Thursday, August 23, 2012

When All Else Fails, There's Beer

Today was one of those days. Rachel, Nora, and I wanted to check out a wholesale market that sounded cool, so we agreed upon a time and gathered in front of Rachel's apartment building to hail a cab, baby Leah in the snuggly in front of her mom.

But finding a cab turned out to be an exercise in frustration. We found a couple of cabs all right, but both drivers shook their heads adamantly when we told them where we wanted to go. Too much traffic. After about 20 minutes, Nora said, let's just go get a beer. So we decamped to a new German restaurant and sat with some good beer for a while.

Later in the day, I had made plans to go dragon boating with Jan. The lake is also a bit far from home and practice was supposed to start after work at 7:30, so we just had to get there in time. But for the second time that day, finding a cab was an exercise in frustration. This time, every cab we saw was already taken. One guy started to pull over but veered back into the street, causing me to yell a few choice words at the guy not wanting to bother with foreigners.  After 45 minutes of watching the traffic weave and dart and speed its way through an intersection, we agreed: let's just go have a beer.

So we sat at another outdoor bar and watched the Chinese couples out celebrating Qixi, Chinese Valentine's day. The girls were all dressed to the nines, tottering on impossibly high heels and wearing diaphanous dresses lined with sequins, while their boyfriends slouched alongside in shorts and tee shirts. Balloon sellers with enormous bundles of heart shaped balloons walked past while men chased down cabs holding bouquets of red roses, having more success than we did.

This city is hard. And expecting to go somewhere but being prevented by traffic, surly cab drivers, a limited subway system, and a sprawl that makes DC look like my backyard can make me crazy at times. And then I realize I'm drinking a beer with a friend while a man rides by on a bike with a tiny dog in a mesh backpack on his back, and I just laugh.

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