"... and so, that concludes my presentation on the current status of our 501(c)(3), Student Center operations, and the summer intern studies program." I sat back down at the tail end of the conference room table; my mind as blank as the stares returned to me from the Board of Directors.
The room was soaked in years of experience: a combined total of over 10 general-corps stars, 20 years in Congress, and personal worths of hundreds of millions of dollars. And here I was, a punk kid from Florida who has been running their Foundation for the last few months. We've made progress by leaps and bounds, but there was a nagging sensation in the back of my neck telling me that the gig was up. Surely, I had missed something, something critical that their collective oversight would catch. It was only a matter of time...
"Well, everyone. I believe that this brings us to the end of our meeting today," explained the aging retired Navy Admiral who sat at the head of the table. "Let me be the first to congratulate Matt, Brian, and the staff for their exceptional work at the Council and the Foundation respectfully. It's obvious that we are moving rapidly towards our goal at speeds we never saw from the last management team. Continue the great work and we'll see you all at the next board meeting."
The room errupted in applause. The pain in my neck dissapated.
After closing up the presentation tools, I was joined by the Admiral on our way out of the building.
"Brian, what is the term of your current contract with us?" he asked.
"Sir, I'm not currently under contact with the Foundation," I replied.
"Yes sir, I'm salary, but we haven't dicussed the terms of a possible contract."
"Well, we need to do that soon. I want you here with us for a while. We may have to sweeten the pot while we're at it. Let's talk next week."
My roommate had been raving about the 18th Street Lounge for some time now. She claimed that I would fall in love with the place and that it was a crime that I haven't already been. Work, drama, and an unhealthy addiction to the Big Hunt had prolonged the experience for some time now, but I had no excuse for this weekend. We made it our business to check it out.
After travelling through the humid train cars of the city's metro system, we made our way through the crowds of DuPont circle's sidewalks and towards the bar. Knowing that the lounge was situated in a portion of town where all the "swanky" bars took residence, I was expecting a more flashy entrance than the hole in the wall
door that greeted us at the end of our trip. Her past descriptions of the entrance process slightly unnerved me as we waited in line: "Brian, they are extremely picky. Last time I was here, they let my girlfriend and I in... but the guys we were with were turned away. The bouncers claimed they didn't look the part."
The last thing I needed was to fail the club's audition process but I had little choice now, we were at the front of the line.
They quickly waved her through, only looking at her ID for a fraction of a second. A bit nervous about my jeans and shirt combination, I approached the first bouncer. I was surprised to get the same quick entry granted to me as my roommate. Not even a second look my way. I thought for a moment that Club 54-like restrictions weren't in place for this night. "The crowd must be dead, they're letting everyone in." Those thoughts quickly disappeared when I noticed the dude behind me being turned away by the head bouncer. To me, he looked in good order, but I couldn't give it a second thought; I was in and the outside world could leave itself to its own devices. I'm still wondering how deep the rabbit hole goes.
The club reeked of old Townhouse ambience. As per usual, the lights were dimmed low and candles lined the counters throughout the various rooms of the club. Understanding the feeling the owners wanted to convey, it wasn't a surprise that covers of vintage jazz albums lined the walls and a strong concotion of incense, flowers, and liqours filled the air. Sounds of acid-jazz house danced through the hallways as we made our way to the deck outside. Four chandaliers ingeniously hovered over the deck and the candle motif (regardless of how impractical it may have been due to the weather) continued through the outside playground.
After we downed a pair of mixed drinks, we met up with a group of her friends who I had known only in passing. They were pretty nice and joined in the fun fairly quickly. Making small chat here and there, I struck up a conversation with one of the girls who seemed to have a nack for easy conversation. Talking about everything that did or didn't matter, the conversation slightly wained when my urge to people-watch took over. I had to comment on the scores of twenty-something glitter laced girls and business-casual guys that poured from the bar.
"Guess I can pass with the beautiful people tonight," I mentioned.
The familiar board room stare fell upon her face. At first I thought she didn't hear the line, but it became apparent that the context was originally lost on her.
she replied with earnest honesty. "We are
the beautiful people. Get used to it."
The bitter taste of pride, ego, and vanity filled the back of my mouth. To clear my palette, I ordered a house white wine as my next drink. Gripping the stem of the glass with my fingertips I took my first sip, simultaneously completing the transformation.
We quickly moved to the inside floor of the bar and joined the moderate group of people dancing. Although it was the whole group dancing thing, it was actually fun in the purest sense of the word. Since moving to DC, I had not really danced at all. No clubs, no dancing bars... until now. It was really good to forget about the world happening around you and lose yourself in the music. No doubt the chardonnay helped a bit, but who's keeping score? We literally danced the night away.
The following day at the Hirshhorn
. Two favorites:
"... So, I'm finishing my chard when I notice someone bump into my roommate. Looking out of the side of my eye, I realized the person looked way too familiar..." I explained while recounting the prior night's events to the mates.
The hunt was unusally warm and empty, although it was a Sunday night. But it never mattered since a friend was always there. We struck up light conversation exchanging weekend stories and such. Never devling deep enough to expose too much, but just enough to keep the conversation going. Such is life in DC.
"Brian, how old are you?" The self-proclaimed dyke Bartender quized.
"24? Are you kidding me? I wanted to hook you up with a friend of mine."
"Ha ha, yeah, I'm not sure if I'm lookin... wait, how old do I look?"
"At least 27. She's 30."
"God... do I look that old?" I questioned.
"No no, like... it's your whole demeanor. You just feel like an mature soul," she explained. "From what you say that you do and how you act in here, I swore that you were a bit older."
"Well, umm... thanks, I think."
She sent another glass of Yuengling my way.