Friday, February 20, 2015

Glass Half Full Always

Well, this is turning out to be way more of a day than I anticipated.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up to find that I had no water. After all, it was ridiculously cold last night and I hadn't left a faucet dripping. In my defense, my landlord had long ago told me that in all his years of owning this south-facing building, pipes had never frozen.

So I got on the horn and told him my dilemma and he was as surprised as I was. The good news was that I still had water coming out in my washing machine in the basement. That seemed like a good sign to him.

He was over in a flash, setting up a powerful heater in the hallway that leads upstairs to my apartment (where you could see your breath) because all the pipes are just behind the hallway wall. Still, he was scratching his head over why this had happened.

It was only when he checked with the guys downstairs, a trio of VCU students, that he found his answer. Thinking they could save money, they'd set their thermostat to 52. The idiocy of such a maneuver in below zero weather boggles the mind, or at least mine and my landlord's. Of course the pipes had frozen.

Don't get me wrong, I try as hard as anyone to save money on heating and keep mine set on 64, which means I wear four layers in the house in this weather. But 52, guys? Don't ever tell anyone that your Mamas didn't raise no fools because they did.

So with their and my heat cranked to tropical temperatures and the heater in the hall doing a slow thaw of the plumbing wall, I set out on my walk. I could almost stand the 17-degree temps (although with the wind, it feels like 8 degrees) if it weren't for still having to walk on ice patches and piles of snow on the sidewalks.

Because of that, I was amazed when I got near The National and saw people sitting on the sidewalk bundled up in blankets. They were young, pierced and had the look of the devoted. I had to know what band was worth sidewalk-sitting in this kind of cold.

The answer: Pierce the Veil, a post-hardcore band that's playing tonight. One green-haired guy shrugged and told me, "I don't even know the band. I'm just here 'cause of my friends," and gestured at two girls next to him, one with a nose ring eating a sandwich and the other with purple hair. "Besides, I'm from Ohio."

And in Ohio you sit on ice-encrusted sidewalks on 8-degree days? Wow, you are hardcore.

The other big cultural doin's on Broad Street was at the federal courthouse where TV trucks took up every available space. No surprise because the former First Lady was being sentenced today for her part in selling the prestige of the governor's office.

Approaching the corner, I saw a man being interviewed about it and I learned she'd gotten a year. As I waited for the light, I eavesdropped on his answers, which amounted to his belief that the jury (not him) had heard all the evidence and must have made the right choice.

As he was spelling his name for the camera, the light changed and I started across. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my elbow and the newsman was calling me back, insisting I give my opinion for the camera.

Never one to be shy about what I think, I said I thought she deserved jail time. She'd broken the law repeatedly and for that, we punish people.

He told me that at the sentencing, her daughter had asked for leniency because she had been humiliated enough already. "Do you think she's been shamed enough?" he asked me.

"Would you be asking me that if she were black or not the governor's wife?" I asked him, a black man. He paused and tilted his head. Part of what's wrong with our society these days is not holding people accountable for what they do. Yes, I said that on camera.

I mentioned a conversation I'd had with a stranger earlier on my walk when I'd first spotted the TV trucks. The older man had said that he thought she was "grabby" and that was her downfall. I told the camera that I agreed with him on that. From the trial accounts I followed avidly in the newspapers, it seemed clear that she was a woman who wanted things and accepted gifts with no concern for the legality of it.

Of course they wanted my name at the end of the interview ("Like fig?") and I wanted to know who they were with (NBC). Once the camera was off, the newsman thanked me for agreeing to talk. "You're well-spoken and you raised some important points," he said.

Whether that was true or not, I surely was unrecognizable, buried in a hat, multiple scarves and my warmest coat, blathering about my opinion on jail time for a former Redskins' cheerleader.

Some days, that might have been the highlight of my day. Today, that peak moment will arrive once the pipes thaw and I have water again.

In the meantime, it's toasty warm in my apartment for a change and I'm not headed to jail. Good times.

1 comment: