Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Heartbreak Cafe

Inaugural mayhem settled in early last night.

I left my office around 6:30, and between me and my bus stop two blocks away was a solid, unmoving knot of screeching and howling vehicular traffic. Intersections were stuffed solid with an orgy of noses bumping fenders nudging rear doors sideswiping bumpers. And we freezing pedestrians meandered through this maze like water droplets trickling around stones and boulders in masonry walls. I could hear sirens coming from everywhere, and hoped that anybody in need had a Plan B. You could choke on the road rage out there.

At any rate, it was clear to me that I was not getting home any time soon. So instead I walked over to Dupont Circle to wait out the hysteria with a hot toddy and some books. (One reason I knew fairly quickly after moving here that despite our differences DC and I would ulitimately be okay was the presence of a great bookstore with a fully-stocked bar inside. Coffee is okay in a pinch, you know, but any place that encourages you to settle in with a Shiner and a new book is a step above.) As you may recall, Kramerbooks cafe was the spot that featured the genius Trent Lotte back during the Strom birthday scandal ("separate but equal parts coffee and milk.") They haven't left the puns behind. There was a nod to the holidays with an amaretto and oj drink special called the "I Have a Dreamsicle." In honor of inauguration week, we have drinks dubbed "Red State" and "Blue State," and there's a "Bushwhacker" as well. On the menu, I was tempted by the Condoleeza Rice Pudding. But it quickly descended from there. I detected on that menu the stale stench of angry desperation so familiar to me these days. They abandoned all pretense at witty puns and just made angry angry dishes. For example: Rod Paige's Terrorist NEA Chili. What does that mean? I don't know. But I understand. And if you want a big heapin' helpin' of bile a la carte, please help yourself to Gonzales' Torture Gorgonzola Tortellini. Prepared with dismay and served with a sigh. Again, I don't know, but I understand. I empathize with the tortellini. I do.


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