Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ce'st Magnifique

Overheard on the Orange Line.
Confused Gay: I think I’m going to break up with him.
Bored Girlfriend: Shut up.
C.G.: yeah but I don’t know when I should. I mean, we’re going to Paris for god’s sakes!
B.G.: oh yeah, Paris.
C.G: not just Paris. Roland Garros for god’s sakes!
B.G: oh yeah, French Open.
C.G.: who am I talking to? When was the last time you played tennis?
B.G: Bitch, I played tennis with your grandma. Shut up.
C.G.: So I guess we’ll have a good time in Paris... but what if we get back together?
B.G: You’re going to France! f*** him, f*** FedEx and stop f***ing with my brain.
C.G.: I guess that means I shouldn’t break up with him now.
Speaking of which, FedEx almost cruised to the third round by beating Ascione 6-1 6-2 7-6 (8). At least the Frenchman put up a fight in the third. It could have dragged on but Fed hammered in some aces as if to say, “let’s just get it over with…”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Update

Sometimes you read about someone like Barbara Holland and think hmm, I hope I’m living a full productive life even if it’s not as smoke-filled or Scotch induced as hers. But even though the weekend was lazy and chilled out, it was well lived. There was lots of sleeping (what’s new, you say?), good eats and drinks (kathi rolls! truffles!! bloody marys!!!), impulsive shopping (that brassiere was dying to go home with me) and some escapist interludes courtesy Shrek and Pirates (some cheesy lines, all good fun).
The soaring temperatures also made me run to the pool. But imagine having to swim in a lane with 3 other men who are all super competitive. I quickly realized that a) it was like driving on a freeway (and I know all about that one, right) and one must stick to the right side if you’re slower than the others and b) if someone wants to overtake you, keep maintaining same speed and distance or else you will be hit. After 45 mins. of this madness, I was all but ready to get out and collapse when some random dude who is just learning how to swim, says – “Oh, that’s it?” Oh, Shut Up.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Feat of Clay

Over the weekend, I did some strength training by carrying 4 bags of groceries over 6 blocks and cooked some pretty decent chhole and met a dear friend who felt I had made great strides in my personal growth. All fine achievements, wouldn’t you say? But all that was nothing compared to some serious tennis action. According to the ramblings of an old, old man: Rafael Nadal runs his clay court win streak to 81 (81!!) matches. Then Roger Federer fires his coach, Roche. Then, Rafa and The Fed Express meet in the Hamburg Masters Series final. Then Rafa wins the first set 6-2. Then Federer evens things up with a 6-2 set of his own. Then, Federer ends his personal clay court losing streak to Rafa (0-5) by blanking him in the third and deciding set. And then, the 20-year-old Rafa says, "Well, I lost against the number one and one of the best in history." What a gracious guy! Man, I can't wait for the French Open! Can't wait!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Georgia State of Mind

I wish I could post the pics from Atlanta but of course something is up with my camera. But I did see Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical corres at the CNN Center for all of 20 seconds before he stomped off looking v.busy with a production assistant. He is short and cute and presumably very smart (doctor, na). He is quite a rock star down there… huge billboards of him all over.
I also saw Margaret Mitchell’s apt. which she shared with her husband, John. She was a reporter for all of 4 years at the Atlanta Journal, which she called the Black Hole of Calcutta because soot from the nearby trains would make the walls dark. When she had to sit at home with a foot injury, John would bring her books from the library but she would finish them so fast, that he finally went and got a typewriter for her and said, “Write your own goddamn book.” She did and called it Gone With The Wind. I remember it as my First Big Fat Book ie. more than 200 pages, before I moved on to the Biography of Charles and Diana at age 12. Mitchell seemed to have fashioned Scarlett after herself (stubborn, pretty and rebellious) and Rhett after her first husband (dubious profession, charming, alcoholic).
Later I dragged my friend’s sister to the Botanical Gardens. We huffed and puffed our way over, thinking it wasn’t a bad walk. Big mistake. Anyway, 45 mins. later we entered a real oasis – the gardens were not just lush and green and full of all things blooming (except the roses, they looked so sad), there was also some sort of exhibit of Big Bugs… ladybugs, caterpillars, ants, spiders, etc. that were made by some artist and scattered all over the garden at strategic locations so you could jump out and say ‘Ooooh! There’s a bug.’ Other highlights were the beautiful orchid conservatory and some bullfrogs that were enjoying the lily pond.
Atlanta doesn’t have the best transit system – the MARTA – but parts of it reminded me of Boston and Chicago. Perhaps it was the old geyser platforms or the marble stone carvings that were being passed off for artwork. But what’s a big city without a dirty subway system? Sadly, the subway also has remnants of the Old South... where segregation still exists and some surrounding counties don’t want the subway to be built for fear of “bad elements” entering their localities.
What Atlanta does have is classic Southern hospitality and food. The people are really warm and friendly, saw the women with pearl necklaces and the church lady hats on, saw the porches and swings that spoke of a lazy summer's day, and of course I had the best chicken and biscuits. I’ll be back for more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Soul Sistahs

I was going to write about my Atlanta trip after returning to DC but so much happened in the past 2 days, it was hard to keep it all in my head! A few highlights from the show:
  • First, a taste of history. Spelman, one of the oldest historically Black colleges for women founded by antislavery activists, played host to a dialogue betweeen Anne Roosevelt, the granddaughter of Eleanor and FDR, and the Rev. Mazie Ferguson, the great-grandniece of Mary McLeod Bethune on race, class and gender. Both agreed those 3 things were artificial constructs and gave some insights into their foremothers' great friendship. One story was how Bethune went to visit Eleanor and was told that she had to take the stairs, not the elevator. She went up and Eleanor took her back down in the elevator and then said: "Oh, I forgot something, we need to go up again." They forgot to have tea :) Roosevelt, a vice president for Boeing, and Ferguson, seemed to show the same concerns as their relatives. "If they were alive today, they would be fighting for the same things," said Anne. "Amen," said Ferguson.
  • I met some cool grandmothers. They were in their 60s, running corporations or contemplating retirement and all very passionate about education. There was Patty who was into designing e-learning tools and crazy about hot rod cars, there was Ann a former CEO who talked of how a trip to [the former] East Berlin changed her outlook and made it possible for her to go to HBS after having 2 kids at 22. The word they used often was "intentionality." If there is intent, or a will to do something, the stars align themselves.
  • And finally the American Indian tribal leaders. Fierce and proud. And still carrying wounds of the past. Someone asked Beverly, a tribe member from Martha's Vineyard (yes, they were there before the Kennedys) "What kind of an Indian are you?" All of us were stunned into silence. Brenda, the first woman chief of an Indian tribe - the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in Princeton, Maine - spoke of still existing rascism and finally, Sharon from a Texas-based tribe ended on an emotional note: "We just want to be included in the conversations. When you talk of Hispanic, Asian, Whites and others... don't forget about us.. we're human beings, too and we want the same respect."
  • My media panel went off pretty smoothly... I was a kid compared to the veterans surrounding me and the lady to my left was this publisher honcho who kept plugging her magazine (and i refuse to plug it here for her benefit). anyway, she forgot to switch off her cell phone!!!! ugh. thank god it was ringing while she was speaking. and then at some point she was in the middle of telling some anecdote and it required her to take off one of her shoes - aren't they cute?, she says - and i didn't know whether to duck my head for cover.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Market Value

After much serious dancing and revelry on Friday night, I was looking forward to a relaxing Saturday morning walk (think 11 a.m. not 6 a.m.) with my former roommate’s husband’s ex who was somehow fated to be my neighbor. Angie and I subsequently bonded over random things like the key change to a 16 track song, where to find the best burritos in town, and the ability to speak in a Maldovian accent while picking apart the Paris in Prison sentence. Eez veree good, no?
Since Eastern Market was still quite gutted from last week’s fire, we decided to trek to the RFK Stadium Parking Lot No. 6 for another version of a farmer’s market. Less hip, more hick. Less quaint, more urban chic. After about 40 minutes of walking past New Orleans-style porches and Tudor facades, the rose bushes and the jasmine trees, we obviously crossed some sort of “invisible line” where the gentrification stops. But the smell of barbecue from church stoops and the stares from the barbershops kept us going. We reached lot no. 6 to see a football match in progress in a baseball stadium parking lot. The match clearly attracted a large South American crowd and I was reminded of those lechy Delhi men. Luckily, we managed to find the market towards the other side of the lot.
There were the sunniest of oranges and the reddest of potatoes and the greenest of spinach leaves. It could be so pretty in a cobbled lined street with overhead umbrellas. The only thing below was a layer of concrete asphalt and an overhead bridge where metro trains periodically kept rattling over. We ogled at the produce before making a bee line for the food van emanating smoke signals. But first, a sign that read: “Candy Man’s Candy Shop This Way.” Oooh, that’s what 50 Cent was talking about! More like Willi Wonka methinx... a dollar for all kinds of tasty treats... but we resisted the temptation and moved on. At the food pit, we ordered up our rib sandwiches and looked at each other and said – “Well, here we are sittin’ at the parkin’ lot and havin’ some barbecue.” How country do y’all wanna get? Since rain was imminent, we took lunch back home where her two Black Labradors were waiting with wagging tails. Since the hubby was out, the girls – Java and Laska – had patiently entertained themselves by watching Squirrel Reality TV in the backyard. Now they sat and cuddled with us, blissfully napping. How do you get a life like that?