DC, part one

I arrived last Monday evening into DC at about midnight, and when I opened the door to my room at the W Hotel I should have headed straight to bed. Instead, I spent an hour in the tub, a giant marble-topped wonder, and gnawed every one of my fingernails down to my knuckles. I could not get that background check off my mind. Not because I’ve ever committed a crime, but who knows what they consider suspect now? Her dad owns a gun! Her husband is descended from polygamists! HER DAUGHTER EATS NOTHING BUT CHICKEN NUGGETS.

There are government campaigns against that type of diet now. When I end up in prison for it I’m going to be all AWESOME. It’s your responsibility to feed that kid now. And when she goes four days without eating they’ll free me because FINE. THEY GET IT NOW.

That tub was just one of the many exquisite details of a hotel room that now ranks at the top of my list of best rooms away from home. I wrote about the decor for the blog at HGTV, and because this was a last minute trip I didn’t bring our good camera. All I had was my iPhone. And when I attempted regular iPhone pics they looked like crappy iPhone pics. So I used the Hipstamatic app thinking I’d go for a more artistic look. And now there exists one of the best comments ever left on something I’ve written:

Is this the ‘horror movie’ filter in Photoshop? This is ridiculous.

I don’t know why, but that comment smacked my funny bone and I haven’t stopped laughing since. God, I love the Internet.

Tuesday morning I spent several hours getting some work done, and then I spent the afternoon walking around with my iPhone snapping photos. I’ve been to DC a few times, and I always end up at the National Mall. I know, that’s not very adventurous of me, TRY SOMETHING NEW, ARMSTRONG. But that’s like saying I should eat the broccoli beef platter when my favorite dish is the coconut curry. I came here for the coconut curry, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. This way I will not leave disappointed. And look! I won’t spend the entire evening berating you!

And lo, the coconut curry was very good:

Ok. Wednesday. The big day. One thing to keep in mind: The W Hotel is about a block away from the White House, but I was going to have to walk up a block, then across the entire length of the Treasury building and the White House all the way over to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and then back down the block to the entrance. That probably makes no sense to you so here’s a diagram:

I guess I could have walked the other way, now that I look at that map. But that would have been reasonable. Whose website is this?

This kind of trek calls for sensible shoes, right? But how many times in my life am I going to be in the presence of The President of The United States? NOT VERY MANY IF EVER. In fact, the odds of ever being in his presence again are telling the notion of sensible shoes to go right ahead and suck it.

What? The tights are patriotic!

Those are five-inch platform heels by Michael Kors. Hooker shoes? Absolutely. Appropriate? Of course not. But I get the feeling that the people who invited me know EXACTLY whom they invited and are going to be disappointed if I don’t show up in a clown suit with a giant python draped around my neck.

I have worn these shoes once before, but I never left the building and took them off after only an hour. So just picture me walking along Pennsylvania Ave, my head locked forward, my eyes shooting concentrated lasers on objects fifty feet ahead, this refrain being repeated over and over in my head: DON’T DIE. DON’T DIE. DON’T DIE.

More than once a tourist would walk a little too close to me, and after wobbling and regaining my balance, I bit my lip so that I wouldn’t shout DO YOU NOT SEE THESE STUPID SHOES? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!

You guys, I made it all the way! I did it! I WALKED IN THOSE SHOES! I’m almost as proud of enduring that kind of pain as I am of giving birth without an epidural. In both instances I thought the agony would never end and that I might punch someone in the groin.

So I get there and I’m standing in line with all the other attendees, and you’re not going to believe this, but I was the only one wearing purple tights. I KNOW.

And I meet former Senators and people who work for Rudy Giuliani and someone from the Department of Labor, and then someone goes, “And you work for?”

Oh, I work for! I’m a worker! For the working! WORK to the FOR! FOOOOOOOOR!

Even though I’d been anticipating the question, I hadn’t come up with a good explanation. Because when I say, “I own a small business,” they ask, “What kind?” And I say, “The small kind!” It’s the truth!

Because when it gets to the part where I mention BLOGGER, people inevitably take a step backward as if I am covered in warts. I see it in their eyes! WHAT IS SHE GOING TO SAY ABOUT ME?! Because I think some people still associate BLOGGER with ROGUE! With WILD WEST! With THIS PERSON SPENDS HER ENTIRE DAY WITHOUT PANTS ON.

Oh, wait.

  • tiny apple

    that is so DC to automatically ask about someone’s work. i love coming up with snarky answers to that question since part-time-gov-contractor-writer-freelancer-photographer-mother-of-an-overactive-4-year-old doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.

  • freckleface

    Wow… after about 7 or 8 months of reading your blog from first post to last, I’m finally up to date as of last week and this is my first time commenting! I feel like I’m in a weird time warp, since all the events of your life from the last 9 years were compressed into the last 8 months of real time.

    If you can’t tell, I love to read your blog and I’m so happy to finally be able to tell you! I hope you burped the National Anthem for Obama!

  • manitobamama

    Heather, maybe you should have worn the cute converse sneaks (DC manhole pic) for the walk and put the Michael Kors pumps in your purse. 1/2 a block away you could have switched and no one would be the wiser! Next time! Loved the tights!

  • Sarahsitas

    I’m glad that this web site can provide you $995.00 shoes.

  • painterdoll

    Loooove the shoes and tights! Way to be yourself, even in front of the President! You are too funny and I always get a chuckle from your blog. I wonder what a mock horror-movie clip would look like in the Hipstamatic app?!

  • Jen

    Just looking at those shoes makes my feet recoil in horror. Although I have to admit I’d probably cram them into those badass shoes, too.

    Can’t wait to read the part where you humped President Obama’s leg. That happened, right?

    I read the manhole cover as “DC Slits” – which technically is the same thing as “DC Sluts”, just a little more, ahh, descriptive.

  • Audubon Ron

    Proper. You wore jack up hot rod high heel shoes to visit the President of the U.S. of A? Nothing. I’m eating Alpo with a nice béarnaise sauce. What do I know.

  • JeannieNJ

    Uh, Sarahsitas, the shoes were $165. The dress pictured underneath the shoes was $995. And anyway, who cares how much someone else pays for their shoes?

  • smithie1996

    “I guess I could have walked the other way, now that I look at that map. But that would have been reasonable. Whose website is this?”

    This part just keeps on making me laugh.

  • fathima

    mad props for walking around in those shoes…although here in DC we usually wear flats to walk and carry the heels in our bag and put them on just before we arrive at our given destination. Hence, we have the awful reputation of being the only city where you’ll find women in white tennis shoes and a suit. Forgive us.

  • s3rp3nts

    Oh, girl. Why you go the long way? At least it wasn’t, say, July. Because man… not only would your feet have KILLED but you’d've been DI(s)gustingly sweaty by the time of your arrival. Google maps next time, sister, so you can take the short route. What is that phone good for if not that, I ask you?

    @ tgaytan75: You have never found it because we hide it from tourists! I kid, I kid. So, it’s on Constitution, right, down the hill from GW and that ugly Dept of State building. If you are headed, well, downhill/south-ish, make a left off 23rd and look in the bushes on the left side of the street. Albert’s over there and he’s big enough to sit in his lap.

    But don’t go showin’ everybody else.

  • Missives From Suburbia

    Oh. My. God. I just returned two pairs of those (Nordstrom.com said they run small–they do not) yesterday, because after five minutes of walking around the house in them, I said, “NOOOOO!” And I’m usually pretty good with uber high heels.

    I bow to you. I’ll take the epidural, please. Shoes or birth, it makes no difference.

  • ledfutt

    Dooce, if there is one woman in the world (besides me) who could pull off purple tights and Hooker shoes, it is you! You do it with such grace and elegance, you make all of us Dooce lovers proud of who we are!

  • LoveAfterBabies-Emma

    Haha. Love it. I go for the chicken curry every time I order. Sometimes, I feel boring/guilty, but every time I try something new, it goes so HORRIBLY wrong.

  • jenwilson

    You look freaking amazing. And your photos? Also amazing. I say it’s more of the photographer than the equipment, although good equipment helps a bunch. Your eye for a great photo is one of my very favorites.

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of your DC trip. And also? A photo of you and the president? IS THERE ONE?!?!?

  • twhitten

    Heather I took one look at your outfit and thought of course SHE would wear that! Can I tell you the color of envy running through my veins when I saw your picture. Can I raid your closet? pretty please?

  • WarsawMommy

    Now THAT’s what I wanted to read right off after your trip to DC… glad you got your vent off your chest and have returned to your usual funny and fabulous self.

    As for the shoes? Honey, if the Almighty had meant for us to be sensible in our choice of footwear, She’d never have invented Michael Kors.

  • Stenar

    Heather, you’re the AWESOME! Great storytelling as ever. I’m surprised they let you in wearing those shoes since you could’ve used them as a weapon.

  • RestlessMama

    I want to kiss your shoes! Share?

  • Megan Ellen

    Glad not to be alone in focusing on the DC Slits ‘Man’hole cover.

    How long did some bureaucrat giggle over that one before they approved it? Probably not the same guy that decided to erect a huge phallus on the Mall, but still, nice job dude.

  • Steve O

    Just wear sandals and a toga. Perfectly appropriate for D.C.

  • sybann

    BWAAAAA! Laughing. Always. SO wish I was in your shoes (POTUS) except not those shoes. And those tights look blue to me.

  • Sailor Scorpio

    Love the purple tights! Life’s more fun with you mix them up with colors and patterns. Nude tights are boring, bland, and obsolete. ;)

    I commend you on making that trek in those shoes. My feet just cried for yours. Ouch!

  • Steve O

    So, there had to be a lot of astonished stares when you entered the room. People whispering in their partners ears and stuff while looking at you. “Who the heck . . is that????”

    . . “Oh I think she must be from Los Angeles.”

    “Is that somebody famous”????

    “WHO you work fur?”

  • ZipperCat

    You made me laugh out loud this morning – thanks! As always, you remain on my favorites tool bar :)

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Those are some seriously sexy shoes. And this post was AWESOME today. Something about it just really was the essence of Dooce and why I come here to read, day after day. Fantastic job, can’t wait to read part II.

  • Mme Verdurin

    Wow, you look like a stylish tranny in that picture! It’s the chin-hair-shoes combo, I think.

  • Becky O

    I love you. Enough said.

  • ninesandquines

    ah – but what you fail to tell us is if you 1) walked back to the hotel in those shoes or 2) took a cab or 2) took them off and walked in just your tights :-) love the outfit!!!

  • Abbykins

    You funny lady!! :)

    Those shoes are KICK ASS! Rock it out!

  • Circe74

    I just want to say that while I work for one of the most well-known international organizations in the world, I’m a full-time telecommuter, and sometimes that’s treated as though, “Oh, so you work, what, an hour or two a day? When it’s CONVENIENT?” People don’t realize that when you work from home, you are ALWAYS in the office. You never get to be stuck in traffic. You never get to have forgotten a file in the office. You don’t even get to get out of the office for lunch. Because you LIVE in the office.

    So, I’m thrilled that you were invited to this summit. Because whether you work for yourself or work for a huge corporation, “working from home” needs to get more respect, and people need to learn that there are just as many cons as there are pros. Sure, you’re going to find some slacker who telecommutes and uses it to play World of Warcraft all day… but you’d find those in a cubicle farm, too.

    Granted, I only have one dog at home with me, and no kids, and no husband. So I think your ability to stay focused on your work deserves MAJOR props.

  • doobrah

    Good gawd — those must be outtakes from “Most Haunted Visits D.C.” Absolutely looks like the horror movie treatment. Now we need a closeup of the shoes with tights. And not in horror-movie guise.

  • Fifi Coon

    Those are the cutest shoes I have ever seen!!! Thanks for going to DC and being who you are. There are lots of us out here that agree with you and your opinions. Yes, even here in Utah there are some of us that totally agree with you!! Keep up the good work!

  • mom interrupted

    A wise woman always knows the right shoes can be a weapon. Can’t wait to hear more of the story. BTW-Those shoes totally rock!

  • stealingsand

    In case 1000 people haven’t told you this – try the BlacKeys Ultrachrome B&W or the BlacKeys Super Grain B&W films in Hipstamatic :D

  • Angeerah

    The tights! The tights! I love colorful tights! But those shoes, they would have been in my hand within on block of walking and I’d be in my stocking feet like some sort of Saks Fifth Ave refugee.

  • bubbles

    Oh my! I just linked over to Design Happens and read your post and the accompanying comments. I know you’ve written about the hate before, and I’m sure that those don’t even approach what you’re used to seeing, but holy shit! what is wrong with people!

    I can’t believe how courageous you are to keep putting yourself out there in the face of so much absurd negativity! I would have a nervous breakdown.

    To the haters: seriously, there is war and poverty and all kinds of atrocities in the world greater than using your iphone to take pictures. Get. Some. Perspective.

  • TexasKatie

    Yeah, totally not fair to stop telling the story. WHAT HAPPENED? Is there a LINK to this conference? I want to see you talking to MICHELLE OBAMA!!!

  • cherylsmith75

    Oh, honey. I love you, but that outfit for the White House made me cringe.

  • maychia

    As a DC resident – I have got to give it to you for picking up on two of my major DC peeves in the 48 hours that you were here.

    1) The “What do you do/Who do you work for” question. Apparently in this city, having a personality and an identity separate from your job isn’t good enough.

    2) THOSE TOURISTS who don’t know how to WALK!

    I had to watch part of the Forum for work but had to miss the breakout sessions for an appointment – still looking forward to catching up on the archives!

    Otherwise – glad you had a good visit here, we’ve got good stuff to offer too. And kudos to walking in those shoes! I would have just worn my bright red crocs (can you imagine that color combination with your tights???) and swapped before going inside. That’s what the oversized purses are for. :)

  • NCMelissaB

    I keep a pair of footzyrolls in my bag. They are little rollable ballet flats. I think you can find them at Bloomie’s now. (Sorry if someone already mentioned this, I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments).

    Looking forward to reading more about your trip!

  • megrit411

    Seriously, those shoes are awesome. There’s a possibility if I were walking past you in D.C. I would’ve knocked you over, ripped them off your feet and made a break for it. Lucky for you I live in Michigan.

    I’m beyond impressed you rocked out amazing shoes and kick ass tights when going to meet the POTUS. I’m sure he’ll remember you. Suit, suit, skirt, suit, suit, Kickass Shoes and Purple Tights?!? Hell yeah!

  • Bentforkz

    Hey there Wondrous Being of Light and Splendor,

    Just curious about the filter or technique you are using to enhance the pics in this posting. Is this a secret you could share?

  • mommica

    So, I caught part of the forum, but haven’t had the chance to watch the rest yet, and I just have to know: Did you tell them that we should ALL be able to work without pants? If not, FAILED.

  • ordinarygirl

    Part 2! Where is part 2?!

  • acm

    I think you just need an answer that means “blogger” without using that (politics-freighted) word. Something like either “I babble for the Internets” or “I write, mostly navel-gazey things for an online audience/publication,” depending on the seriousness of the setting. Heck, what you do isn’t that different from a lot of syndicated Lifestyle columnists, so you could say “I write an online column” as a first approximation, and then follow it with more explanation as needed…

  • mybottlesup

    “associate BLOGGER with ROGUE.” ROFLMAO!!!! it’s funny cuz it’s true.

  • ButtercupDC

    I understand your nervousness. Everyone wants to be valedictorian of background checks.

  • Geeg

    tgaytan75 – the Einstein statute ROCKS! It’s at 21st and Constitution (sort of hidden a little from the street, north side of Constitution).

    As for me, I live here and still can’t figure out what the hell the White House Athletic Center is on the Dead Woman Walking Map. Last time I checked, there is just grass there… maybe Heather discovered a super secret underground gym?

  • XOXO

    I am silently sobbing in my office from the general hilarity. If I could close the door and guffaw, I totally would.

    As it is, I love you, Heather! I’m having a hell of a day and needed a dose of Dooce.

    Cheers, love!