So last night I was walking in Tenleytown up to the metro station. Walked by the fire department, where a bunch of firefighters were casually slumping over some benches and chairs they have out front of their station, lazily enjoying the quiet, delicately cool summer evening, talking about their families, not expecting any emergency calls.
Then across the street at the Z-Burger, I could see past its facade of red glowing ambient lights into the kitchen area, where a cook dressed in white with an old-style 50’s-era burger shop hat was busy scraping down the grills before turning out the lights. It looked like that Edward Hopper painting, but from the other side of the street looking back into the kitchen.
Up the road from that a bit was a night construction crew, jacking and plowing away at a parcel of the road, bathed in working lights that are so bright it looks like daytime. The construction workers wore their neon-green safety aprons but it was too loud for them to converse, so they focused on their jobs instead.
Across the street, next to a 24-hour snack shop, a bunch of Diamond cab drivers were resting against the hood of a taxi, shooting the shit while waiting for the dispatch to give them their next fare.
Quite an eclectic mix of professions and backgrounds, but all working class and making the best of what has been a pretty tolerable DC summer. It all reminded me of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, which extensively describes the different people responsible for the sleepy town’s commerce and personality.
This was all well and good until I saw a crazy (probably drunk) guy cross the street in front of me into traffic, then make threatening gestures towards a solitary American University female student and then a group of young people further down the street.
So my quiet night was almost disturbed by having to bolt across the street and tackle a guy.
Such can be DC.