Happy Fourth of July to you! If you are reading this from outside the United States, it is just another day. Here it is a day that we stop to celebrate our sovereignty that was established in 1776. Enjoy!
Day 187 was a beautiful day in Washington, but it was hot. As I walked through Dupont Circle I found Alana sitting on a bench close to the fountain listening to her iPod and reading a book while enjoying the sunshine.
A bartender for the last three years somewhere here in the DC-MD-VA area, Alana was a little reluctant to tell me too much about herself at first. But I get her to open up some. At one point she even said, “I have no secrets.”
Originally from Toa Payoh in central Singapore, in 1993 Alana left Singapore to study marketing at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. She shared a little about her initial impressions of the United States and how it was similar and different than Singapore. “Singapore is modern but people still hold on to traditions.”
She tells me that she likes reading, watching TV and playing video games. “I really like the fighting games,” she says with great enthusiasm. “Do you mean like Mortal Kombat?” I asked. “Well, that is pretty old school. Nobody plays that now,” I learn. Apparently a more hip game system is the Play Station 3. “Once in a blue moon I play a role playing game when I’m bored killing people,” she says with quiet gentle tone. I was amused by how calm she spoke about how much she enjoyed playing “killing games.”
I start to feel the sun burning my skin. Alana offers me some of her sunscreen which I readily accept.
I used to tend bar as well and always thought I got an interesting view of the nation’s economic situation through my customers. I found that people would tend to share their troubles with me, especially financial ones. She thought about it and said, “I haven’t seen that much change, maybe a little.”
“So what are you going to do with the $10,” I asked her. She took a drink of her Starbucks iced tea and seemed to think about the question some before looking over at me and saying that she would probably give it back to me. I tried to encourage her to do something else with it. She said that she would try to give it to someone else. We agreed that I would check back with her in a few days to see what happened to it. With my computer out of commission, I got behind on following up and only reached out to her yesterday. I will ask her to post what happened to it here.
I said goodbye and retreated to my air-conditioned living room a few blocks away.