Send up the heat!

I haven’t stalked a girl lately! Or so I told myself on the ride to work today. We’ve got a dose of early spring – 70 down here in the city and everything feeling fresh and exciting. Except for the bus, the train, and my office building, where the heat’s still on. But, at least, the women – specifically the weird-looking blonde at my bus stop – are wearing spring clothes. Nice.

But sexual thoughts are quickly wiped from my mind as heat billows out of the vent above my desk. I shouldn’t be surprised. There are a few days around this time every year where my office is suitable for raising rare orchids. And that’s fine by me, because it means I’m going to slip away at lunch, sit up by the Capitol, and watch all the crazy Hill people. The countrified, corn-fed interns who can’t walk in heels stumbling around trying to look pretty, the empty-eyed male interns who try to engage you in conversation, and the vaguely malevolent homeless. Then there are the chattering lobbyists, and the occasional Representative out among the common-folk. But they steer clear of anyone not in a suit and tie.

I’m usually put off by the Hill people. Mainly because they’re all Republicans. Without fail, you’ll take outdoor seats at some bar on Capitol Hill and the clean-cut, suit-wearing intern fucks at the next table try to talk to you in their country twang. Howdy! You local?

What the fuck, dude?

The only ones who talk to you are the Republicans. The Democrat interns all seem to keep to themselves. That’s the only time when you can really stomach going out drinking on the Hill – when the Democrats have control. Since Democrats have no god, all they do is drink. It simplifies my life when I creep out at lunchtime or decide to spend a summer evening watching the commuters flail against traffic. There’s nothing like spring in Washington, a pub with outdoor seating, and a view of countless thousands who are less fortunate than you. But that can all be ruined by a tap on the shoulder and some Jesus freak intern asking you for the time and whether or not you know of a different, better bar.

Not that I’m out drinking too much anymore. Beer prices are up, and nobody anywhere knows how to make a mixed drink. Or maybe they aren’t allowed to put in enough booze to make me happy. Nine times out of ten, it’s six bucks for a pint of beer or a glass of tonic water that may have been stored close to the vodka. (Though this is where I tell everyone to go see Erich at America in Union Station. Best bartender in DC. He’s on the day shift, and he doesn’t skimp on booze.)

One good thing about warm days is that I can prematurely stop my dreadful morning commute at the New York Avenue Metro station and walk the rest of the way to work, taking in the sweet air of Northeast DC where nothing bad ever happens. This morning, I made the walk without being tackled by a panhandler or a meth-head (though a lady did lie down in front of me and scream about white devils), and even had time to pause on the corner of First and Florida to snap a picture of Protest Flag. At least, that’s what I’m calling it:

Yeah, my cellphone sucks. Yet another example of why I should always travel with my camera. After 9/11, I spent a year walking around with a camera because I wanted to run up to the roof and take a real Tourist Guy photo as a terror plane veered towards my building.

But that was just wishful thinking.

I’m going to stop writing now because my office is a very humid 94 degrees and I’m starting to get that wall-eyed sort of “I can’t believe I’m still in Saigon” feeling. My office mate just announced that she was going down to the gym to take a cold shower.

One hour to go until lunchtime, when I plan to race over to Café Berlin and drink two liters of overpriced beer on the patio while taxi cabs ride up onto the sidewalk and my waiter refuses to look in my direction.