I’ve completely failed at my Two Novels and a Baby project. It had me depressed for a few weeks… But then that feeling passed largely thanks to the main reason I haven’t been able to focus on writing a novel – I work six motherfucking jobs. I have just enough energy to pause outside the gun store and mutter dreamily, “If only…if only…”
It was recently suggested by someone we’ll call the Zombie Queen that I give up the pressure of traditional writing and just do a series of short vignettes on topics such as how fucked up my family is, how my neighbor is the wolfman, and how I like to bake in the nude and stare across the quad at my other neighbor who, always, is staring right back at me.
Is quad the right word? We have an l-shaped apartment building, so the two wings are staring at each other. Courtyard, I guess. Quad makes me think of that little square at high school where the guys who eventually bought my name for millions of dollars and made their fortune beat me up every day.
And…back to the gun shop. If only…
The Queen outlined all this as I drove her to Dulles Airport. Currently, the Metro is expanding out to the airport and all the demons in construction hell have made the trip to and from Dulles a horrific, waking nightmare.
I didn’t realize how bad it had become because, as a rule, Dulles is always bad and I avoid it at all costs. The worst part is getting home. Getting back to Maryland from Dulles is a test of skill and cunning. And, now, with all the construction, it feels like I’m being chased by monsters through an abandoned amusement park log ride. Shooting through jersey walls that give you inches of space on each side, in the mirror a black, monolithic SUV, ahead of me a rental car holding the panicked, stroked-out remnants of tourists, beside me a Super Shuttle van that somehow leapt over the jersey wall and is now going 80 on dirt and gravel with a screaming, teeming mass of Japanese visitors in the back calling for help.
I hate Dulles. Yet, without fail, my friends always fly into Dulles. They’ll call and say, hey, Nacho, we’re coming to visit. Why does your idiotic small town have three airports? And I say that we’re not just any old small town, we’re the capital of the goddamned empire and they’ll just have to shut up and take it.
Then I tell them to fly to National. At which point they’ll be able to take the Metro to my place and I won’t have to drive all the way out to load up their fucking bags of gold bricks into my car. Assholes.
But the taxes at National are through the roof and my cheap friends dismiss the idea, usually coupled with “I can’t figure out the Metro.”
You can’t? Really? Because it was designed by an eight year old boy with a Lego set. You can close your eyes and get on any train and you’ll eventually get to me.
Well, unless you get off at Anacostia. An old girlfriend did that once. Flew into National and, next I know, she’s calling me from the platform at Anacostia and the last train had just left.
I sat in the dark and listened as she left that desperate message on my answering machine. She sounded pretty scared. That was ten years ago. I wonder if she’s okay.
Anyway, next I tell them to go to BWI. It’s a longer ride, but they’re in Maryland so there’s no reason for them to go through elaborate shenanigans to try and conceal the way out.
The only problem with BWI is when you’re picking up a former Washingtonian. You know who you are, assholes. You left town in the 90’s or whatever and you take the goddamned red eye and we’re out and on 95 at 2am because you had to have a fucking cavity search in customs.
I like to take a sneaky little back way into Columbia and down US 29, bypassing the wicked potential of I-95. But everytime I go to flee the interstate, any former Washingtonian goes: Woah! Woah! NO! Stay on 95!
Everytime, without fail, no matter the hour, I run into bumper to bumper traffic coming back from BWI. It’s like I tripped an alarm when I left the airport. So I sit there at 2am with an exhausted traveler who says, “Gosh, DC’s changed.”
No it fucking hasn’t. You knew this would happen. You’re in on it!
But, still, I prefer that to Dulles any day. Knowing this, Dulles-bound friends appear to make an effort to select the worst possible tickets. I’ll get the call – Hey, Nach! Coming out to visit. Got cheap, cheap tickets… We’ll be landing at Dulles at 4:45pm on Friday.
No! No! Stop. Just…let’s be quiet for a moment. Just…just catch our breath…relax…relax…
How’d I get on that? This post is really about giving up the Two Novels and a Baby thing and announcing that I’m going to try something else. But then I started thinking about Dulles and now I’m typing all this into my phone while I wait for the gun store to open.
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