Friday, July 22, 2011

Bikes and Happy Hours

Wednesday evening I went to a Notre Dame Young Alumni happy hour, invited by my friend Lee. Just getting there was an adventure. Finding the bar was easy enough - it's conveniently down the block from where I work - but when I got there I asked the bouncer where the Notre Dame happy hour was. "Upstairs," he said, waving his hand in the direction of the narrow stairs.

Up I went, and lined up behind some other professional-looking-type people who were taking turns signing in. I noticed a sticker on the wall, something about democrats, and I supposed someone must have put it up as a joke. As I took the pen to sign in, I looked down at the clipboard and saw that guests were writing their place of work and email address as well as name. The two people in front of me had written "Planned P-hood" as their workplace. Red flags went off in my head - has Notre Dame really sunk so low? - and I quickly realized I wasn't in the right place. So back down the stairs I went, and was overjoyed to find Lee  hanging out by the bar.

The rest of the evening was a continuing adventure. Lee introduced me to Mike, another PLS major like me (hurray!), and we had a nice little chat about Heidegger. I told Mike how heartbroken I am that I left my Basic Works of Aristotle in Chicago. "How will I live without the Ethics?" I mourned. "I hate to break it to you," Mike said, "but you're not going to be reading much Aristotle from now on." I didn't want to believe that but I know he's probably right. Even more cause for mourning.

Then Lee introduced me to Joe L. Oh my. Have we discussed the L's? They're this massive awesome family, the womenfolk of whom maintain this blog, and I've pretty much been a long-distance fan of their family for years. I had yet to meet any of them though. I spotted one of the girls, Deirdre, from afar at this movie night (and oh what an exciting celebrity sighting it was!) but despite my admiration I had never met any of them before.

But Wednesday night was my big chance. There was Joe, there was me, and we were both at the Notre Dame young alumni happy hour. And Lee was willing to make the introductions. I was so excited. So up we went and commenced conversation. The usual pleasantries were exchanged - name, hometown, job, etc. Joe is an editor at a magazine very similar to the one I work at.

"Oh so, you're also in journalism," he said. "Did you get your start at the [small conservative independent campus opinion journal, whose name I shall forbear to mention here for fear that someone might find it and read this]?"

"Nope," I said blithely, with all the confident idiocy of someone walking right into a trap. "I only wrote for [main campus newspaper] on principle. The [other small paper] is just bad journalism."

Joe smiled politely. "Well, I was one of its editors," he said.

And then I died. And spent the next twenty minutes frantically back-tracking and trying to take it back. Nope. The damage had been done. And that's the story of how I epically messed up my one and only first impression on the mythical L. family. *sigh*

Don't worry, this story gets better.

Yesterday after work, there was another event on the calendar, sponsored by my very own favorite organization. The event description promised free drinks and hors d'oeuvres (or snacks on snacks, as I like to call them), so I was planning to be there like a bear. Only problem is, I had resolved to return some dresser knobs to Anthropologie before this week was out, and I knew there was no chance I'd make it on Friday. The Anthro and the event were in opposite directions from where I work and several miles apart. There could only be one solution...

Capital Bikeshare to the rescue!

Now the thing about me and bikes is, from ages 9 to 14, I never once got on a bike without coming back injured from having fallen off (I was an exceptionally uncoordinated child). To be honest my biking skills have not improved much since those days. At one point yesterday evening, I ran into a light pole.

"Are you ok??" a woman gasped.

"Yeah..." I admitted. "Just clumsy." And then I couldn't help laughing because I really am an awful klutz.

Another problem was how many people were out and about walking through downtown DC. It was hard not to hit them. In fact if we're being honest here, more than one person had to jump dramatically out of the way as I biked merrily along. You might say I was the Scourge of the Sidewalks. In fact I felt a little like Mr. Toad in his motorcar, because I was having such a good time, while everyone around me was more or less in fear for their lives.

But really, Capital Bikeshare is pretty much the best thing on this planet. I got from one end of the city to the other in like 15 minutes, and I rode my bike past the White House. Past the White House, people!! It was such a rush! So overall I really enjoyed my biking experience, even though I showed up at the happy hour all hot and red-faced from my excursion.

As for the happy hour... well, it was a very good time. In fact I met two guys there who I foresee becoming some of my new best friends in DC. But this post is already long enough, so that will be another story for another time.

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