overheard or observed


The weather was a bit warmer today, so everyone is feeling a little crazy. The polo man was out on the mall again!

He has inspired me to verse:

Why go to the effort of force,
And give your kingdom for a horse?
Just go out on the mall
With a stick and a ball
And jump on a bench, of course.



It is quite cold outside today. Garrison Keillor always says that “cold is a stimulant for sound thinking.” I can attest that during our mini-Spring heatwave last week, people were getting kind of crazy.

On my regular lunchtime runs on the National Mall, I saw all kinds of people out enjoying the balmy weather. One particularly interesting chap: a 50-ish-year-old man walking along, with big headphones on, half-heartedly poking at a ball with what appeared to be a very long croquet stick. He then walked over to one of the benches, stood atop the bench, put the ball next to it and began madly swinging his stick in the air. He was warming up his arm, swinging in circles, stretching from side to side. It was not until he was standing on the bench that I realized it was *not* a very long croquet stick, but more likely a polo stick. The bench, his horse. The mall, his playground.

I frequently take the Georgia Avenue Express bus to work. It is a trimmer, faster version of the clown bus, making fewer stops and taking two different turns — it goes down 9th Street instead of 7th Street downtown. Regular 70 bus (clown bus) riders who find themselves on the express bus get a little worked up and fearful when it makes that turn — where are we going? One such rider, an older African American woman, this week was trying to make sure she could still get to her stop for the X2 bus on H Street. (She could.) This led her to expound on the X bus:

“That is one bus I hate. The X bus. You get everybody on that bus.”

It sounded similar to my neighbor’s complaints about the clown bus.

I have come to love the 70/clown bus, with its endless parade of characters on the long bus that goes loping up Georgia Avenue. Now I really want to check out the X bus. Even its name is alluring … like a mysterious code name … or the Xtreme Xbus Xperience.

The X bus goes from the McPherson Square area, near the White House, down H Street, across the Anacostia River to Minnesota Avenue, a place I believe no one from the White House has ever been or will ever visit. Ned spotted the X the other day — it is a double bus connected with the rubber accordion in the middle, like the clown bus. This is a good sign. The double buses are great because they are 1) funny 2) big enough for a lot of crazy clowns. Vive la X bus!

My friend, the bug, wants me to write a song for Sufjan Stevens. But my songs are generally of the goofy-make-up-words-to-the-tune-of-an-existing-song ilk, and I think Sufjan might want something a little more pro. My silly song skillz are perhaps more appropriately suited for the commission I received from the bug’s husband, who asked me to write a song to the tune of “Doctor Feelgood” for his med school graduation (which is still way too far away, but he actually asked this of me before med skool ever began).

I am not the only publicly-bursting-into-song woman in DC, though. Not in the least. Perhaps the woman on one of my crazybuses who wrote an original composition, “The More You Cry, the Less You Pee,” would like to take a stab at the Sufjan competition. Crazy bus woman, are you out there? Someone actually found this blog the other day by googling, of all things: “the more you pee the less you cry.” Was it the bus singing woman, looking to see if anyone else had stolen her awesome song idea?


DC bus

I often run or ride my bike to work. Today I took the clown bus, which is always an adventure. The Georgia Avenue bus route has some of the chattiest, friendliest bus drivers out there (in fact, someone even wrote a book about them). Today’s bus had one of those friendly drivers. For much of the ride he was talking with a passenger who had just returned from a slightly stressful/busy work trip.

While driving past where a cop had pulled over a couple of people, he asked her if she was glad to be back.

Passenger: That’s what you come back to, all this craziness.

Bus driver: Yeah, but you don’t miss it ’til you seen what you seen.


And the bus driver’s farewell to everyone disembarking the bus: Y’all be safe out there. It’s crazy out there.

clown bus

In a conversation about the “next bus” service for the 70 and 71 buses on Georgia Avenue, one of the older African American women in my neighborhood said:

“Oh, I don’t ride those Georgia Avenue buses. There’s too many clowns on that bus.”

(She takes the Sherman Avenue buses, in case you were wondering.)

Alert! Airport travel can be so stressful. So, why would you want to be dragged down by walking slow enough for your stubby-legged children to keep up, when you can strap your kids to your carry-on suitcase and drag them around the airport!? Last night in National Airport I saw a funny, cute sight — an adorable wee pig-tailed girl sitting on a seat on her dad’s carryon suitcase, rolling through the airport. You too can be a part of the sensation.


Next Page »