Sweating in D.C.

I spent Thursday and Friday in Washington, D.C. looking for an apartment. It was the beginning of my process of accomodating to new city I had just taken a job in.

If I think hard enough, I can summarize all my experiences in a few words. The summer of 1994 was soccer, the summer of 2001 was brother, and the U.S. elections of 2004 were the awesomeness. My couple of days in D.C. were about sweat.

I got off the Chinatown bus in D.C. around noon. Throughout the duration of the trip useless streams of the coldest of cold airs invaded the bus, turning my knee joints into rocks and my spare T-shirts into blankets. I tied to converse with the woman sitting next to me about her research into a popular black author of erotica (she was reading newspaper articles with the words erotica and Zane in bold), but my teeth were chopping words as I struggled to get warm enough to speak. I will forever regret not being able to strike up a conversation with a stranger reading “Gettin’ Buck Wild” on a crowded bus.

About an hour after I began my trek through the D.C. real estate jungle, I got a glimpse of the hours to come when I felt my backpack stick to my T-shirt; I had chosen a gray one that morning. Bad choice. Soon I was sporting one of those in-your-face sweat stains that cuddles under your chest. I wished for one of those athlete V-shaped stains, but no, I only had a pathetic bulls-eye stain, a result of walking too many blocks and not a 10-mile jog.

I handled it well until it came time to see a studio apartment in Dupont Circle. I decided to walk though the place was a good 20 minutes away. I told the leasing agency I’d be there in 15 minutes. That was 4:30 p.m. At 4:55 I called to say I would be 10 minutes late — I was lost. I entered the building at 5:05 to find that everybody in the leasing office, except for the woman I spoke to on the phone, had left.

You have to understand that by that time I was on my second gray T-shirt of the day; I turned the first into a towel, trying to avoid another stain in the brisk walk to my appointment. My preventive measures turned out to be as messy as most preemptive measures are — the stain only expanded because of the “towel.”

I passed people on the street and as I looked into their eyes I realized they were going to sit down on the sofa at home and tell their friends, relatives, partners, husbands, wives, kids, that they saw this man on the street, carrying a big blue backpack and sweating profusely. They will emphasise the word profusely because they don’t get to use it much. “I’m telling you Rob, this guy had one of those abstract therapy blobs on his T-shirt — only it came from sweat, not ink! Profusely! I’m telling you man, he was sweating profusely! Buckets of profusely!”

That’s the state I was in when I met Andrea from the leasing agency. The only times a man gets away with meeting a hot woman while sweating like a squeezed sponge is when he is Lance Armstrong or when their encounter is the mid-“plot” scene of a porn flick. The cliche of the second hovered over me. I followed Andrea into the elevator and watched as she pressed the button to take us to the eighth floor — an empty floor where studios were just being finished. I imagined myself through her eyes and I believe I looked as human as your best friend behind a waterfall yelling: “Can you see me?”

We saw the studio. Nice. I was too busy sweating — profusely embarassed by my appearance, and the possibility I had watched too much porn to believe I might have to counter a come-on. Both feelings shot off the charts as we descended to the basement and opened (with a key) the exercise room.

There we were, in this musty chamber filled with weights, benches and more weights. For the first time that day, my Freudian sweat stain looked like it belonged. I was just another sweaty man in an exercise room, alone with an attractive woman. Porn is just art imitating life after all, isn’t it?

I left seconds after having this thought and wandered out into the streets of D.C. sweating profusely.

3 Responses to “Sweating in D.C.”

  1. Welcome to DC.

  2. So did you find a place?

  3. yay DC… welcome to the city built on a swampland.

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