Tag Archives: Karma

Why you probably shouldn’t drive in the District.

10 Feb

This morning, walking home from breakfast at the Diner, Alan and I heard an odd noise. The streets were fairly deserted, yet – as an SUV approached us from a quiet side street – it made a distinctive thud-crack sound, as if it had run over a metal plate in the road.

We looked over just in time to see the driver raise her hand to her mouth in an expression that made it clear something bad had, in fact, just happened. It was odd though – she was the only person on the street, and she was going a sluggish 10 mph. So we couldn’t imagine what damage had just occurred…

Until she pulled over and we saw the car parallel-parked at the front of the line near the stop sign. Its bumper was lying on the ground in front of it.

It was like this, but not a Jag...

It was like this, but not a Jag…

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed. “Did she really just rip the bumper off that car?”

Alan’s mouth hung agape. “I don’t even understand what happened,” he commented. “She is the ONLY car on that street, so she didn’t need to be hugging the side of the road. And she wasn’t even going fast.”

We stood like spectators at a circus, waiting to see what she would do next. A troop of three municipal workers stood next to us, surrounding a garbage can, arms folded in anticipation.

Oblivious to our presence, the woman exited her SUV and ran around to inspect the damage. She bent down and lifted the car’s bumper and attempted to fit it back on the car.

“Now that is some f*cked up sh*t,” one of the men near us commented. Indeed.

Once we knew the situation was under control with ample witnesses, we took off. “Wow,” I said. “I can’t imagine what the owner of that car will feel like when he comes out to find that his bumper has been ripped off.”

Alan stopped and looked at me. “Um, yes you can. Because didn’t this happen to you?”

I smacked my head. OF COURSE. Five years ago, my car was totalled by a drunk driver while parked on the street in front of my house. So yeah, I guess I did know what that felt like. Except in my case, I heard the crash and had the benefit of adrenaline when I went running out to see my car, its sad wheels akimbo.

DC clearly marks all spaces.

DC clearly marks all spaces.

We started laughing. “Even so,” I said, “That’s a pretty shitty way to start a Sunday.”

Even as I said it, I had a sense that I was somehow jinxing us. And indeed, two hours later, I wasn’t surprised to see my phone light up a few minutes after Alan left my place.

“Um, quick question. Didn’t we park on T Street, near 16th last night?” he asked.

I confirmed that we had.

“I thought so. But… um…  my car is not here.”

I went running down, my stomach sinking. It’s not uncommon to have your car go missing in the District, and it can generally be attributed to one of three things: 1) You circled for a spot for so long that you can’t remember where you actually ended up parking, 2) It was towed because you broke a poorly marked rule, or 3) It was stolen.

I’ve listed the scenarios in order of likelihood, yet whenever my car would go missing, I’d immediately jump to Number 3 and assume some thugs had stolen it. When I arrived at T Street, Alan was in the same boat, but we called the phone number on the nearby parking signs and learned that his car had, in fact, been towed. Crap.

We were perplexed, because we’ve both parked in that spot before and – as far as we could remember – there weren’t any specific weekend rules. We walked back to look at it and in doing so noticed a new sign. One designating that spot suddenly as handicapped-only. Not the kind of thing you notice when you arrive at 10pm, especially when you’ve parked there before.

Gah.

Interestingly, his car had been towed to a gas station back near the Diner, so we walked back past the car with its bumper lying in the road. “Well, I guess it could be worse,” I gestured. Alan shook his head, having no interest in my sudden optimism.

And for good cause. Know how much our oversight cost us? (Get ready to vomit.) Four hundred and seventy five dollars. Yes, that’s $475. Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong – I think there should be serious consequences for parking in a handicap spot. But we didn’t do it deliberately, and a fine of even $100 would have prompted me to jump out and read every sign in a three block radius moving forward. So this seems a bit excessive, does it not?

If I’ve learned anything from my mom, it’s fairness. So rather than try to fight the DC government with reason, I’ll accept their rules. But now I need to make sure I use a good pen when I write the check. Because I surely don’t want ink stains on my ass cheeks.

Alan's next license plate?

Alan’s next license plate?

I put the “ass” in “nam-as-te.”

26 Jan

Image Source: http://www.funnyreign.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/namaste.jpg

Remember last month, when I made fun of that girl at the Diner who was showing a full two inches of her butt crack? Let’s just agree, karma is a bitch. (I mean that both literally and figuratively – Alan’s parents’ dog is named Karma, and she is technically a bitch. True story.)

Anyway… my covert photo-taking of the DinerGirl came back to haunt me in yoga.

When doing laundry the other week, I realized the Item that dictates when I need to do a load is my fleece pants. I practically live in them all winter and I only have one pair I consider perfection. (I have two other pairs that are runners-up, but they aren’t even in the same ballpark as my favorites.)

I had a moment of panic: What will I do when this pair wears out??? 

You know what I’m talking about.

I decided to guard against disaster. I went to REI.com (where I’d purchased this pair six years ago), praying they still stocked them. Alas, they didn’t, but they had something similar. On sale. So – still reeling from the thought that I might have to live without my favorite pants – I ordered three pairs. Did I mention they were on sale? It’s like fate WANTED me to be clad in fleece. (Did you hear that, Alan?)

Some three days later, they arrived at my door and I did backflips to realize they fit perfectly. The waistband was a bit lower than my favorites, but not exactly low riders. I thought nothing of it. (You should though, because I started this story talking about karma coming back to bite me in the ass.)

So last week I headed to yoga in my new fleece pants. It wasn’t ideal – I’m generally too hot to wear anything but light capris, but I was running late and didn’t have time to change. “They’ll work,” I told myself.

Image Source: See Course Deliverables TabAnd they did – until I did my first Down Dog.

You know how sometimes your shoes eat your socks? With every step they tug your socks down a half-inch, until your sock is smushed like an accordion between your arch and your heel? Well, that’s kind of what my pants were doing.

As I stretched in my Down Dog, I felt air on my lower back. I slid my hand around to check, and – sure enough – my pants had tugged down a bit and were riding just on the top of my hips. When we stood back up, I tugged them back up. But my underwear didn’t come with them.

Let’s repeat this move a few more times. Within ten minutes, my underwear were bunched up on my thighs, not even remotely covering my ass. I imagine it looked like I had a diaper on. And still, every time we ended in a Down Dog (which – in case you’re not familiar, is pretty much every other move when it comes to yoga), my pants were creeping lower.

I kept pulling them up, but there was more than one time when I reached back and found that we were entering Plumber’s Territory.

I considered leaving class rather than endure an hour of tug-of-war with my waistband. But in the end I decided my workout was more important than grossing out the women behind me. Mainly because I’m that dedicated. But also because prissy yogis get on my nerves.

Namaste, suckers.

 

[In somewhat related news, Alan arrived home one night to find me wearing my blouse from the office paired with my new fleece pants because I’d stalled out halfway through changing clothes. In full seriousness, he said, “You look nice. Did you stay dressed up for me?” Which either proves that men can’t tell the difference between flannel and foulard, or that Alan is clearly a breast-man, or that I’ve completely broken his spirit.]

Do I have sucker on my forehead?

28 Feb

Today as I left Safeway, a homeless man was panhandling for change outside the entrance. “Any change?” he asked.

I gave him my standard answer, “Sorry –  I don’t carry cash.”

To his credit, he came back with, “Can you use your card to buy me breakfast?”

This response appealed to me for two reasons: First, I am wracked with guilt when I see homeless people. I’ve been fortunate to have a life in which I can take care of myself, and I try my best to pay it forward. Ignoring the request of a homeless person – when I can clearly afford to help – makes me feel like I’ve lost my grounding in humanity. Second, I coach salespeople and advise them to come back to any objection with another question to remain engaged. This guy was a MODEL closer who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Ergo, my guilt and his tenacity worked in his favor. “C’mon,” I told him. “I’ll buy you a few things.”

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The kindness of strangers has limits

14 Feb

Yesterday walking home from the grocery store (which is literally right across the street), I saw a girl struggling to get her car out of a parking space. Her wheels were spinning and digging her deeper and deeper into the snow. Having been in the same situation 24 hours before and rescued by the kindness of strangers, I decided to pay it forward and offer to help.

After pushing and digging and offering creative ideas for traction, I’d helped make absolutely no progress. If a thought bubble had appeared above my head, it would’ve said, “F*ck. What have I gotten myself into?” because – as I sat there pushing her bumper – it occurred to me: there’s no easy way to walk away. Once you’ve offered assistance, you’re in the game until the clock runs out.

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