Snowmageddon was a second coming – a sophomore-year rebirth. The almost-weeklong academic hiatus was like a recreation, a Genesis of GW life. On day one, we did nothing. I spent half the day watching Elf and the other half following Perez Hilton. Days two and three brought tacit, often languid and assuredly lame attempts to use our gifted time wisely. My desk was covered with problem sets and eraser shavings. The final day, the mix of available alcohol and extreme boredom led to debaucherous flannel-themed shindigs. Yet amidst the general insanity that surrounded the historic snowfall, I learned one extremely valuable lesson.
I simply do not function without a certain few people in my life. There are five people – one for each essential appendage on my hand (count them, five) – that make my day, my month and my year at GW. They are the driving forces behind my late-night cram sessions and internship interviews. During the course of the impromptu vacation, I realized they are the pillars of my life here, and surprisingly enough, I do not even know their names.
The first person cleans the floors of Guthridge in the wee hours before even the first resident devours his or her morning pop tarts. I have never seen her without a smile. She is the Katharine Hepburn of the Guthridge housekeeping staff – a poised, respectful, yet cheery and rambunctious lady. I look forward to her sweet greeting every morning, a sing-song southern-twanged, “How you doin’ shuga?” Her kindness makes mornings bearable and I never even think to return her greetings as I obliviously blow past her.
The second person is a worker at Carvings who makes the best veggie burger I have ever had. We discovered each other my first day of freshman year when my parents decided to stock my Potomac mini-fridge. We spent many late nights together as he concocted the most savory veggie-goodness-to-American-cheese ratio while I stressed about finals. He was there for my first and last blind date and almost every Sunday-morning, “What the hell happened last night?” moment. He is the Mother Teresa to my greasy food cravings.
The third and fourth people, Eyebrow Wax Lady and Dry Cleaners Woman, fill similar roles in my life. Eyebrow Wax Lady always has a hilariously inappropriate anecdote or a poignant opinion about the latest fashion trends, which makes each necessary visit a little less painful. Likewise, Dry Cleaners Woman has helped me prep, primp and polish for countless interviews. Together they form my personal styling team, a duo that could put Stacy and Clinton from “What Not To Wear” to shame.
The fifth and final person is Credit Union Teller. Sitting behind a window, she put the first paycheck I earned in D.C. into the bank account my parents help keep afloat. She has seen me through deposit confusion and overdraft woes. My personal accountant here in the District, she is the one who makes runs to Trader Joe’s and post-finals shopping sprees possible.
When the snow had finally stopped falling, I realized it was these five people who owe me nothing but who have continuously showed the unconditional kindness that I previously neglected to see. And then it all made sense: I don’t return to Carvings because it has the world’s best veggie burger, nor do I journey up to 20th and Pennsylvania every week for the one-of-a-kind dry cleaning service. It’s the people who keep drawing me back. Sure, anyone can do their jobs, but these are the people who have made staying in a bustling city – dare I say – pleasant. The reality is that to my own shame, I know less about them than the movie stars, rock stars, potential crushes, and sworn foes that I spent the week mulling over.