Second Week: DC and Water

Water is all the rage in prospecting these days. I didn’t realize how en vogue it was, but we were all about looking for “water” prospects at U of C (if you want to know why, click here). Upon starting at BWF, I discovered that University of Chicago wasn’t the first nonprofit to enter the water game. Turns out that the scarcity of water, and natural resources in general, is a hot-ticket item for private philanthropists to get behind.

Not to take the scarcity of water worldwide lightly, but you’d never know this was the case if you were in DC this past week. Here’s what was sitting on top of DC all week:

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Welcome to our nation’s capital to me! However, since this is likely the only week between now and the end of the year that I’ll be in town for a full work week, I made the most of it. On Wednesday, I met a high school friend of mine (her name is Monica and she’s kind of awesome. Click here to see a bunch of stories she’s written for the Washington Post) for dinner after work. This was my first adventure on the Metro since I moved here, and I was proud of myself for navigating a half-mile of indoor walkways through Crystal City to get to the Metro. We had a delightful dinner (did I mention how cool my friend Monica is? She wrote a book too! Click here to take a look.), and afterwards, I headed back to the Metro stop to hop on the yellow line back to my office, where my car was parked. I navigated the Metro without incident, and even managed retracing my steps through the Crystal City walkways until I got to a door leading to the building my office is in (I think it might be Century One or Two in case you get the reference). I went to open the door, and it was locked.

I panicked.

I’ve only ever gotten to the garage from my office’s elevator lobby, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to figure out how to get to the parking garage from an outside entrance (also, see the picture above. It was pouring down rain). I walked into the lobby of a private residence next door that shares the parking garage with my office. I asked the attendant how to get to the parking garage, and she directed me down a set of stairs in the residence’s lobby. I went down to the level where my car was parked, but the residential parking area was caged off. I guess they don’t want the commercial riff-raff polluting the esteemed parking spaces of the private residences at The Buchanan. Yes, very fancy, I know. I saw a stairwell in the distance and headed towards it as fast as I could in heels. As I got closer, all I could think of was how damp and musty the parking garage was, how loud my shoes were, and how I was sure to meet my fate at the hands of The Parking Garage Killer! Of course, I was overreacting, and of course, I made it to the stairwell fine. I walked up a level and saw a sign that said “Ground,” and another sign that said “Exit at Lobby Level.” Since the sign didn’t say “Lobby,” and “Exit Here to Escape Certain Death,” I rounded the corner to head up another flight of stairs in search of the elusive “Lobby” level.

Who did I see once I turned the corner? A homeless man trying to catch some sleep. Crisis! What do I do? Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Oh, sorry!” (Presumably for invading his space?)

Him (groggily): “It’s okay. Hi. How are you?” (Certainly a reasonable opener.)

Me: “I’m fine. How are you?” (Clearly, things could be better since he’s sleeping in a concrete stairwell, but what else should I say?)

Him: “I’m good.” (Lady, you’re in my space and I want to go to bed. Please leave.)

Me: “I was just trying to find the lobby level.” (I was just trying to find the lobby level.)

Him: “I think you just passed it.” (Duh.)

Me: “Oh. Okay — thanks!” (I briefly debated pointing out the inconsistency in the sign one floor below – if I’m supposed to exit here, why not just call it the lobby level???, but ultimately I decided to save that point for this blog.)

I made it to my car, about 30 minutes past when I initially projected making it there, and drove home. In the rain. The whole way.

Thanks for a great first week, DC!

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