It’s a DC Thing

My friend Melaku and I rode with Tyrell (not real name) back to Alexandria from Washington DC.  He picked us up near the historic Howard Theatre and we had a good conversation on the way back about DC things – Ethiopian food, Gogo music, etc. 

Tyrell: What have you been up to tonight?

Bryan: We just had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant.  Do you like Ethiopian food?

Tyrell:  (shakes head) Man, I don’t know about Ethiopian food.  Someone brought it to a party a long time ago and I didn’t like it very much.

Bryan: Give it a try sometime. The only food we have in Washington DC that other cities don’t is Ethiopian food and half-smoke hot dogs.  Do you live in DC?

Tyrell:  I grew up here in the city and would never leave.

Bryan: What neighborhood do you live in?

Tyrell:  I live in Greenbelt (Maryland)

Bryan:  Wait – so you did leave the city then?

Tyrell:   Well, yeah, but I stayed in the area.  

Bryan:  You’ve seen lots of changes.  Did you grow up listening to gogo music?

Melaku:  What’s gogo music? I have no idea what that is.  

Tyrell:  What?!  You don’t know what gogo music is? (puts in a CD and the gogo starts pumping)

Melaku:  Hey, I like this music. I’ve heard it but I didn’t know what it was.

Bryan:  Gogo goes right from one song into the next so no one gets tired.  Not that many places left that have gogo concerts though.

Tyrell:  The last really good gogo concert I saw was at the Lincoln Theater many years ago.  But before that you could listen to gogo anywhere – I saw a lot of concerts at schools.

Bryan:  Chuck Brown’s gone but his band is still playing.  Melaku, you should check them out sometime. 

Tyrell:  Yeah but it isn’t the same without Chuck.  He was one of a kind.

Bryan:  Have passengers done anything strange when you have been driving?

Tyrell:  All the time. This one guy was pretty drunk and when I stopped at his destination, he ran away from the car really fast like he wasn’t going to pay – guess he forgot he was taking Lyft and his credit card was going to get charged anyways.

(Melaku gets out at his place) 

Bryan: Where do you hang out in Greenbelt?

Tyrell:  We’ve got this one place I like…I forget the name…something with “book” in it.  Man, this is really bothering me that I can’t remember.  Hold on.

Tyrell: (grabs phone)  WIFE!

Phone: Calling Wife!

Wife: Hello? What’s up baby?

Tyrell:  What’s the name of that place we like to hang out? Book something?

Wife:  You mean Busboys and Poets?

Tyrell:  Yeah, that’s right.  Thanks!  (hangs up)

Tyrell:  Busboys and Poets is the best place.  They’ve got music, poetry, good food.  We also go out for karaoke. You like karaoke?

Bryan:  I never used to appreciate it until I did karaoke with Japanese friends.  Then I understood it better.  It’s about locking yourself in a room, blowing off steam, having a good time, and then getting yourself back together and heading back into society for another week.  It helps when there is an understanding though that nobody makes fun of each other for bad singing.  If we were good singers, we wouldn’t need karaoke right? 

Tyrell:  Yeah, but there’s always that one guy who makes fun.  We have a good time though. You married?

Bryan:  Yes, since November. How long have you been married?

Tyrell:  I’m 54 now and we got married when I was 18 and we had a child.  We’ve been through a lot together. Getting married and having a family calms a man down.  When I was young, I ran with the wrong crowd.  Having a wife and a kid changed me.  It could have turned out different without them.  My daughter is really smart and she is completing her college education.  We almost had a son too but he was stillborn.  That was really hard.  But I’m glad to have my wife and daughter.  Seriously though, you should have some kids.  

Bryan:  I think that would be nice. We’ll see what happens.