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An Alien World

January 26, 2007

Good afternoon, all. I wondered for a while what I was doing with this blog, safe and sound in the ivory tower of GW (although living down the street from Ivory Tower, the dorm itself), until today happened.

A word on today in a moment. First let me explain the new (and possibly improved?) nature of this blog. On January 20, I started a project that among the internet creatives (those Flickr artists and Found Object types that I often find myself in league with) is called Project 365. It’s simple: Take a photo every day for a year. That’s it.

For those who would like to play along, here’s the link, and here’s my findings so far:

And this is the story of today’s photo:
January 26, 2007

Since I’ve been back in DC, most of my free time has been in search of internship/job. With graduation now a recognizeable speck on the horizon, self-applied pressure meant I had to do something now;. For the second year, I’m applying to NPR, so I put on my new work pants, reminded myself what was on my resume and took the Metro to Chinatown.

I had some interesting conversations with NPR folks, but then I walked over to the member stations and talked to them.

“What music do you like?” They asked. The interminable question. I honestly can’t think of one artist, plus the introduction had told me that this station oozed of indie cred, and would not take lightly to pop music references. Finally, I simply took out my iPod, set it to artists and handed it over the table. There were nods of consent, and after a few more questions, I thanked them and left the table.

I should note previously, people had been giving me weird looks. I started to suppose that I was imagining this, until one of the indie radio station’s employees walked up to me and said “I probably should have told you this earlier, but your tag is sticking out of your shirt. It was the tag from the store, complete with extra thread and button, and it had been hanging from behind my hair for twenty minutes.

I ripped the tag off and made a calm exit (no need attracting anymore attention), breaking out into laughter as I stepped out into the cold of Massachusetts Ave. On my way back to my dorm (walk, two Metro lines, walk) the following things happened:

a.) A man in an automatic wheelchair ran over my shoe, forcing me to walk one-foot barefoot across H Street, lest I be run over by cars and shoeless.

b.) There was a piece of inspirational poetry on the side of a streetlamp.

c.) A man dragged a heavy bag across Metro Center, a woman ran up to, if nothing else, attach a strap to the bag, so it didn’t clink along

d.) As I was passing out of the turnstyles at the GW metro station, three people who knew each other met by chance.

I thought about Cairo, if it had changed me. In discussions with other people (well, Teresa), I’d began to think that it hadn’t. In truth, DC seemed strange to me again – because I was more in tune with people who were not me, and so a whole city that I had once thought I had down was weird and bizarre and coming up the escalator I felt like anything could (and indeed would) happen at that moment. Without realizing it, I had opened up my wallet and was fishing out a dollar bill, because I knew what picture I wanted to take for today. Each day’s picture, I had decided, should reflect the story of that day, even if it was a picture of my food or what book I was reading. And the conclusion of my trip back from NPR and what such a silly moment had created in my mind, the man playing the flute (half-decently, I played flute and piccolo in high school) at the top of the Metro was the right picture.

Who knows what the right picture is really, or if I’m not forcing the day into some predetermined idea of my own. But after I sat down at the end of last year to think of what happened, and had a serious memory gap, the need to document gets even stronger.

So sometimes I’ll be posting my photo o’ the day here (always with the 1000 or so words behind it) , sometimes I’ll be mentioning something odd I found from school, relating the insanity of living in such a bizarre city. Also in March, I’ll be heading to Ireland to visit friends studying there. Please do talk through comments, so I can understand what’s going on with other, similarly bizarre lives.

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