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Last night, I found myself at Drink & Walk, a weekly happy hour populated largely by locals who self-identify as “poets.” (“What do you do?” I asked one Drink & Walker. “I am a poet,” he replied. There was a long pause. “I also work as a system programmer.”)
This week, Drink & Walk was held at Tenleytown’s Cafe Olé. I arrived and ordered a Yuengling served in a glass so cold that a curved chip of ice frozen to its bottom rendered the glass wobbly, and prevented me from setting it flat upon the table. A man sat beside me as I attempted to manage the glass’s steady drip.
“Is this the first fall meeting of the D.C. poets?” the man asked, in a lilting British accent.
“Uhhh,” I said, wincing slightly at the question. “I guess so.” The man seemed satisfied. “What’s your name?” I asked him.
“They call me Antony,” the man said.
“But what is your name?” I asked.
“They call me Antony,” he repeated. “Tell me about this beer,” he continued. He pointed to my bottle of Yeungling. “The Chinese have a history of making a German beer.”
“This beer is made in Pennsylvania,” I explained.
“Why did you choose this beer?” he asked.
“This is the cheapest beer they have,” I replied. “I don’t make much money and my job security is low.”
“What do you do?” Antony asked.
I told him about my job at the Washington City Paper.
“The Washington Street Paper?” he replied. “I will have to pick up a copy.”
“The Washington City Paper,” I corrected him. “It is the alternative weekly paper.”
“Ah, I see,” Antony said. “My alternative paper of choice is the Northwest Current.”
The chip of ice released from my glass and fell to the ground.
“I’m afraid I forgot to ask your name,” Antony said.
“They call me Amanda,” I replied.
The man’s wife approached. “Oh, you must excuse Antony,” the woman hushed to me. “Antony is English.”