I have a standing Ring Game on Tuesday evenings – five or six friends and I gather to play pool, gamble a little, drink a lot, and generally bullshit about the world and its crazy human inhabitants. Cigar smoke hangs heavy in the air and the bourbon flows freely.
James, a displaced New Yawker with a fancy law firm gig and the predictable attitude and intelligence of a Jets fan, is relatively new to the group. He plays a serious game of 8-Ball, but I can usually take him at One-Pocket because he lacks the patience to grind out the plodding game. I had just sunk a sweet two rail bank shot to take the lead for good in the last game of this round when talk turned to DC versus his beloved New Yawk. James hates DC; and he used the latest weekend to escape its confines. So he was in rare form in discussing this country backwater utterly lacking in sophistication and the amenities of a modern metropolis.
I let his statements stand unchallenged though they grated against my sensibilities.
As rainbow hued balls were racked for the last round of games for the evening (straight pool short races to 25,) James launched into the women of my hometown – “money grubbing douches” were his exact words.
Civic pride and my inherent desire to stand on a soap box and tamp down an argument I find objectionable are getting hard to control.
When James said that DC’s restaurant scene “sucked,” he laid the critical straw.
“If you hate DC so much, go back to New York or any where else that will make you happy; but don’t stand around here spouting ridiculousness about a city you don’t know. If you ever traveled outside of your yuppified corners of the city, you might see a million things and people you’ve missed. The people who offend you are a bunch of khaki wearing carpet-baggers just like you. You never meet real Washingtonians because they exist outside of your myopic comfort zone. Tell me, Jimmy, when was the last time you went to the Smithsonian? Walked around Eastern Market? Ordered a drink in bar where everyone didn’t look exactly like you? Been to an art gallery, the Kennedy Center? Ate a fucking half-smoke? Have you ever had drink at F. Scott’s grave? Do you even know where Blues Alley is, or Great Falls, or the C&O? Have you ever taken a run in Rock Creek, or been to the Zoo for christsakes. Jimmy, you live in a city with great art, museums, restaurants, and culture you have just ignored. You love NYC so much, but you must love the city for the things you’ve heard you can do, not the things you actually do? Because they’re all here you just would rather complain.
“And oh yeah, of course you think all the women here are “douches;” because you’re a conceited loud-mouth prick and, if the reports from our friend Sydney are accurate, a cheap date and a lousy lay.
“So I’ll make a deal with you Jimmy. Here’s the thirty bucks I took off you tonight; that ought to buy you a Peter Pan Bus ticket to take your happy-ass back up I-95.
“I need another drink*.”