Basically a post about nothing, but I do write about the northbound L2 stop at New Hampshire & Dupont Circle, as well as a moron at the auto checkout lane at the Giant Food in Van Ness. You know, if you read the title, you can probably skip the post.

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.”

Oh. Retail.

Tinker, Tailor,/Soldier, Sailor,/Rich Man, Poor Man,/Beggar Man, Thief.

Mid-December. 2:30 in the morning. The streets are deserted. I wear no hat. My coat is open. I contemplate taking off my scarf. Because it feels like a spring night. And I walk from city block to city block, looking for a cab. There: ahead of me, a cab, a block away. By the time I reach the corner, it is long gone, but as I turn, I see another cab rolling down the street I just left, and a block west, and a block east, and a block north, passing cabs. Yet as I move in any direction, it is like I am some predator the cabs are wary of, for they and I never seem to occupy the same space at the same time.

It’s like a fucking episode of The Twilight Zone.


One of the awesome things about working part time at the Cinecave are the staff-only midnight viewings of upcoming films. These aren’t supremely popular for a variety of reasons, mostly revolving around a lot of people having full-time day jobs, and the lack of public transportation after a certain hour. Tonight — and by tonight, technically I mean yesterday evening — I left my apartment and made my way down to the Cinecave for a midnight screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the new adaptation of John LeCarre’s classic spy novel.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the film. I say “for the most part” because, c’mon, I’d been up since like 6am. I nodded off a few times during the show. In the picture above, from the very first scene of the film, Mark Strong (as Jim Prideaux) is given his marching orders by Control (John Hurt), head of the Circus (part of the intelligence apparatus of MI-6). Thus begins the chain of events which … well, I don’t want to give too much away.

I liked it. I need to see it again, because, as I mentioned, I dozed off a few times.

I’ve read in some reviews that certain folks don’t think the plot is understandable without having read the book. Here’s a confession from me: I’ve read the book, and I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what the fuck had happened and how Smiley put everything together.

Lastly: if you’ve never read anything by John LeCarre, consider adding this to your library. For one thing, it’s a good fucking book. I kind of think a spy novel should leave you more confused about what happened in it then you were when all you had to go on was the back flap. For another thing, LeCarre’s publisher has recently released a lot of the author’s works with new cover art by Matt Taylor … and guys? It’s fucking gorgeous:

And yes, I did get a cab. And now I debate staying up, or getting a few precious hours of sleep. Folks, I think the latter takes it. Here’s hoping I turn off my alarm.