Archive for the ‘The DC’ Category

According to one of my long time anonymous readers and commenters, I “need to grow up.” That means buying a house, having a boyfriend, and getting a job. And probably do things like go to the HRC gala in a matching tux with my boyfriend so I can get my photo posted in MetroWeekly. Because THEN you’re a real, grown-up gay.

And of course I have total control over all of these things. I just choose not to do them, right?

roselnylundSo in order to please my anonymous commenter, I occasionally try to date. This time it was supposed to be a lunch date with OlafDave on Scruff. Dave is from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and has lived in DC for about 8 years. He went to St. Olaf, which is a real university.

Many people on the East coast think St. Olaf is fictional because the Golden Girls character Rose attended St. Olaf. I know it’s real because my high school friends went there. That’s where the good Lutheran kids go. Evil Satanist or pagan children go to the state universities like I did. Anyway, the people who went to St. Olaf are usually good midwestern kids, and I extended that presumption to OlafDave. We were to have a casual nonsexual lunch date.

Dave never showed up. Then he disappeared on Scruff. Possibly cancelled his account. He either didn’t have the balls to tell me he couldn’t make it, and/or his partner came back into town. His profile says ‘single’, but you know how it goes with partnered gays in DC.

It’s been a while since I’ve been stood up. It still smarts, and it still colors my opinion of people. People are shitty, deceptive and weak. I think I had learned to filter out the flakes and have gotten better at recognizing good people. OlafDave slipped through the cracks, and I’ll be sure to remember that when making assumptions about Minnesotans.

And if I see OlafDave with his partner at a party or in a bar, I’ll be sure to go up to Dave and have a very forward chat for a long time. I won’t leave and the situation will be very awkward and uncomfortable. So you’d better not go out, OlafDave, unless you’re prepared for a very awkward and uncomfortable conversation for a long time with a very obnoxious person.

Or maybe I just got catfished, and someone used his pic to front a fake profile. I kind of doubt that though, because OlafDave’s details were pretty thorough.

So commenter and long-time reader OldFartDC, that’s how it goes, and that’s one reason how I’m still not as grown up as you’d like me to be.

It happened again. We met at a party. We chatted online via Facebook. I did my due diligence and did a background check. All signs indicated he was single. Again, I should have just asked. I should know better and just ask upfront. But he wanted to hang out, go on a date.

But after all that chatting, texting, and 2 hours into a date, he didn’t mention any of these three useful pronouns:

US, WE or BF.

It’s that simple. Pronouns are easy, and can be helpful. Try these phrases to help drop a hint:

We went grocery shopping the other day.”
“I saw that movie with my boyfriend.”

I’m not slut shaming. I’ve given up being upset about the prevalence of open relationships in the gay community. I think I lean towards monogamy, but I’ve been known to play* with partnered guys. It’s just that partnered guys are not always upfront about their relationship status, to the point of being shady.

It’s just when I don’t know the whole story I get pissed off. I like to have all the cards on the table before proceeding. I think it’s a polite thing to do, to let the other guy know you’re in a relationship. If I don’t know you’re partnered, I assume you’re single and available.

I think it’s some kind of east coast Victorian propriety thing. It was much simpler in Portland. Those boys were very upfront and honest:

“Hi I have a boyfriend wanna fuck?” I am not kidding that’s how it went. It was refreshing, communicative and simple. I knew what was up and could make informed decisions accordingly. And I never got pissed off when they were upfront and honest about their relationship status.

Here in DC there are those ruled by perceptions of propriety, or something. I don’t know what the fuck it is here. I guess they think I won’t find out** or they think they will be perceived as slutty***.

Either way, next time I need to simply ask because I cannot assume they will disclose their relationship status.

*the verb to play – I loathe the term. I think it devalues the act of sex.
**I will find out. I’ve lived here for 15 years and I know everyone. I will find out.
***Do you think you’re the only slutty person in DC?

It has been a lovely fall in DC. Autumn is the best season in this city: summer is too damn hot, winter is grey and bleak, and spring is filled with pollen. Temperatures this week have been in the 70s, great biking weather:
Bridge Steps
I managed to get out on several hikes this fall, but did not go backpacking in West Virginia like I usually do. I did make it to Sugarloaf Mountain and Old Rag again with friends. Old Rag seems to be getting more and more challenging every time I hike it…

JBackpackSpeaking of hiking, I recently retired my old Jansport backpack and Ridgerest inflatable camping pad. Both were about 25 years old, and had been with me for two summers in Alaska, through my college years, Peace Corps in Kazakstan, Oregon, and the Mid-Atlantic Appalacians. It was sad to see them go, but the pad was full of leaks, and the pack was heavy, outdated and took up too much space. I was mainly using it to store things in, but never brought it out. I put them to rest to disappear out on the magical curb of disappearance.

I think another reason I was saving the old pack was…just in case someone else would need it. I think when I came out, and came to DC, I had this vision of having a rugged hiking boyfriend that never panned out. Either the boyfriend did not hike, or most of the time there was no boyfriend. Acquired wisdom later taught me that a hiking bf is not a requirement, but a nice plus. You have to take what you can get, if you can get it at all. I have a newer pack now, and assume if there is a guy who wants to go camping with me, he will have his own equipment.

There was a woofy beardy guy who went with me this year to Old Rag. But he had just broke up from a long relationship and was clearly a mess, and/or simply not interested in me. Numerous attempts at interest were rebuffed with the usual DC excuse, “I’m busy.” Which was too bad because the sex was really good [the first time] but then the second time was awkward. And like my great uncle Orlow might have said as he was raising coonhounds: “If the old dog barks up a tree and a squirrel doesn’t fall out, she moves on.”

Halloween was meh. My brain was occupied by financial issues over the holiday when I discovered the temp job I’ve been working at isn’t enough to pay my bills. It’s likely to go permanent by January, but until then I need to find a way to earn extra dough. That’s going to be the reality of the modern workforce as salaries continue to drop and costs of living go up I’m afraid. It’s how I saw most people get by in Portland, and unless you are a CEO or Director of a nonprofit or agency in DC, multiple jobs will be the reality in larger cities like DC, NYC and SF. You will have to work all the time just to get by.

But I like my temp job. It’s a nice place to work and they keep me busy doing content management and even some writing and research. It’s nowhere near what I could be doing, nor is it in the natural sciences. But after three years of this job instability shit I am ready to settle down and take what I can get. That and I recognize a good workplace when I see it. It’s the places you _don’t_ see jobs advertised on Idealist and the other job sites that are the good places to work. The ones you see posting frequently are the ones you should avoid. In DC it’s EPA, Nature Conservancy, Discovery, AARP, and Pew Charitable Trusts. Always see job postings with them, never hear good things about them. Anyway, I have to make it through the holidays and I should be good by January if things go well. Until then I need to find an evening or weekend gig to keep me afloat.

Tonight I am going on an age-appropriate date! He is 48 – I am 44. I like Daddies but lately I have been dating guys much younger than me, because these days all the kids like Daddies. I find that hilarious. When I was in my 20s nobody would give me the time of day, and lately I’ve been getting a lot more attention than when I was in my 20s. But I want to check out those around my age too, as we may have more to relate to. He has a beard and is woofy too, of course.

BRETT NEEDS MORE SLEEP CUZ HE LOOKS OLD!I know my neighborhood garbage issues are not the most exciting blog topic, but this one gets better. It’s totally gross – even grosser than BrettCajun!

So I contacted my ANC rep about the dumping and trash issues in the alley who got in touch with the people in charge of dealing with garbage issues. One morning I happened to catch them when they were removing the excess cans and cleaned up the alley. I mentioned the stinky can with unknown goo in it, to which she responded: “You know there’s a funeral home on the other side of the block? And they know they shouldn’t be dumping in public bins!”

Me: “You mean that’s actually happened before?”
Linda: “Oh yeah, and we talked to them about it!”
Me: “So that mystery liquid in that bin could be….”
Linda: “Yep!”

So yeah the smelly acrid liquid in the recycle bin could be necrotic human remains.

Happy Halloween.

In further problematic developments, by that afternoon I saw the alley had been completely cleared of everything – including the new modern bins. I assumed the DPW had relocated them back to their proper homes. But last night my upstairs roomate asked about the bins we use for our address, and noted that ours was missing. Did the DPW take away all the bins? I’ve inquired with our ANC rep to find out…

Location of illegal dumping in the alley between 1906 and 1908 6th Street, NW.

Location of illegal dumping in the alley between 1906 and 1908 6th Street, NW.

Illegal dumping in my neighborhood is nothing new. It seemed to be worse in 2002 when people passing by unloaded their junk on the corner of Florida, T and 6th. Then the dumping seemed to subside for many years. Or maybe I just didn’t notice dumping between then and today.

But there’s been an uptick lately and my guess is the increase of home renovations. And an increase of visitors parking in the neighborhood due to more nightlife opportunities near LeDroit Park. People come to party in Shaw and LeDroit now that there are restaurants and bars in the area. I’ve noticed more construction material being dumped in the alley a few doors up from my home. Construction material, and also just garbage as well. People are unloading their cars of fast food bags, and sometimes going to the bathroom in the alley as well. It’s starting to stink, even in the cooler weather.

And some kind of liquid waste. This summer I discovered a paint bucket filled with this smelly goo, which was starting to ferment in the heat. And lately the same substance has been deposited in a recycling bin. Several gallons of it (the bin is half-full of it), mixed with recycling, and it’s starting to smell very bad.

I’ve called bulk collection twice to get the construction materials picked up but it hasn’t been picked up. But don’t know what do do about the foul liquid, aside from asking neighbors to keep an eye on the alley and neighborhood detective work. Nobody wants to empty that bin of whatever is in it. It seems like something that has been used to cook or boil food with, and it really stinks.

So I’ve also reached out to my ANC 1B01 Commissioner to get some help, and possibly some advice on what to do. I think with so many renters in my neighborhood no one wants to take leadership on this, but the problem is only going to get worse. Any advice from readers in the area is welcome!

Trash bins in the alley between 1906 and 1908 6th Street NW DC.

Trash bins in the alley between 1906 and 1908 6th Street NW DC.

Hey there from chaos central. Well it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve been adjusting to the new job and it’s going well. It’s definitely not a suit culture place and my workload is reasonable. In fact I’m only starting to realize how bad the last place was. Sort of like when you were in a bad relationship and you don’t realize how bad it was until you’re out of it.

On Friday I happened to cross paths with a colleague from that job and we chatted a bit. It sounds like for the most part they liked me. But I was pretty miserable and am not sad it’s over.

Other job prospects I was hoping for have not panned out. It’s too bad because I liked both organizations – both having an environmental mission. But after such a long period of job searching and upheaval, I think I’m going to settle for this one, even though it’s not in my field of interest. I’m seeing a lot of value in a sane workplace. It’s telling that this particular organization doesn’t show up on job posting boards – people like working there and they tend to stay there.

I have a new roommate too, and his stuff is just starting to settle in our cramped quarters. Fortunately I don’t have much stuff, and I have given him full reign in terms of design and placement. My post-apocalypse, post-undergrad, vagabond style of decor horrifies most gays. The house will look better soon with his art and stuff in it. The only problem now is where to put my bike where I can grab-n-go with it at will.

It’s that time of year when cold office complaints are trending in your news feeds and on the Facebooks. I’m seeing a lot more responses in line with “it’s all menpigs fault because suits!”

Does anybody really think men want to wear suits? It’s frikkin’ 98 degrees out there with 90% humidity, and I can tell you I REALLY don’t want to wear a goddamn suit in this town in August! Now that I’ve lived in a city with a more relaxed dress code (Portland) I have some insight on the matter. And the fact of the matter is, whether or not you’re in a suit, your productivity is the same.

Suit culture is stupid, but unfortunately prevalent in Washington, DC. I’ve worked in some of the stuffiest (no pun intended) suited workplaces in the city, including one prominent nonprofit that does polling and research named after a very rich family, Homeland Security, and also for an Armed Services contractor. All of whom serve a public that doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you are in a suit. In fact, some of these agencies could really afford to look more approachable to the public, rather than look like “a suit” or one of the Men In Black. But they all wear suits. It’s especially bad around the Pentagon and Crystal City, and of course K Street.

Suit culture is a remnant of old boy bullshit, and/or lawyer culture that has permeated other non-legal workplaces. I don’t like suits, so please don’t tell me I want to wear a suit to make you suffer in the cold. BELIEVE ME, I’d much rather be wearing a string-top bikini and flip-flops or a sarong. My metabolism is over the top from my level of activity, and I can’t cool down.

Men in suits don’t have the option of taking their clothes off if it’s too hot. And in many cases, suited employees don’t have the option of challenging the culture or hierarchy to change suit culture. I don’t want to wear a suit, but sometimes I have to in order to keep my job. You, however, can put more clothes on if you are cold.

I think the core of the issue is gender and dress norms that could really afford to be changed, particularly in Washington, DC. It gets ridiculously hot and humid here and suits are impractical. Plus we all need to look _less_ like business assholes and more like we are serving the public. Polos and kakhis, and then we can turn up the thermostat for the cold ones.

Thanks again for the donations in appreciation of content all these years. It will certainly go to a good cause – most likely rent.

In the past two weeks I have had three interviews. One was a phone interview for a major wildlife organization, the other an in-person interview for an outdoor government agency as a contractor. I haven’t heard back from these two, but summer hiring is slow when people are out on vacation. I’m very interested in both and think I did well, so we’ll see.

The third was for a content manager position with a large association where I’ve worked before. It’s work I can do, but not necessarily a step up in my career path. And it’s low-pay and temporary. And my resume is already lousy with temp experience which raises questions in interviews. But it was offered today and I took it. It puts me in a sticky situation should either of the other two jobs pan out. Plus there’s a few other federal jobs where I’ve been referred (a positive step in an otherwise dreary job application process) but those could take a long time to pan out. So in short, I start a job next week, which is a good thing.

Last weekend we went to the Water Lily & Lotus Cultural Festival at the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. It’s a neat hidden gem in the city, and if you go at the right time, you’ll see the lilies and lotus in full bloom:
The aquatic gardens are also my “territory” in the annual winter bird counts in December. It’s actually easier to see birds there in the winter, since there’s no leaves concealing them.
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
The taller, more dramatic lotus plants were almost done with their blossoms, but a few stragglers aimed to please:
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
And yesterday on my bike ride I got to see a polo match. There is a polo field just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. I had never seen horses on it until yesterday! They say they play every Thursday.
Polo Field
It was a busy week otherwise. Had a phone interview with a major wildlife federation that I’d really like to work for. Another in-person interview next week with an oceans-related organization that also sounds like a good fit. Cross yer fingers!

What a month! It was a busy Pride weekend earlier this month, and then Friday happened with the Supreme Court ruling. The mood was festive throughout the weekend.

All that said, life is good in our urban bubbles of tolerance, or so it seems. There are still workplaces out there that are hostile to LGBT employees, and you can still get fired directly or indirectly for it. A few more laws and rulings need to happen to fully protect LGBT citizens. It’s been amazing progress so far, but we still have a ways to go.

For example, I had to unfriend a cousin on Facebook. I really try to keep those with opposing viewpoints visible, as I think it helps me understand how they think. For example, I have a former coworker who is a vehement anti-vaxxer. Her posts drive me crazy, but I think it’s important to know what they think, even if the facts show they’re wrong.

But this cousin’s posts were just too much. The final straw was his post likening gays as sex offenders. If he wants to remain ignorant and scared of people who want to be open and happy, I don’t want to see that crap anymore. The lesson is that they’re still out there, and they still think stupid things.

Sooo the job as a contractor for a federal agency didn’t work out. In the end it was a mutual decision. There were weeks I thought I was going to be fired, and there were weeks I wanted to quit. A bad combination of ambiguous tasks and micromanagement was working my every nerve every day. It was telling that I was in a very good mood on my last day. Most people there liked me and were sad to see me go, but understood the reasons very well.

I may have another job lined up, this time more in tune with my environmental background. A potential temp job may also come available, which would help with the bills since I don’t get unemployment compensation. It’s a waiting game at this point, and the past few weeks have been driving me crazy.

So I booked a week’s vacation in Portland to visit the friends I made when I lived there and to visit my brother. I booked the flight during a heat wave here in DC, but it turns out the weather will be very hot when I go there this week. Go figure. Hopefully I will have a job lined up by the time I get back.

If not, July is gonna be tight. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I was considering something like GoFundMe. I’ve seen more ridiculous requests on Facebook, like funding someone’s trip to Antarctica. Since I’ve never had ads on this blog since its inception, I was thinking about some kind of donation box. Help a guy out who’s been giving you something to read at work for 15 years. What do you think? Tacky and desperate? The latter, I sort of am at this point…