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The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

October 22, 2007

I love D.C. (I will never refer to it as Washington – that’s the state right above Oregon, and Washingtonians are the people who live there.)

D.C. has a very official feeling to it. When you walk down the street, even if you’re nobody, you feel important. You feel like you’re a part of something that makes a difference.

After work on Friday, I drove down the New Jersey Turnpike, which turned into the Delaware Turnpike, followed by the Maryland Turnpike, cementing the fact that what I hate most about the East Coast is toll booths. I would also like to state for the record that anytime online directory services tells you it will take four hours to drive from Point A to Point B, they’re lying. They really mean five hours.

I circled the blocks near Jill’s apartment and parked. We chatted for a couple of hours before crashing around one in the morning. We managed to make it out the door at a decent hour on Saturday. Jill’s apartment is amazingly close to downtown Washington, and we passed the White House on our way to see the Annie Leibowitz exhibit at the Corcoran Museum.

Photo op!

The obligatory White House photo op.

The Annie Leibowitz exhibit was amazing. She has this stunning ability to take people and turn them into artwork. There were little paragraphs of commentary next to some of the photographs, and it was inspirational to read her stories of the pictures of celebrities and her international photojournalism from places like Rwanda and Sarajevo. After we finished Annie’s exhibit, we went over to the Ansel Adams exhibit. While Ansel Adams is also amazing, Jill and I both thought it didn’t compare to the stark emotions captured in the Annie exhibit.

While we walked through it, I felt my blood sugar drop, which actually surprised me since I left the apartment at 206 mg/dl. After popping a few glucose tablets and recovering, Jill and I decided to go find lunch near the George Washington University campus.

Jill told me earlier that morning that there were meetings at the World Bank, and as we walked passed the building, we spotted the police brigade.

A *real* police brigade

What was even more amusing was the fact that Jill and I count find any protesters! There were a handful of college kids yelling “Boo!” on a street corner, but it was nothing compared to the three blocks of police officers, cop cars and city buses blocking the streets.

Jill and I spent the afternoon wandering through Georgetown and Dupont Circle, talking about where we grew up, where we went to college, our experiences moving to the East Coast (Jill is originally from Nebraska for those who haven’t read her blog) and our plans for the future. We also talked about diabetes and our experiences with high and low blood sugars, the pump, doctors and other people with diabetes. Jill had only met one other person with type 1 so it was very funny hearing her say, “I’ve never heard anyone else beeping!”

I also had a very interesting blood sugar experiment involving a Starbucks mocha frappaccino, but I’ll tell you that story tomorrow!

That night, we headed back to Dupont Circle to attend her friend Carrie’s housewarming party that was filled with law students and kamikazes. We even had headbands to rock the Japanese theme!


Bonus points to anyone who can explain what Jill’s headband means in relation to the kamikaze party!

There were dozens of people there, and I spent most of the time involved in this kind of conversation:

“So, are you a law student?”

“No, I live in New Jersey.”

“So are you from Nebraska?”

“No, I’m from Oregon.”

“So, how do you know Carrie?”

“Through Jill.”

“How do you know Jill?”

“We both have diabetes.” (Okay, I know it’s a little weird to just announce that to random strangers, but I think it’s better than saying, “We met on the internet.” I mean, come on…)

At one point in the evening, Jill and I were talking with two guys, Mikey and Shrikhan. We were joking about Jill’s headband when Shrikhan said that he had studied English and journalism, not math.

“I did journalism!” I said, excited that I could actually talk to someone who wasn’t involved in the sciences. We chatted about journalism and public relations, and then Shrikhan asked me where I was from (see above conversation).

When we got to the “How do you know Jill?” question, I answered, “Oh, we both have type 1 diabetes.”

“Oh, me too,” he replies.

Stunned silence.

“Really?” I ask.


“Like… for real?”

He laughs and pulls out a Novo Nordisk insulin pen. Oh my god, oh my god, I thought, I really am a magnet for diabetics!

I point to my insulin pump in my pocket and we chat for about fifteen minutes about that. I give him the URL for my blog and then we take off in different directions.

I mosey on over to Jill.

“You know that guy we were talking to earlier, the Indian in the maroon sweater,” I ask.


“He has type 1 diabetes too!”

Jill’s eyes go wide, “No way!” I laugh. Later that evening we reconnect with Shrikhan and we chat about dorky stuff like insulin pumps, glucose meters and endocrinologists. It was an unbelievable encounter. I mean, sure I’m used to meeting diabetics on a regular basis, but usually at pre-planned events where I know there are going to be other diabetics. Not at some random house party three hundred miles from where I live!

I wish I could write a “How to meet diabetics without even trying” article, but I don’t even know how I do it!

P.S. Extra bonus points for the people who can tell me where the title of this blog post comes from!

  1. October 22, 2007 2:47 PM

    the postal service!

  2. October 22, 2007 3:28 PM

    Darn, Jill beat me to the answer! Does Maryland really have a turnpike? I have lived here my entire life and did not know that. I am so glad you had a good weekend in D.C.!

  3. Allison permalink*
    October 22, 2007 3:30 PM

    Jillian, well, I don’t know if it’s actually called the Maryland Turnpike, but I-95 has a toll in Maryland, so I’m calling it a turnpike because it took my $4!!!

  4. Carey permalink
    October 22, 2007 3:56 PM

    Drats. I was also beaten to the answer. Love that song.

  5. October 22, 2007 4:00 PM

    Very cool that you got to hang with Jill! And you ARE a magnet for diabetics! Rock on! 🙂

  6. Allison permalink
    October 22, 2007 4:25 PM

    Glad the exhibit rocked. I’m thinking about checking it out on Saturday morning. If you ever meet up in DC, I would love to meet you all!

  7. October 22, 2007 8:09 PM

    Wow,that sounds cool. You never know just who you’ll bump into thats d.
    Maybe sometime I can meet you, (almost) everyone else in the OC has!:-) Moving next month to MD.

  8. October 22, 2007 8:43 PM

    Great photos –
    Get an e-z pass for the tolls – makes life much simpler.

  9. Allison permalink*
    October 23, 2007 9:15 AM

    Colleen: You know, when I was driving down I was talking to my dad and he asks, “So, now that you’re an official New Jerseyan when are you getting an EZ-Pass” but it’s funny because this is the first time since Labor Day weekend that I’ve been on a toll road. I’m just not on the Turnpike or the Parkway, like, ever, so I just never think about it!

    Heidi: We definitely have to meet! Philly sounds like an excellent mid-way location, and we could even wrangle Hannah and maybe Carey into coming!

  10. October 23, 2007 12:40 PM

    I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re not a magnet for diabetics. You have a gift for drawing people out. I’ve mentioned in one of my other comments that you know so many diabetics and I know so few. I’ve probably met many but the conversation was too superficial to learn they were diabetic. When I read your post I through my hands in the air and said, “She did it again.”

  11. October 24, 2007 3:17 AM

    That title gave me a hankering and I’m now listening to that postal service album.

    I freaking *love* those amazing random diabetic meetings. Yay! I got so excited just reading your post. My last one was less random than yours, but equally great in the total understanding that a stranger has of intimate details that no one else has, and the giggles and dorkiness that ensue. A friend of mine introduced us. He told me that he’d accidentally taken his Lantus twice that day (I say, oh no! as my non-diabetic friend is like huh??). A few minutes later I see him across the room. He picks up the diet pop, thinks for a second, then puts it back and takes the regular pop. I say, that serious, you need that stuff today, huh? And we both cracked up.

    I was at a World Bank protest in DC several years ago in which the police to protester ratio was similarly ridiculous, about 1:1, with lots of threatening twirling of their nightsticks.

  12. October 25, 2007 4:00 AM


    I think you’re a magnet because you’re not afraid to be upfront about your diabetes. Which is a great thing.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Washington. It’s such a fun city with way too much to look at and enjoy.


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