That’s a Thinker.

2010 December 8
by admin

A lifetime ago, I lived in Washington, DC. Despite being the Nation’s capitol, and the object of millions of 8th grade field trip memories, much of the city is rugged, poor, and interesting in a way that the clean, white dome of the Capitol completely conceals. I lived in a Guatemalan neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of the city, and during my brief and confusing employment with the United States Senate, I would wile away evenings at a small bar called “The Raven.” Dive-bar is not an appropriate description, because it implies some self-consciousness of being run-down, or deliberately cultivating a rough image. Studio-appartment-sized-bar, or filthy-smoke-hole-cubicle is more appropriate. The wall paper hung down in strips. Plaster flaked off the ceiling. The ghosts of 10,000 cigarettes moaned, wailed and reeked, puffing out of the vinyl seats when you sat. I sat at the bar there, fiddling with my cell-phone, trying to avoid my own reflection in the bar-back mirror. Sitting alone at a bar, waiting for a friend is momentarily awkward. I wasn’t waiting for anyone, knew no one, was desperately lonely, and wanted a friend. Terminally and permanently awkward. Why was I there? I drank Yeungling beer too fast, and nervously peeled the label. An African man sat two stools away. I’m guessing he was Ethiopian. He had flat, chipped teeth, a long, pointed nose, and a jerky manner. He looked at me just then, looked through me. He moved his skinny frame over to the stool next to mine, becoming too close instantaneously, and huffed his breath across my face. “You,” he breathed, “you tink too much, you never be happy!” I thought about that, contradicting myself.

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