Little Trouble in BigTown #2
Today is my first day at work. With my typical Type A mindset, I realize that the best way to make an impression on my new boss is to arrive at precisely 9 am, crisp, beaming, and ready to go.
With typical Authorian precision, I arrive at the plaza at 8:05, groan, and decide, after locating the office, to wander around the area a little. Dupont (is there another area called Dow? What about Maersk?) reminds me a little of downtown Barcelona- divergent architecture styles, traffic circles with lonely pedestrian islands dotting the ring, a mixture of buildings that look old but aren't supposed to, and buildings that don't look old but are supposed to, and buildings that are actually old. There are embassies, quirky bookshops, various grades of ethnic restaurant (including one named, and I am not making ths up, "Thaiphoon"), cafes, and a surprising number of stores that cater to BGLT interests, including one that is built into the basement of an old brownstone and has cast-iron grating over all the windows and the steps that lead down to it from the sidewalk.
I find myself entering the EuroCafe, which, as the sign proclaims, has coffee, net access, and magazines and newspapers from around the world. After an entirely-too-delightful cherry danish and cold milk, I wander around the racks of magazines and marvel at the sheer number and depth and obscurity of them- who knew there were this many magazines about long-distance running? Or tattoo artwork? Or Photoshop? There is a whole shelf dedicated to Vogue, with covers from Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Greece...
Then it's time to go to work. The nonprofit I work for shares an office with an organization that can only be described as epic, because, frankly speaking, that's the name of the organization. This leads to a number of truly terrible puns that make The Girlfriend wince when I tell her about it later: "I met some Epic people today..." "The place I work at is Epic..." "I feel like a cog in an Epic machine, sort of Geared up for War, if you get my drift" and so on and so forth. It was Unreal. (sorry!)
My particular space in the office was quiet, plush, and even had its own comfy, thronelike office chair. It took me about twenty minutes (38, actually) to finish setting up my computer, hooking it up to its various umbilicals, booting up, starting my complete set of applications, mentally claiming the office as my own Banana Republic, checking Facebook, etc., and when I was finished, they promptly kicked me out of the office, which I believe is a record for quickest disavowal of Office Sovereignty in the history (and I've been kicked out of more offices than you might imagine). I was reassigned to a tiny little table in the "boondocks" of a back room. As upset as I was about being deposed, my pain was quickly assuaged by the Cadbury's milk chocolates casually dropped off by the CIA in the break room.
After work, I head back on the Metro, but this time it's rush hour and the trains are crowded with people pushing on and off. Surprisingly, the people waiting to get on the trains split off into two lines to the side of each door to let other passengers get off, and look like bridesmaids/groomsmen while doing it: tired, well-dressed, and angry at someone else for getting the attention/right of way. Once on the train, I am pressed up close enough to other people to notice that one person is reading a book called "The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England", one is playing Breakout on his cellphone but hasn't quite grasped the point that you're supposed to bounce the ball off the *bricks*, and one is playing Solitaire on his iPhone and listening to music on an iPod he also carries, sort of how most police officers carry a pistol plus a little derringer-type backup stuck in their socks. It's been a good day.
A note about eating:
I've decided while I'm here I'm going to support worthwhile businesses by trying to only eat at local or locally-based restaurants, and Chipotle, for as long as possible. Given my budget, this involves eating at a lot of greasy pizza joints. So far, my streak is limited to four meals, but I'm growing:
Yesterday: that Thai place, Angelino's Pizza
Today: cherry danish and milk from EuroCafe, leftover calzone from yesterday's dinner for lunch, and Italian chicken panini from some place called Pizza Autentica
Current streak: four meals in a row.
On tap for tomorrow: the AOPi story