Friday, March 25, 2016

Please Step Back and Allow the Doors to Close (A Year in the City)

Well this one was interesting to say the least!

I'd like to preface this story by saying I TRIED to be early to work all week and fate was not having it...

Wednesday  morning and I was riding high! I got my coffee on point, got the puppy situated and got ready in record time. Out the door to the Reston metro! It was like the seas parted and all traffic on 28 just disappeared. I ended up getting to the station 30 minutes early and got a prime parking spot. Little miracles, right?

So I get downtown to Metro Center and switch to the Red Line for the last two stops of my commute. I could practically smell the Panera bagels from here! We pile into the car and set off into the tunnel. Not too long in, the train came to a screeching halt, knocking us about.

For quite a while no one popped onto the loudspeaker. Finally, the female train operator in a calm but shaky tone said, "one of the doors on the train is not fully closed. If this is a door by you please help  me close it so the train can move forward." Naturally, we all started looking around. I was a the far end of the second to last car. Behind me at the other end I can see a door partially open on the left side. And everyone was just staring at it like it was a roach on the wall. Silent horror. Yet, no one around it attempted to close it. Once again the operator came on asking for help closing the door. She didn't know which one it was. "This train cannot and will not move until all the doors are closed!"

Nothing happened. I debate pushing through the packed car to the door, but chicken out. I'd be the ONE person who tries to help and falls out onto the third rail, turning themselves into a human piece of bacon.

So after a few minutes of silence, I catch sight of the train operator. The poor woman was having to walk through the pile of people in each car, checking every. single. door on her way through. She finally gets into our car and heads for the failed door. It only took a minute or two for the small, robust woman to yank the door closed. I could hear passengers snicker about how ridiculous this was. Which of course made me want to haul back and slap them. It wasn't her fault that the cars are as old as the Concord's first flight (40 years, for those wondering). I now regret not trying to get to the door.

She sighed and moved back through each car. After a few more minutes we started moving again. The whole event took about 30 minutes. We crawl our way to Farragut North and as expected, the train was placed out of service and we all had to disembark.

Begrudgingly, we filed out and stood on the already crowded platform, waiting for the disabled train to limp away and the next one (full of people) to arrive, so we could fight for a spot.

It's at this point that I notice a younger guy who was in the car next to me sort of staring at me.
Internally: Oh great, he's fat gawking. Oh shit, are my boobs falling out? Nope. Do I have food on my face? I haven't eaten yet today. Oooh, bagels. WHY IS HE STARING?!
Externally: "What a mess."  I look away in hopes that he saw he was being a little creepy. Nope. Didn't work.

"Sooo... you going far?" he asked with a smile.
"Nope. Just to the next station. Dupont."
"Oh, well you look important. Do you work for a law firm?"
"HA! Nope. Research organization," I snorted and looked back into the disabled car.

It's at this point that I see a guy shout "This is bullshit!" and run back into the disabled train car. Like he was actually going to go somewhere. I rolled my eyes. About two seconds later, Metro PD came and pulled the guy out. It's about this time, some older lady standing near them on the platform slumps down to the ground. She probably panicked with the stuff that happened in Brussels, and now some douchebag is making a scene while we are all trapped.

A few minutes later, a group of EMTs shows up, even though she is back on her feet and reassuring all that she was fine. During this time, Rico Suave' is still chatting me up. It's now that it dawns on me... "Holy shit, he's hitting on me. NOW!?" 

"I'm Javier by the way." He reaches for a handshake.

"Hi. Meg." I wave awkwardly and politely turn to the guy on my other side and say, "Does the metro board have any ETAs on it?" Internally: SAVE ME DUDE! COME ON!

(This guy is cracking up over Javier's advances, by the way). "Not right now." He looks back down at his phone.

Failure. I sigh and turn back to the broken car, considering running in myself and getting escorted away by Metro PD. At least that's a simple way out of this.

He whips out his business card and in an attempted charismatic gesture, holds it up to me. With a grin, "Here's my card. You are very interesting to talk to. I'd love to keep in touch. Do you  have a card?"

Again, snorting, "Nope. I have 5,000 at work but never any on me." I look away again.

"How about your  number then?"

I crack up laughing. "HA! You are NOT getting my number dude. I don't know you like that." (a bold response coming from me).

It's at this point he whips out his phone and thrusts it into my hands. Add me on Facebook. You can search yourself." (Thanks homie, I know how social media works). "Oh, that's flattering but I have a boyfriend soo..."

"Oh, no worries, I just want to be your friend!"

Internal eye roll*

I see that he's pulled up all the "Megs" on FB and I point to some random girl (sorry random Meg) and say, "There I am! Welp I'm going to walk, this is taking forever. Good luck getting to work!"

As I slink away he calls out "Do you want company?"

"Naw bud, I'm good."

I waddle my fat ass upstairs and outside ASAP.

So much for Panera. I frown. I wander into a CVS and get some food. When I leave to walk to work (now 45 minutes late), I see a wall of tourists just stopped in place on the sidewalk, staring at the road with phones and cameras in hand.

Internally: Great, someone blew up the city. This is how we died. 

I peer over the crowd and spot the Joe Biden parade. By this I mean it's a police motorcade of at least 12 cars/cycles, 4 black sedans, 3 black SUVs and a few straggling police cars. They were hauling ass back to the White House from Dupont. VP Joe probably wanted a donut from Krispy Kreme and took out the whole crew. Must be a fascinating sight for those not used to it. But I was late and needed people to move the FUCK OVER.

Happy Meg disappeared somewhere between Metro Center and Farragut, in the depths of DC Hell.

I finally sneak through the crowd of cherry blossom tourists and get to work. So now I can get the day started...


Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015: The Year of Change

As one who is wildly averse to change, I found 2015 to be refreshing and positive overall... and it was chock full of change!

So as I sit here, I wanted to take a moment to review what's happened and what is ahead.

The winter of 2015 saw a very stressed Meg. It was the final stretch of my dissertation before defending on April 2nd. At the same time I started house hunting and  job hunting. There were many sleepless nights of writing, looking on Zillow and Higher Ed and crying over the uncertainty. I did over 30 interviews and filled out over 100 applications.

But it paid off. I successfully defended before the deadline for Spring.
The girls in the office at GMU had a surprise celebration for me after the defense. I didn't want ANYONE to come to the defense itself, for fear of looking foolish. But I welcomed the well wishes (and chocolate cake) after. :) And then there was the job hunting still looming over me...

May 16th, I officially became Dr. Megan Tucker. BOOM! I got hooded by my advisor, Dr. Todd Rose, in front of my Dad, Mom, Rob and Val, and my best friend, Kristen. I cried. It was a whole thing. But I made it to my goal, which was to have my PhD before my 30th birthday. There was no other motivation behind that date, then to push me to not wait or take too long to finish. It worked.

June 1st, I started my new job at the National Communication Association in Washington, D.C. I am the project manager for the Learning Outcomes in Communication research until September, 2016. It's a bummer that it's only a temporary position, but my God, what an opportunity!!! Plus I get to work with LaKesha. We share an office, so the hilarity ensues. ;) I couldn't say no to it. I still teach part-time at GMU and NVCC, because Lord knows I can't go a semester without teaching! That would be ridiculous.

And I got to see my two favorite bands on tour again: Breaking Benjamin and Shinedown. And it was magical :)

August 2nd, Joe moved!! It happened my friends. It took 5 years, but the stars finally aligned and Joe moved in with us. Being crammed in the apartment with three grown people was a rough way to start it all off, but he took it well and the growing pains subsided pretty quickly. Plus we were about to upgrade...

August 24th, I turned 30. Yup. It happened. I'm old now. All my joints ache all the time. But, it was a wonderful day and SO many friends came to celebrate!!!


August 28th, I closed on a house. I KNOW, RIGHT!? I bought a house! Well... dad helped me a LOT. In fact, most of the down payment was early inheritance from him, so without him I'd still be in an apartment. But nonetheless, I am now a homeowner of a 2,000sq/ft townhouse in Centreville. It's not perfect, but it is wonderful, and a good project for me as a first time homeowner. I am quickly learning all of the intricacies of owning over renting, and what responsibilities come with it. But every evening after work, when I pull into my parking spot, I am still shocked that it's mine. I want to keep it looking nice, so I've also started throwing things away (a big deal for a pack rat), and trying to "adultify" my furnishings. It's a slow process, but I'm getting there.

September 1st, was my last day as an advisor at GMU. This was one of the bleak spots of the year. I truly miss advising. Hell, I miss spending all day at Mason with the girls. -_- Don't get me wrong, I love my new job and the pay that comes with it, but it definitely was a big change. If I could be an advisor again I would jump at the chance. It was so fulfilling! I miss you Cathy, Maria, Lisa, Britt and work studies!!!!

November was a big travel month because of the convention for NCA in Vegas. So I got to finally spend some time there and see Sin City from more than just an airplane window. But better than that was that LaKesha, Kris and I rented a car and drove to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam! Two bucket list items checked off! And it was breathtaking... and breathtakingly cold. But super worth it. Also, I got to host my first Thanksgiving at my house a week later! Mom flew up from Florida, and Care, Jamey and Vicki drove down from Pennsylvania. :)

December 2015, I not only saw Kristen get hooded for her PhD, but I also got to spend a lot of time with family. I was lucky enough to see Mom, Dad, Joe and Care over the holiday, where usually I'd have to choose who to see and who to apologize to.

To cap off the year I got to spend New Year's Eve with Joe, Mom, Cathy and John. We  played games until the ball dropped and set off firecrackers after midnight. And I FINALLY got a New Year's kiss. <3 nbsp="" p="">

So what's next? I want to spend this year improving myself. Specifically my financial  health and my physical health. I need to save more and pay off debts. I want to be strict with my budget and keep improving the house. Also with any resolution, I want to lose some of this weight and start living healthier. I've always had the PhD as a crutch for not taking care of myself, and now there is no excuse. I need to get back to being energetic and proud of the way I look. Not perfect, but enough that I don't scoff at myself in the mirror every day. And of course, since my contract at NCA ends in September, I'm already back on the job market. So the hunt is on again... but this time I feel more confident.

Cheers to 2016 my loves. And thank you for all the help along the way!