Iced Coffee

September 19, 2008

This morning as I exited the Crystal City Metro stop on my way to work, I immediately found myself surrounded by a large number of relatively attractive young ladies.  No, it wasn’t the new pink shirt I was wearing (more on that in a future posting), they were simply there promoting some new product.  The most visible thing about these women was that they were all wearing oversized shirts that said ‘change’ on the front in big bold letters.  My first assumption was that they were there on behalf of the Obama campaign, as I had seen at other Metro stops.  Having already registered to vote and not needing to hear about politics first thing in the morning, I ignored the sirens’ call and continued on my way towards my office.  It was not until I had walked about five minutes that I realized that the last of the vixens to have spoken to me before I crossed the street had asked if I wanted a free iced coffee.  I wouldn’t say this stopped me dead in my tracks, but it did set off a cascading flow of questions such as ‘was I really that oblivious to things occurring around me?,’ ‘If so, was I oblivious by choice or by accident?,’ and if I was oblivious by choice, then that would certainly qualify me as the type of self-important Washington DC contractor who delights in tuning out the pleasantries of the world in the interest of maintaining a façade of aloofness to all things not directly related to fulfilling my clients’ needs.  (If that sounds like a description of a prostitute, well…)  It took my mind about two minutes to process these ideas, at which point I began to wonder whether or not I should turn around, strap myself to the mast and return to that mythical isle so that I could lay claim to the Iced Coffee I now so desperately craved.  It was at this point that I had another thought, one which immediately caused me to stop dead in my tracks, check my watch, and promptly turn back towards the Metro. 
        Not too long ago, Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post wrote an article about people getting off the Metro and walking past a world famous violin player performing at the Metro entrance but disguised as a hobo.  The main point of the article was that people can’t recognize beauty unless it is properly packaged, but the underlying message is that all Washington DC employees are so deluded by their own sense of self-worth that they can’t even sense a good deal when it’s right in front of them.  I knew at this point that I would have no choice but to turn around, bravely march back, and demand my free iced coffee.  Within about 7 minutes I had returned to the Metro and found to my delight that the ladies of the morning where still plying their trade upon unsuspecting commuters.  I noted with even further delight that no one else was stopping to retrieve their free iced coffee.  I proudly walked up to the closest woman, figuratively lowered my metaphorical window, and proudly asked if I may have a free iced coffee, to which she immediately replied, “I’m sorry, we’re all out.”  Disheartened and feeling utterly stupid for having blown an opportunity for free iced coffee, yet feeling strangely smug at having made it a point to turn around and redeem myself in both my eyes and those of Gene Weingarten, I continued on to my office, where I immediately went to the local convenience store and purchased what my ego had prevented me from acquiring for free.  It was delicious.



  1. As a big F you from the universe, Joshua Bell probably NEVER pays for HIS iced coffees. (He was the famous violin player no one noticed.)

  2. Seriously? Joshua Bell dressed up like a hobo and played at a metro stop? Genius!

    Sorry you had to fork out the money for your iced coffee. However, you were wearing the awesome pink shirt – and that has to count for something.

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