twelve hours as the boiler system is entirely replaced. The note describes the replacement as a “once every ten year” project, and I have no reason to disbelieve them. In fact, the inconvenience to me will be largely non-existent – I will shower when I get home tonight from my part time job at The Cinecave, and the overwhelming desire to brush my teeth in the morning will make me leap out from under the covers and rush for the bathroom as I have no desire to use a water bottle (hooray tap water).

But the note got me thinking. I recall, I think during my tour of the apartment, a month before I moved in, asking how old the building was. I think the answer was that it was built in the 1920s, and sometimes I wonder how the building looked to those first residents. I mean, I’m sure it looked very similar, but were the apartments divided the same way there are now, or were they cut into smaller units after the war? Clearly the elevators are new-ish: were there always two? Was there just one, maybe with a grill door and an attendant?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I think I’m going to contact the District’s historical society and see if they have any information, or if they can give me pointers to finding these out.