Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Sabbatical

“Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap

So, yes, someone has had a lengthy absence away from writing. I suppose you could say that I have been otherwise prioritizing my time. I do almost regret not documenting some of my DC “firsts.” I emphasize the almost because I am trying to make it a practice to never regret any one of my experiences or actions. The latter is much more difficult to accomplish, and requires constant practice and reminding.

To sum up the rest of my first year in this beautiful capitol city, I experienced what I was constantly told was a mild winter; it deceitfully eased into a blisteringly hot summer, with skin that glistened the moment you stepped outside. Each day I’d hear the warning: “It’s going to get hotter, mark my words.” Nary a person was able to convince me that I was finally back on the East Coast and no longer in the temperate desert by the sea that is also known as Los Angeles. But the short perfect spring breathed its final windy sigh, and the notoriously selfish summer shouldered in, heaving its thick humidity the likes of a sauna with a trail of flying insects that ruled from noon to night. The level-eyed looks of “I told you so” deservedly followed the flying insects, and al fresco dining turned into a rite of passage if you dared, but most people did not.

Mr. Weather aside, I continued to enjoy peeling back the layers of this city full of workaholics, group houses, closet hookah addicts, and bourbon lovers. I moved into a classic gray rowhouse with a brick wall, high ceilings, and wood floors. I also experienced my first steeplechase, the Gold Cup (wealthy northern Virginia’s pouty answer to the Kentucky Derby, replete with its own version of the mint julep, wide-brimmed hats, pretty girls in sundresses, and drunken fraternity boys in madras print pants). I discovered coat checks, late happy hours, and made-to-order cocktails by intelligent and snarky bartenders.

And just as the summer was finished going through my closet of inappropriate clothes, ruining each of my favorite blouses with over-applied deodorant, it up and disappeared leaving a picturesque autumn foliage in its wake. The change was that sudden, too. It seemed to happen in one weekend…unlike the beautiful autumn season which kept hedging its bet and would record daily temperatures differing sometimes by as much as 20 degrees. But it did follow the summer, and now, exactly one year later, I am experiencing one of the coldest winters DC has had in decades.

With freezing temps and a brutal windchill, I was sure that people would hole themselves up either at home or in the office. But, to my welcomed surprise, everyone is still out and about, overflowing local pubs, shopping with purpose, and generally continuing to pump this city with a pedestrian lifeblood that is only possible in a town such as this.

I’m now settled comfortably at a back table in a busy coffee shop complemented by a full bar, happily lapping up a warm glass of mulled wine. This coffee shop is quid pro quo for the city, too, with interesting home-grown urban artwork hanging on the walls and servers dressed with a touch of hipster (skinny jeans with bright seams, hair tied up in scarves, and sporting Converse All-Stars). The music bounces back and forth from obscure indie rock to obscure indie hip hop. Large comfy armchairs are squeezed around small tables full of patrons, some with laptops, many just enjoying good coffee, laughing over a table of bread, mint leaves, and Greek yogurt.

A Jamaican eatery opened up a couple of blocks from my place, and I think I’m going to try it for dinner tonight. Downstairs burgers made from odd meats like goat and bison are served, and upstairs deejays spin Jamaican music. This effort was born from the same owners of several of my favorite establishments in the city; I have high expectations (and hopes) for it.

So, I believe this hastily patches up my lack of blogs for my first year here. My recipe will hopefully be following the blog soon. It’s a really delicious spaghetti recipe; it is really that good!

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