Live Fast, Die Young, and Leave a Moderately Attractive Corpse

So we had an earthquake! A legit-ass, LA gangster-style earthquake! And I was VERY much in the shower shaving my legs when it happened. Because really, knowing me, where else would I be when a 5.8 freak earthquake in DC hits? I actually kind of resent how perfectly wakka, wakka! it all was. The only way it could have been better is if I had been about to make my final move in a Jenga competition or if I was an Ace of Spades away from finishing a really impressive house of cards. But no, I was in the shower shaving my legs. And it was a time.

So I was standing in the shower, congratulating myself on successfully finishing my left leg, when everything started to shake. My first instinct was to turn down the music coming from the mp3 player on top of the John, because obviously that would shed some light onto the situation. I’m pretty sure this felt like a natural thing to do for the same reason why I can’t listen to the radio and parallel park at the same time. (Because I’m a ~GiRL~!) 

Once I had established that it wasn’t The Doobie Brothers causing my entire apartment building to shake (although, to be fair, Bose makes a hell of a speaker and Michael McDonald has got some pipes on him...) my next thought, naturally, was TERRORISM: WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. It was at this point that I became acutely aware of how extremely naked I was and all I could think was, “Not like this.” I didn’t think about my friends, I didn’t think about my family, I didn’t think about my trademark fiery passion for life—I thought “we’re being bombed, my apartment is going to collapse, and some poor, poor fireman is going to have to fish out my half-shaved naked corpse from under my bathtub and I’m going to end up on the cover of Time like that kid in Vietnam.” As a resident of downtown Washington, DC, I’ve played out what would happen if there's another 9/11-like terrorist attack in my head plenty of times. Typically I grab my Handycam, head to the streets and alternate between delivering cutting-edge guerrilla journalism and nursing the wounded back to health via tiny, gentle sips from a Deer Park sports bottle. Rarely am I in the shower surrounded by my overwhelming nakedness, gauging how far up my leg I can stop shaving before ultimately deciding, “fuck it—I’ll wear pants.” While in completely character, it's just not the way I want to go.

As my bathtub rattled back and forth, all I could think about was this episode of Boy Meets World I saw once where Eric and his roommate move into this shitty apartment and Eric is all, “Dude, this place is going to be a chick magnet!” and his roommate’s like, “Just because we have our own place doesn’t mean girls are going to fall out of the sky!” and at that exact second, the girl from the apartment above theirs crashes through the ceiling and lands on their couch. I was 5,000% positive that my bathtub was going to crash into the apartment below mine, except instead it being like BMW where a hot girl gracefully falls onto Will Friedle’s couch, it would be me covered in generic-brand shaving cream crashing through the ceiling and squashing a gay man or three. I had to get out of the bathroom and find clothes.

I then proceeded to sprint out of the bathroom, through my closet, thereby bypassing literally every piece of clothing I own, and stopped at my bed. When I realized I couldn’t strap a Queen size bed over my genitals, I turned to run back to the closet, tripped over myself, and slammed my left (freshly shaved) shin onto the edge of my coffee table.


As I crumpled to the floor, curled up in the fetal position, and accepted that the obstacle course that is my apartment (open studio apartment with AN single coffee table) had doomed my fate, it occurred to me that the shaking had stopped. I walked over to the window, pulled up the blinds and looked around. There was a construction crew working on the building next to mine, so I thought maybe they dropped something…heavy? But no, because the office building across the street had been evacuated. It was then that I finally thought, “Did we just have a fucking earthquake?” It was also then that I thought, “Am I standing in my apartment window at the top of the K Street Triangle gawking at people completely nude?” The answer to both of these questions, as it turns out, was yes. We had had an earthquake. And I was hanging out in the window, tits to the wind all, “Y’ALL FEEL THAT?!?!!” I’m going to skip to the end of this story and let you know that it took me a good 45-minutes to properly clothe myself. Getting on Twitter, trying to call people, and continuing to stand naked in my window like the star of the homeliest little whorehouse in Amsterdam all took precedent over walking 15-feet back to the bathroom to throw a robe on. 

The moral of the story is that I’m fine. A few picture frames fell over. The books in my bookcase aren’t perfectly lined up to the edge of the shelf anymore, which while genuinely annoying is nothing compared to my friend Dave’s fallen Snoop Dogg action figure:
While I’m glad that everyone is OK and it obviously could have been much worse and we’re all lucky and blah blah blah, this experience did ignite a fiery rage deep, deep inside of me. While continually updating my Twitter feed and waiting for AT&T’s network to get off the rag, I became obsessed with the smug-ass West Coast dipshits tweeting shit like, “Sorry DC, I’m from Fresno. This is nothing. #JustSaying”. The best one I saw was from this West Coast transplant who said something to the affect of, “Ugh, seriously MD/DC/VA? Stop calling people. I have actual work to do.” Oh, I’M sorry, asshole. I know in a perfect world we’d all be like, “SNOZZBERRIES?! WHO EVER HEARD OF A SNOZZBERRY?” and go back to licking the wallpaper, but in the world I live in where earthquakes are rare and loved ones are awesome, it feels reasonable to want to get on the horn and make sure everyone is OK. I was a microsecond away from retweeting her and adding “get in your fucking cage” before I remembered that we have a book to sell and 10% of $10.95 is $1.09 and half of $1.09 is 54-cents and the average Subway footlong is five-dollars and change, so perhaps I should stay in my own lane.

One of my biggest pet peeves in college was a group of people I liked to call “Weather Snobs”. Weather Snobs were those assholes on your floor who wouldn’t let you appreciate how shitty the weather was because they were from somewhere colder/hotter/rainier/literally anything-ier than everybody, and you complaining about the weather was a farce compared to their K-12 experience. You’d sit in the dining hall and complain about the 20-degree weather and they’d crawl over from three booths down, peeing their pants at the opportunity to be like, “You think this is cold?! I’m from ROCHESTER. In ROCHESTER we wear bikinis and flip-flops and roast pigs and thank the Egyptian sun god Ra for his sweltering rays in 20-degree weather, you fucking retard! You’ve never experienced cold weather until you’ve lived in ROCHESTER. GARBAGE PLATES! HOUSE OF GUITARS!” I didn’t think it was possible to find a more horrid group of people than Weather Snobs, but now I have—Natural Disaster Snobs. I’m not saying that yesterday’s experience could rival Haiti or Japan. I don’t expect the Red Cross to come knocking on my door today and offer to replace that wine glass that fell over or give me a Capris Sun because I look slightly parched. I am saying, however, that when you live in Washington, DC (or New York for that matter) and your building starts to uncontrollably shake for no reason, your first thought typically isn’t “ThiS iS gOiNg To MaKe FoR sOmE gNaRLy WaVeS, dude!”, it’s “Welp, they blew up the World Bank and we’re all going to die.” Sorry there’s nothing irreverent or ironic about that reaction. I'll tell you what: next time there’s a natural disaster and I want to call my loved ones to make sure everyone’s OK, I promise to do so while wearing an ironic moustache, holding a pug, riding a unicycle, standing under a string of pennants, and playing the autoharp. And instead of asking my mom if she’s OK, I’ll ask her, “What’s crackin-a-lackin’?” Can I take up your precious AT&T space that way, you fucking asshole?

…That being said, I did have people over last night for martinis and confetti cake, or Earthcake, as Helena dubbed it.
But, you know…you’re all still fucking assholes.


1 Bird Investigates: DENVER

Remember Meg’s doctoral dissertation, My Weekend in Omaha, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is commonly assigned in college literature classes? Well, here’s my term paper in Freshman Composition, titled “I Went to Denver Recently to Visit My Friend Bobo.” It was four hours late, in 13 point font, and with suspiciously wide margins:
-     Bobo lives near an Ethiopian restaurant that sells food for $1.75 “per scoop.” Down the road, a Chinese restaurant has adopted the same business plan. IT IS GENIUS. I didn’t try this but I hope you can get food “to go” by just holding out your hand.

-    Speaking of, apparently Denver is full of Ethiopians, including the manager of the liquor store across the street from Bobo’s apartment. He has a little trio of flags, USA/Ethiopia/Colorado, on top of his TV, which is always playing spy movies. He sells Bobo exactly how much liquor he thinks Bobo needs, occasionally putting a bottle back with a gentle “No. You have enough already.”

-     A friend of Bobo asked me if I wanted any “edibles.” In my innocence I thought this meant snacks, and so I kept saying, “Oh, you know, just something basic like taquitos or whatever.” Apparently “edibles” actually means “food with pot in it which you can buy legally because of Colorado’s amusingly lax medical marijuana laws.” It took two full days to iron this confusion out, because Bobo’s friend was stoned and I am an idiot.

-     Hypothetically, what do you think happens if you give me some medical-grade marijuana? Hypothetically, what happens is that I eat an enormous quesadilla, talk for half an hour about what Green Day songs would be funny to commit suicide to, and then go to sleep for ten hours. (My conclusion was “pretty much any track from Nimrod depending on the circumstances.”)

-     I know, I know, I’m a child, but I never get tired of seeing animals mate, ever. Denver’s central park was absolutely full of Canada geese just going to town on one another and I got a good giggle out of that.

-     A drunk old Greek man who was bartending at the PS Lounge on Colfax took fifteen minutes to decide that my (real) driver’s license was fake:

DOGM: This doesn’t look like you.

Me: It was taken eight years and forty pounds ago.

DOGM: ….

DOGM: ….

DOGM: …It doesn’t look like you.

Me: It’s an old picture. Look, here’s a college ID and several debit cards.

DOGM: ….

DOGM: ….

DOGM: …. This picture has nothing to do with you.


You can imagine where it went from there.

-     I’m sorry I didn’t do a reader meetup while I was there. I’ll be honest: I’d j-j-j-just finished school and hadn’t seen Bobo in ForLikeEver, and I didn’t feel up to the delicate task of getting just drunk enough that I wasn’t cripplingly shy but not so drunk that I was intolerable. You deserve better. For example, I went through a phase earlier this year where every time I got drunk, I started telling the story of How Mayonnaise Got Invented. (See, during the Seven Years War, the Marechal de Mahon was leading the French forces at the Battle of Belle Isle, and his cook ran out of a lot of things so he had to make a sauce out of only oil and eggs, and so Mahonnaise sauce, which over the years…) Everyone talks about how graduate school opens doors; no one tells you it makes you aggressively, intolerably boring.

-     While in Denver, I met my parents’ best friends from their youth, which was pleasant, but awkward:

“How are your parents?”
“Oh. Well, is your mother okay?”
“Well, she just had a heart attack, but it was a little one.”
“Oh. Are you working?
“I just wrote a book making light of war crimes.”

So, Denver! It’s beautiful and reasonably priced. I recommend the balls off of it.
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