Friday, September 30, 2005

Escape From The Asphalt Jungle

Today was so beautiful, that I decided to go hiking on the Capital Crescent Trail this afternoon. The trail starts along the Potomac River in Georgetown and wends its way around Northwest DC to Silver Spring, MD.

So Shorty and I got in the car and drove to Georgetown. Parking was at a decided premium, and I started to get that familiar tight feeling in my chest as I negotiated the streets and scanned the curb for a spot -- while waiting patiently for the determinedly slow-footed pedestrians to cross the street at each stop sign. No doubt they were competing to see who cross the slowest.

Finally, after a near-accident caused by hyper-aggresive driver (the type with crooked baseball caps driving "souped-up," early model VW and a large Chinese character sticker on his window), a parking space emerged just yards from the trailhead. I parked, grabbed my bag, my camera, the dog and hopped out of the car.

As I fished around in my pockets for some quarters before realizing that the parking meter was broken. A number on the base of the meter gave a D.C. Public Works phone number to call and report the problem -- and presumably avoid getting a ticket from D.C.'s notoriously venomous and retarded parking enforcement officers. Here's an almost verbatim transcript of my call:

RING...RING

"Hello, you have reached the District of Columbia Department of Public Works Parking Meter Division. To report a broken parking meter, press 1 now."

[SOUND OF THE NUMBER 1 BEING PRESSED]

RING...RING...RING

"Hello, you have reached the District of Columbia Broken Parking Meter Repair Hotline. No one is available to take your call.


[IRRITATED GRIMACE]


If you are calling to report a broken meter...

[WHY ON EARTH ELSE WOULD I BE CALLING?]

please remember that you can still be ticketed if the meter is expired...

[INCREDULOUS GUFFAW, CELL PHONE VIOLENTLY SNAPPED SHUT]

And so I walked towards M Street, to one of Georgetown's many sandwich shops to get something to eat and a bottle of water for the hike, and decided on the first place I saw that did not have a huge line. I tied Shorty's leash securely to a piece of pipe coming out of the sidewalk right next to the door and ran in to order.

And literally the second my foot crossed the threshold, Shorty started barking that load, insistent bark which is the hallmark of the poorly behaved dog. Everyone in the deli looked to the doorway to see what the commotion was about, then looked at me to see what kind of inconsiderate bastard leaves his dog tied up outside to bark and cry while other people try and eat lunch and have fifteen minutes of peace and quiet to themselves.

I resolved to order as fast as possible before Shorty had an anuerism and to minimize the disturbance to others.

This is an almost verbatim transcript of my conversation with the monosyllabic, glassy-eyed employee who was wearing super-baggy "shorts" that almost swept the floor:



SHORTY: BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK!

ME: [with my money already out of my wallet, held out to the employee, invoking the international signal of "I'm In A Hurry"] Could I get A...turkey sandwich on an everything bagel with mustard, no mayo, swiss cheese and two bottles of water to go, please?"

EMPLOYEE: Ummmm....... you want lettuce and tomato?





ME: [tense]What? Oh, yeah, sorry, sorry, yes please. That's all, thanks. How much is that?

EMPLOYEE: You want the bagel toasted?

ME: [tenser]Sure. Yes.

SHORTY: BARK! WOOF? BARK!

EMPLOYEE: You want cheese?

ME: [with confused look, since I thought I already asked for this; tenser still] Um, yes please. Swiss.



SHORTY: BARK BARK BARKBARKBARK! CRYYYYYY...BARK!

EMPLOYEE: Swiss cheese?

ME: [No, asshole, Swiss chard, WTF did I just say? tense-to-very tense] Yes. Swiss cheese.

EMPLOYEE: Turkey, right?

ME: [extremely tense]Yes! Turkey.

SHORTY: BARKBARKBARK! GROWL...BARKBARKBARK!



EMPLOYEE: Um...what kind of bagel?

ME: [staring at him for a moment, convinced that he is purposely being a dumbass; about to explode]Everything. [pause] an everything bagel.

EMPLOYEE: [after pausing to consider my order, and slowly ringing it up] That'll be....um......$9.25.

[I hand over a 20 dollar bill, Shorty still wailing like a banshee]

EMPLOYEE: um.....do you have anything smaller? 'cause, um.......

ME: [NO I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING SMALLER! JUST TAKE MY GODDAMN MONEY AND MAKE MY GODAMN SANDWICH SO I CAN GET OUT OF HERE!] Hmm? Oh. No. Sorry.

[I paid and proceeded to wait fifteen minutes for my sandwich. I was the only person at the counter the whole time. Shorty continued to bark even after I untied his leash and started walking him down the sidewalk.]

Food and drink in hand, I made for the beginning of the Capital Crescent Trail, crossing a footbridge over the C&O Canal...



The trail began just beyond this apparently unused bridge...



...and had some beautiful scenery:





...an old fireplace from the remains of a house:



this is the C&O Canal about two miles upstream from the photo I took on the footbridge in Georgetown:

2 Comments:

At 10/15/2005 8:04 PM, Blogger Justin said...

I hate you, Shorty.

 
At 10/26/2005 8:43 PM, Anonymous Shorty said...

You DO NOT TALK TO ME LIKE THAT! I WILL BITE YOUR ANKLES OFF!

 

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