Sunday, April 1, 2012

My own private Oz

I get nostalgic about very few things.   I'm not one of those people who is prone to romanticize things that happened in the past, so walking around my old elementary school for example, does not invoke a longing for an innocence long gone by but instead the memory of spoiled milk and being teased for needing a training bra in third grade.   While my peers cried at graduation and wished, "college would never end" I snuck sips from a flask full of vodka cranberry and made fun of the masturbatory aspects of the ceremony with a classmate from the INS program.  I have thrown away all the old love letters, but kept the old gifts from past relationships.  I am not often accused of being sentimental.

One of the few things that does make me sentimental, however, is Washington D.C. My time spent there a few years ago was one of the few times in my life I felt like everything was coming up Annie. That city is my fucking Oz, and I was pretty damn happy not to be in Ohio anymore.   I made professional contacts, great friends, and on more than one occasion, stupid mistakes that I should be too embarrassed to talk about but I'm not because, firstly I have no shame and secondly, they make hilarious stories.  I typically think of myself as someone who plays it safe, so it was fun for once in my life to get giggly and sloppy at Happy Hour on a Tuesday or to have to ride the metro in last night's clothes while the hip moms were on their way to their morning yoga.   When I went back to the Midwest, I said goodbye the the yellow brick rode and settled back into the day to day drudgery of adulthood, but it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to know I used to be fun an wild and that few who know me now would ever suspect. 

So driving into D.C. Friday after my interview in Baltimore was quite literally like coming home.  As soon as I got to Chevy Chase I started to get tingly with excitement, and seeing the Capitol building in the distance is every bit as thrilling for me as it is for an adolescent boy to see a woman naked (I can only assume).  Adding to that excitement, I had roughly 24 hours jam packed with seeing some of my favorite people.  Friday night I met up with an old friend, to whom all my other friends from D.C. refer to as "my kryptonite".  This is a man I find both irresistible and vaguely terrifying. I get strangely coquettish and tongue-tied and I do this really charming thing were every time when he asks me a simple a question I forget any word I've ever heard in my entire life, and stutter for a while, which probably means his friends refer to me as "that retarded girl". Then Saturday morning, I met up with my old roommate Emily, to tell her all about seeing my kryptonite the evening before, which is exactly what happened almost every weekend two years ago.  She's naive, wholesome, and beautiful to my obnoxious, cynical, and inappropriate and every time I see her I think, "this is what I want to be when I grow up."   She does really adorable things like ask policemen for directions, whereas I got chased down by an angry Samoan parking attendant for neglecting to pay him (I thought it was free on weekends!)

My lovely sister and brother-in-law were also in D.C. visiting a friend of theirs from the Peace Corps, and we met up finally on Saturday afternoon.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my sister with her friends.   They're all hilarious and I never would have guessed there were others like my sister in existence, but when I was invited upstairs to find Jeanie's friend Kyle in a towel, and I started to apologize for the intrusion, he just waved and Jeanie told me, "We're all very accepting of nudity here, Annie."   So there are more like her.   And what can I saw about James? I used to really not want to like him (because basically I was the adult equivalent of the child who screams to their new stepdad, 'I hate you, everything was fine before you married my mom!') I now adore him with cult-like devotion because he does things like carry me around piggy back so I won't step in dog poop.   

I am excited to (hopefully) be leaving Dayton soon, but I'm more excited at the prospect of being a mere hour from D.C., able to pop in anytime and see my friends, relive my glory days, and just generally be single and in my twenties.  I think my weekend in Oz may have made this ulcer die down a little.

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