Monday, October 10, 2011

What I Do All Day

I've gotten a lot of questions in the last weeks about how I've been filling my time in this hotel in Alexandria (day 44, but who's counting?).

So I thought I'd take a stab at answering (better to take a stab at this than at some helpless tourist on the elevator WHO MOVES AS IF TIME WAS STANDING STILL).

Okay, I'm back.

So I wake up when Bob wakes up, because we are in just one room and the light from his BlackBerry, which he each morning checks in the hopes that our visas, like visions of sugarplums, will be there, wakes me up.

I exercise. I can choose between jogging on the brick sidewalks of Old Town down to the water, which is lovely this time of year if I don't kill myself on the uneven brick, or working out in the hotel gym. The hotel gym often has tattooed Air Force guys with buzz cuts and chiseled muscles taking over the weights and the benches, so I'll go for the elliptical or the treadmill, depending on which one gives me more room not to be next to Mr. Air Force.

Next is breakfast, which I often attend in my workout clothes because breakfast shuts down at 9, and I like the coffee downstairs better than the coffee in the room. I know the breakfast choices by heart. Grab a newspaper, grab a table, fill a coffee mug, and then see how gloppy the oatmeal looks today, or how long the eggs have been sitting there. After breakfast, grab some fruit and yogurt for lunch, if there are no lunch plans. (there usually are)

Shower. Remember to put the "recharging" sign on the door. (don't ask me why it has to be cute and not just say "do not disturb" like a normal hotel)

Feed cat, after coaxing her out from under bed. Scoop out litter box. Watch cat dash back under the bed when someone walks by in the hallway outside.

Check email, Facebook, Twitter. Respond to the multiple "what's new on the visa front" emails. Answer editors who would like me to file insightful stories about intellectual property rights, land use, or traditional Chinese medicine, explaining how hard it is to understand China from northern Virginia. Send chatty emails to friends who are far too busy to respond, and then feel hurt when they don't answer in five minutes.

Call mom. Deconstruct my day so far. Deconstruct her day so far.

Read the newspapers. Check Twitter again. Download iPad apps, including a talking translator app that leads me to believe I'll never need to learn Chinese. Or any language, for that matter. Download the latest issue of the New Yorker, which is now backing up in the same way that the magazines used to pile up in the basket of my wicker chair.

Go outside to shop for clothing, cat food, or other non-essentials. Peek into the Crate & Barrel outlet. Find Robert E Lee's boyhood home. See the place where George Washington's doctor is buried. Decide whether the statue honoring Confederate soldiers is despondent or just pensive. Look in Christ Church cemetery.

Meet friends for coffee. Meet friends for lunch. Meet friends for drinks. Meet friends for dinner. Repeat basic story, or non-story, about visas. Hope that someone else's life is more interesting than yours.

Avoid stepping on the scale. Check Twitter one more time. Update Facebook status. Watch TV. Read. Talk to the cat. Convince cat to sit on lap. Feel trapped. Pick a fight with Bob. Wonder why the hotel remote control barely works. Write silly posts to the blog.

It's a full life.

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