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Posts Tagged ‘Farragut Square’

I started my new job on Day 210!  It was my 285th day without work.  It felt so good to get up early and go to “my job!”  I know, most of you are vomiting right now hearing me say how happy I am to go to work on a Monday morning, but it was really true.  So far, I have been really impressed with the WWF and the people that are a part of the organization.  

Eric looks a lot like Abe Lincoln. Am I that short? Look at the angle of this photo (photo: Reed)

 

After work that day I headed over to meet an old colleague Derek at 18th and M Street.  From there we headed over to 14K Lounge for our friend Jen’s birthday party.  On our way over there we came face to face with our 16th president of the United States. 

Ok, so it wasn’t really Abraham Lincoln, although he does bear a tremendous resemblance to the tallest American president.  And he is about the same height.  Derek is 6”4” and he looked a smidgen taller than Eric (without his hat). 

Eric is a telecom engineer who has been out of work for a year.  He was staging a personal protest of sorts that afternoon against the powerful K Street lobbyist firms.  He is sickened by the amount of money that changes hands on this street in exchange for favorable consideration on governmental issues.  

As a result of him being out of work for so long he became homeless in May.  Since then he has managed by couch surfing and staying at shelters.  If your firm is looking for an engineer experienced in XML, telephony and Linux, give Eric a chance.     

He chose to save the money. 

Derek and I said goodbye and headed to the birthday party.  We didn’t mention to Eric that Derek technically is a lobbyist, but I hope that he wouldn’t dislike Derek just for that.  Because in fact Derek has a PhD in genetics and works tirelessly to educate our lawmakers in the area of preventative medicine as it relates to obesity, personalized medicine and tobacco. Hey, somebody’s got to protect us from the tobacco lobby! 

By the way, Eric does occasionally do some work as a Lincoln impersonator…I can connect you with him for that as well if you are interested.

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On Tuesday I met with my group of unemployed colleagues that meet weekly to help each other in their career search.  This was the day the AOL news report hit…my blackberry went berserk with a barrage emails and comments coming in just as I entered the meeting.  After the session, I was anxious to get back to my apartment to start responding to the comments, but I needed to find a recipient for the day.

"Emanuele" in front of a statue of David G. Farragut, a Union admiral in the American Civil War famous for rallying his fleet with the cry, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" (Photo: Reed)

I walked over to Farragut Square to see who was in the park.  It was there that I spotted an African-American man with short white hair sitting on his knees, barefoot, hunched over a park bench.   I sat down a short distance away and took a few pictures of him.  After watching him for a few minutes, I decided to approach him.

As I got close to the man I noticed that he had what looked like a scrap book or a book that you sign in on at a wedding reception.  He was entering some notes into the book.  Next to him was a small composition book, a bible, two bags, and a pair of old flip flops.  

I introduced myself and he accepted my $10.  I asked if I could ask him some questions and he became nervous and asked me to walk a few steps away from the bench to talk with him.  He spoke with an accent that made me believe that he had moved here from Africa in the last 10 or 15 years.  

We walked about 10 feet away and he explained that he couldn’t talk there because there were too many people watching and listening.  He mentioned that the park was full of CIA and others.  He suggested that I come back on another day and if he was on the west side of 17th Street, then he would be free to talk.  If he was in the park, then it would be too risky.

We walked back over to the bench.  I asked him his name and he gave me a look like, “Hey I just told you I can’t talk here” but told me that I could call him “Emanuele.”  He let me look at his book.  There were three paragraphs on the left side of the page.  I couldn’t really understand what he had written, however,  I saw a social security number and he said that that person had now been arrested based on intelligence that he had passed along.   

"Emanuele" (Photo: Reed)

We only spoke for about 10 minutes and then I left.  I didn’t get to ask him any of my normal questions that I ask, but he did offer some information.  He showed me a construction area on the northwest corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue where he explained that three buildings used to exist.  They have been torn down and construction is started on a new building complex there.  He spoke about several conflicts that the previous owners have with the city about how this was handled, however I only understood about half of what he said.  

I agreed to come back and see him when he was not being monitored in the park.

As for the $10, he said he was going to go to McDonald’s and get him a couple of cheeseburgers.

I headed back to my apartment to find almost 1,000 emails/comments from you guys!

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