ideal day in bethesda, yuppie overeducated capital of the midatlantic:
begin at mustard seed. you remember this 2nd-and paradise from back when it was dinky and window-less, supported by a cult following willing to seek it out in that ugly shopping mall next to Honeybaked Ham and Iran Books. it stands proudly on its own on wisconsin avenue, with mannequins for eyes, now, and it bustles. say hi to the owner, a strange midly-bitter woman who knows you by name and who has made casual reference to a past pockmarked with an eating disorder and a present that features a cat. she once expressed jealousy at your closeness to your friends. they also shop there compulsively.
they're not there today, however. you try things on and decide to take a shiny skirt that could be considered pink and a terrific vintage ketchup-colored dress. at the register, the girl ringing you up grins and hollers to the owner, "see?" turning back to you:
she: [the owner] didn't want to take this. but i think it's great. it's, like, scandinavian.
you: hey, maybe that's why i like it. i thought it looked like a tripped out alice in wonderland.
she: no it doesn't. no. ... it looks scandinavian.
owner smiles thinly at you as you leave, folding up your coat because the sun makes it unneccessary and tucking it in the bag next to the acid alice piece. walk to bethesda row, choke slightly at paying the $9, and buy a ticket for habla con ella. buy a diet coke at the new giant and hide it in your bag before the show starts. mmmm, the show. cry. ignore the old people whispering plot details loudly to each other. feel slightly creeped out by the ending and want to talk about it with someone.
last, hop over to secondstory books and zero immediately in on a vhs copy of wonder boys. pick up a cheap white noise while you're at it, reading the back impatiently, perfunctorily, before walking it to the register. return to the sunlight and stand, head high, waiting for your chariot to appear.
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