17 October, 2008

Life through a Wodehouse lens

I shouldn't entertain any grand delusions about being a radiant, liberating injection of life, strewing joy and good will from my rickety mail cart as I promenade through the halls of a silent, industrious law firm. That said, I do my very best to smile and say "Good morning" to each individual as I hand them their phone bills, files from the Palo Alto office, and back issues of the lawyers' gossip rag. This greeting usually receives some type of muted response (at least a grunt, if the speaker can't look away from the computer for a nanosecond). But even if it doesn't - even if the impression they are forming of me is not one of a cheerfully efficient marvel but rather of an immature airheaded drip - I have decided not to care [too much]. I mean, really. Do we have to act like we're as starched as our pin-striped shirts? I cannot sacrifice humanity and community to professionalism. So, have a great day, darn it!

I think some things about DC might make it seem like an unvaried and boring city to some people. Take its skyline, for instance.
"......What skyline?" you ask.
Exactly.
Most major cities have a visually interesting skyline with which they can emblazon postcards, t-shirts, and Starbucks mugs. DC's fine souvenir establishments must simply feature the White House, or the Capitol, or the Washington Monument (or, if they're feeling creative, cluster them all together, surrounded by a wreath of fireworks). "Why do we have such a flat city?" was the question I pondered intelligently as I ate lunch on the roof (13th floor) and realized that I could see Virginia. The state. Across the bally Potomac. From the bally 13th floor.

Apparently there is a law in place which prohibits buildings in DC to be no taller than 20 feet higher than the width of the adjacent street (consult Wikipedia for an entirely credible history of the Height of Buildings Act). Perhaps this is to give security guards at the Capitol a good vantage point. Perhaps they were watching me eat my questionable "chicken salad" sandwich today.

I don't really mind short buildings, honestly. Skyscrapers can make one feel rather caged. DC is not a very intimidating city, architecturally speaking. Certain of its lawyers, however.......

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent!
Dad

Peter said...

I couldn't help but laugh at your description of yourself as a "cheerfully efficient marvel." That's really quite an excellent phrase.