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Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

Last Monday was absolutely beautiful.  I met up with a journalist who wanted to follow me around while I gave out my $10.

We met at Union Station and walked over to the Capitol.  I answered questions on camera while we walked around the Capitol grounds.  As we were walking I saw a woman about 50 yards off the path who had an easel set up and was drawing the dome of the Capitol Rotunda.  I made my way across the grass and introduced myself to Janet.

Janet sketching the Capitol (Photo: Reed)

David, the journalist, stayed about 30 yards away and filmed the interaction.  

Janet welcomed me with her calm voice.  I explained what I was doing and she agreed to participate.  She is extremely talented and passionate about her work.

Janet started her artistic career doing pottery.  She took up drawing and painting about nine years ago while living in Israel due to the minimal equipment needed to draw and paint compared to sculpting.  Janet and her husband lived in Israel for about five years and in Italy for a year. 

She said she would love to go back to live in Jerusalem.  It tops her list of cities to live in.  New York and Rome make up second and third respectively.  Originally from Houston, Janet clearly enjoys traveling and visiting new places and cultures.

She and her husband are no strangers to giving.  From helping refugees in Gaza to donating items for women imprisoned in Juarez, Mexico, they have made a clear choice to help others.  Janet also went into areas of Sri Lanka where media were not even given access and provided art supplies to orphans of their civil war.

Photo: Reed

The sun’s position in the sky was changing.  Janet was studying how the light and shadows fall upon the marble and white slathered limestone of the Capitol walls.  She was gracious and polite; however, I tried to wrap up things quickly.

I took some pictures and came back to the question of what she was going to do with the $10.  She told me that she had recently found $20 on the street and her husband decided to put it in an olive oil jar.  So she said that she would add the $10 to the jar.  I asked her what she intended to use the money for in the end and she said that she didn’t know yet.  “My husband says he will break it open some day though.”  Well, maybe she will remember me when that day comes and drop me a note about what they do with it.

David and I walked to a near-by bench and sat down and talked some more.  It wasn’t five minutes after we had sat down before another person walked up the grassy knoll and started up a conversation with Janet.  Despite all the interruptions she is certain to have, she manages to create beautiful work

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I met up with a journalism student from Howard University who was tasked with doing a short video report.  Brittney chose to do it on the Year of Giving and asked to meet up with me and follow me around as I gave out my $10 for the day.

We met at 9am at the Starbucks on Howard’s campus.  We spoke for a little while and then headed South down Georgia Avenue in search of a $10 recipient.  We hung out near the Shaw Metro entrance but then decided to walk up to U Street.  We came across the African American Civil War Memorial.  You might recall that on day 79 I went to the memorial and then walked over to the museum and met with Hari, the curator of the African American Civil War Museum, and gave him my $10 for the day.

Memorial surrounded by the Wall of Honor

It was still early and the sun was shining bright on the 209,145 engraved names of the soldiers and officers who served in the United States Colored Troops.

There was a woman pushing a stroller slowly around the memorial.  I approached her and asked if she would accept my $10.  The woman, who I believe was a nanny from French-speaking Africa, declined to participate in the Year of Giving.  She got nervous I think with the possibility of being on camera.  I don’t know if she was here illegally or something, but she was pretty clear that she wanted to avoid any and all cameras.

I then spotted a man in a trench coat studying the monument.  I walked up to Greg and asked him if he could help me with a project that I was doing.  He heard me out and said he was ok with it.

Greg is 41 and lives in Virginia.  Born and raised in Massachusetts, he has been in the greater Washington area for 10 years.  Greg has been in the hotel and hospitality industry for many years.  In fact, he transferred from Massachusetts to DC for a new job with the same hotel conglomerate that he works for now.  

Greg at the African Civil War Memorial in DC (Photo: Reed)

Greg was actually working when I ran into him.  Well, it wasn’t obvious he was working.  How many jobs pay you to check out monuments?  Note to self: apply for Greg’s job!

Ok, he wasn’t getting paid to do that, but he was waiting for his hotel’s liquor license renewal paperwork to be issued around the corner.  Greg explained that the district renews the licenses once a year on the same date for all establishments.  It seems insane to process all of these licenses at the same time.  It would seem to me that the office would be pretty slow for 11 months and then go crazy for one month.  

Greg was getting ready for a week of vacation up in Massachusetts.  He is a history buff and was excited that he was going to witness the reenactment the battles of Lexington and Concord.  This year marks the 235th anniversary of the battles.  

I asked Greg what he would do with the $10.  He asked if I knew if there was an association or foundation supporting the memorial.  I told him about my encounter with Hari and explained that the museum has a place for donations.  He promised to walk over to the museum and make a donation.  I told him to make sure that he said hello to Hari…who coincidentally I passed earlier that day as I walked over to Howard University and he walked to work.

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I spent my Saturday mostly shoveling the walkways in front of my building and doing things around the house.  I decided to go out in the evening to try to find a recipient.  It’s hard to get someone to stop and talk to you when the weather is like this, so I decided to stop in to a little wine bar that is next to my place called Veritas.
 

Veritas DC: Corner of Conn. and Florida

I like Veritas and recommend you check it out.  It’s a small laid back place, perfect little escape during a snow storm.  I tried a flight of Spanish red wines which was highlighted by a Beronia “reserva” from the Rioja region.  It was excellent…it was a little spicy with a velvety texture that coats your tongue.  

I was seated next to a group of three young professionals.  I asked the one closest to me if she would accept my $10.  Patti declined, but said that she would do something with her own $10.  She was heading back to see her family in New Jersey soon and said she would use $10 to pay for other people’s tolls.  Excellent!

I still had to give my $10 away though.  I asked her two other friends.  They talked amongst themselves a little and then decided that Lauren would accept it.  

I move down to speak with her and find out a little more about her and what she will do with the money.  The bottom line is that I didn’t learn much about these folks.  My questions were deftly deflected to questions back to me for the most part.  I learn that the three of them are in journalism…so they are used to asking the questions.  I did find out that Lauren was 31, lived in the Dupont Circle area, enjoyed boxing (I kept my distance), and yoga.  

She was not sure what she would do with the $10.  She said she would somehow “pay it forward.”  We talked about somehow putting it in a protective sleeve and leaving dropping it on the ground with her email on the $10 so that someone would follow up with her if they found it.  She agreed to email me later and let me know what she did with it.

Lesson for the day, don’t try to ask journalists questions.  They will flip the tables on you :).  Maybe they will check out my site and give me some suggestions for improving it and reaching more people.  Heck maybe they will be inspired to write about what I am doing.

I’m off to watch the Super Bowl now… I have no real passion for either team, so I guess I will go with the underdog, the Saints.

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