#185: Wasim, the Dupont Circle t-shirt vendor.
I live in Dupont Circle and am head-over-heels in love with my neighborhood. The first job I had in DC (and the reason I moved here) was in Dupont Circle. I remember super clearly how I showed up to Dupont Circle early on March 5, 2007 (see? I told you I remembered “super clearly.”) It was much to early to go to work, so I crossed the Circle and went to the Starbucks on Connecticut Ave (by Kramerbooks) to get coffee. Both my (old, old) office and Starbucks are slightly different now (the office moved to a new floor and the Sbux was renovated) but that core part of Dupont Circle still reminds me of when I first moved to DC.
It also makes me think that I never want to leave. Other people leave all the time (though some times they come back). A huge part of my social life in DC is attending people’s farewell happy hours. I’ve probably been to more farewell happy hours and “yay! look who’s visiting!” happy hours than any other type of event. When my friends leave town (which, again, they do A LOT) I get them an “I ❤ DC” t-shirt. I love it because I (obviously) love DC but also because it’s cornier than a carebear crying during an ASPCA commercial.
When I know a friend is leaving town, I try to stop by this t-shirt stand on Dupont Circle, right next to CVS. It has been there at least since the day I showed up early to my first day at my first job in DC. I’ve been smiling and waving at the owner and buying t-shirts from that guy for a long time. He always smiles and waves and says it’s nice to see me. Finally, last week I introduced myself to him. We talked for a little bit and then I left. Yesterday I was walking by again and he said “hi Fabi!” I was surprised. He remembered my name! I’m a celebrity! I smiled and waved back but just said “hi.” He noticed that I didn’t remember his name and we did the introduction thing again. Turns out his name is “Wasim.” “Oh, like WAShington, I said.” “No, like WAShing machine,” he said. I already loved The-Dupont-Circle-Tshirt-Guy before he had a name. Now that he has a name for which both “Washington” and “washing machine” serve as mnemonic devices, I love him even more.