Car-Free Living

For a good long time, I've been into design blogs. Now that I've run out of rooms in my apartment to "design" - i.e. slap up brightly colored tacky things - I am adding cooking blogs to the mix. I love the photos and the possibility of eating more elaborate dinners than a bag of popcorn, which is occasionally my go-to.

The only problem? I hate grocery shopping. Hate it. My main issue is that I live about a mile from the grocery store and I don't have a car. I was talking to a neighbor who goes to my church and she said, "I can't believe you live in this neighborhood without a car!""Oh, it's fine," I said. "Not a problem."Cut to literally 24 hours later, and after the non-arrival of the D2 bus, I'm trudging up a hill, wearing a gym bag, three grocery bags draped on each arm, a grocery bag hanging from my neck, carrying a pair of rain boots that I no longer need because it's not rainy. I might have also been weeping. Just a tad. All of the bags were arranged on my person in a Tetris-like puzzle, so that moving one bag would disturb the equilibrium of the whole thing.

Then I hear someone call "Hey, need a ride?" I look over and it's my neighbor Holley from yesterday. Yes, living in Glover Park without a car is no problem at all.She was nice enough to take pity on me and give me a lift home. I could barely climb into the car, with my Sherpa-esque arrangement of grocery bags. Thanks so much, Holley! Much appreciated!

Photo Opp

I was sitting on a bench, waiting for my friend outside the Dupont metro, and I just opened up my book when a guy asked if I would mind taking a picture for him. I didn't mind, but I thought it was kind of odd that he wasn't standing next to anything scenic for the photo opp. It was just a street.

That might not be weird. I know that on the very few occasions my mom remembers to bring her camera on family outings, she take pictures seemingly at random. "Everyone squeeze in, get closer to that parking garage," things like that.

But sure enough, I couldn't get rid of the guy. I tried to subtly put on my headphones, but then he pulled out the ol' "Americans are the friendliest people in the world" trope and I felt guilty blatantly ignoring him. Oldest trick in the book!

Are You Married? Why Not?

Living in a Metro-inaccessible place, I tend to take a lot of cabs home and I often chat with cab drivers to make the time pass quicker. I would say, for whatever reason, about 15% of the time they tell me I should get married.

Not to them, necessarily. Just in general. This is such a buzzkill on the way home from a night out.

Last week, a cabdriver said, "It's good to get married young. Well, you have plenty of time. How old are you -21? 22?"

Me: "26."

Cabdriver: "Ohhh..." [said with an inflection that suggests, wait never mind, cancel that previous statement, time's running out.]

Actually, the reason I talk to cab drivers is because they always think I'm 21 or 22 and it's fun to hear, haha.

Is Priceline Better?

I spent at least 6 hours of this past week on the phone with a certain travel agency - I don't want to name names, but oh what the heck it was Travelocity. My flight got canceled and rescheduled to a time that didn't work for me, and I practically had to move heaven and earth to change it. I was on hold for more than an hour at one point - and the "you are on hold" song consisted of about 4 notes. It is burned permanently into my brain.

Being on hold wasn't terrible though, I just put the phone on speaker. I walked down the street, went to a friend's house, went out to eat, all with that darn song playing from my cell phone. It was like my theme music. Or like carrying around a boom box on your shoulder, my friend Lauren joked. Just on a smaller scale.

But yesterday, a breakthrough - the stars aligned and a manager fixed everything for me (supposedly). Is all forgiven? Nah. I'm going to post my rant of a customer satisfaction survey I wrote on Wednesday because I think it is the best bit of writing I've done recently:

No one at the call center even pretended to care about my problem - or perhaps they did pretend, but their acting was terrible. I have had to call 5 times and still no one at Travelocity has contacted my airline to change my flight.

[Boring details and whining here... Let's go to the big ending!]

Hiring people in India might be cheaper for you, but not if you upset customers.