Adams Morgan Falafel
It all started one cold and blistery night in adamas morgan. I was finishing up a delicious pint of Guinuess at The Town Tavern with my new found friend Ryan and his trusty side kick Julie.
The bar shut down, as they so unfortunately have to do, and I was left with head full of dreams, and a mouth empty of food. This unfortunate combination could only be relieved with another combination, that of flavor and delight; A pita wrapped around a chic pea crunch ball known as a “Falafel”. I said my good byes and embarked on a 2 block journey to my beloved Amsterdam Falafel House on the now baren sidewalk of 18th st.
‘Hoorah! Hoorah!’ my mouth screamed in anticipation of the tasty bites it would soon enjoy. I ordered one large (4 chick pea balls) and imeditley proceeded to cover my pouch of pita with all the fixin’s. Now this is where the night takes a left turn toward downsville. In my anticipation to create the perfect pita I placed my wallet on the counter as I paid the for the meal. I had only one hand to manage the transaction and one hand to protect my pita what else was I to do? I got my change, put it in my pocket, and would soon realize that I had forgotten the final task on my list of todo’s — place the wallet back into my snugly fit designer jeans before exiting the establishment.
For the sake of full disclosure I will mention that as I left the falafel house I did glance at Julios empanadas and the urge to delve into the falafels latino cousin was only matched by the deterring 10 degree temperature and winds. I paused, weighed out my options and decided to quickly hail a cab, I was on my way home.
As the cab pulled up to my house I began to pat my jeans down frantically, for only now was I beginning to realize the fallies of my ways. The falafel was now long gone and reality set in; I do not have money to pay for this ride. I received a service and could not complete the exchange, should I make a run for it at the next stop? Ask for forgiveness and hope he doesn’t slap me across the face (we are in a recession after all) ….. But what’s this? My incessant patting and pocket spelunking had its rewards. I found the cash I received from my skillfully executed one handed purchase at the falafel house and it was all of the 8 dollar cab ride and 2 dollar tip I needed for this transaction. Unfortunately, the excitement was short lived.
F$% I shouted in the cab to the undeserving cab driver. I f&^%lost my wallet!
“Sorry duuude”, he replied with the eloquence found only on the tongue of a baliwood star.
I check all my pockets 3 or 4 more times, dug into the seats and under the floor mats. Maybe it fell out as my meal was making sweet love to my tahini sauced face.
“Man, that is no gewd”, the cabby added as he shook his dome piece back and forth reminding me of a bobble head doll.
“Have a nice night” I replied “…the wallet isn’t here” and exited the cab.
I hurried up the stairs to my office and started searching for the number to the falafel house.
“Yes i was just at your store, you wouldn’t happen to have found a wallet lying on the counter would you?”
Without a second pause the gentlemen, and i use the term loosley, responded
“Can you check please?”
“There is no wallet here sorry”
ooooooookay, I guess when your that good at making falafels you tend to lose other important life skills such as courtesy and/or communication with your fellow man. I began to cancel my credit card accounts.
I was on hold with some for of these government bailed out institutions for 15 min or more. No wonder your going out of business! I knew that it was just the beginning of my problems.
What about my license? what else was I missing? How am I going to get on the plain to cali next week? how will this all play out with all the work i need to get done, where would i find the time to go to the DMV? How do you drive without a license to get a license? how do you pay for the cab or metro or a new id card without a credit or debit card? how do you order a beer or get into a club on this what would end up being the first warm whether weekend of the year? how do i get my id with out a passport or social security card? How do I attend a early morning meeting at a building with a security check point without any identification?
This will be an interesting week.
So much more then my right ass cheek rides on that wallet!
I awoke and was surprised to find out how normal my day was starting off without such a crucial piece of my existence available. Luckily all my meetings around town for the day involved other members of the company, so I had the pleasure of being a passenger on all the rides. We arrived at my first governmentally housed appointment and walked up to the metal detector guarding the lobby and elevators. The first member of our troop, Scott, was asked for his ID by the woman behind the airport’esque conveyer driven x-ray machine. I don’t exactly know what we were thinking as we walked up to the security check point. The lack of my ID was never discussed as there was more pressing business to attend to on our minds. Once the security guard asked for the ID from Scott however the true nature of the situation leaped to the forefront of matters to attend to. We all looked at each other with the ‘hey WTF are we going to do to get through this security check point together’ look, mixed with a dash of ‘if we all don’t say anything maybe she wont realize I walked through and not ask me for mine?’ shrug.
I put my stuff in the buckets and slowly took my jacket off and we all tried to manifest some sort of urgent sounding small talk in order to seem too preoccupied with our conversation then regulations of the establishment we were in. I walked through the metal detector and the lady asked for my id —
“So make sure we get the projector”, I said to my colleague further trying to push the ‘I’m to busy for you’ scenario. In a kind voice the women waited for our conversation to end patiently and asked me again for my id.
“Sooooooo you see he just had his wallet stolen last night”, my other partner Danielle spoke up.
“We have a very important meeting with some execs upstairs and it is imperative he comes up with us”, Scott added.
At that opportunity I started to smile and tilt my head 45 degrees to the left, the gold standard of sympathy positions.
“C’mon we need him for this meeting and we are late”, Scott again would press to the security guard positionng himself a half step or more toward at the elevators.
I was already gathering my things with a ‘sorry to have to do this to you’ frown and kept moving. She looked at me and as far as I could tell her body language was already indicating that she was going to reluctantly let us get away with this.
“Thanks you so much”, I said to her reassuring she will get a well deserved ticket into the good deed of the day club, and we got in the elevators.
Wow that went so much easier then I thought it would, no wonder illegal immigrants can become president — but I digress.
You know how great your friends are when at a single moments notice they are able to move around their schedule to help you out. Well my friend KT was willing to pick me up from the metro and take me home to my parent’s house in Herndon just to get my passport so I can go get my license at the DMV.
No questions asked he was onboard for the mission.
I know I COULD have driven myself around town but I’m not the luckiest guy in the world and I’d probably be the guy that gets pulled over for something stupid. In no time I would become the date of some guy named biff in whatever urine stained jail cell I was thrown into. This conservative way of thinking came at a high contrast to my friend’s perspective. My friend would not only NOT worry about driving without a license, but he offered to loan me his car for the night seeing as he had to attend a dinner date!
His suggestion was not only to drive without a license but to drive HIS car without a license. In addition, after discussing this option further, it turned out that the cars registration was expired AND the car did not have the necessary tags it needed to be “street legal”. In another words he was already “ridin’ dirty’. Yup, his plan was for me to drive without a license in an unregistered car with no tags by myself, try explaining that to a cop. I might as well get a few shots in me before I get behind the wheel to make the list of offenses a nice round number…. We agreed we would have to make it work with him as the driver.
Now this ordeal would have been over moments after we pulled up to my parent’s house, but certain facts suddenly came to my attention at that very moment, facts that a younger more active brain would have recognized hours ago.
1) I left my keys to my Parents house in VA in my house in DC
2) My parents were away in Las Vegas for the week
I looked my good friend in the eyes and explained to him how immensely sorry and stupid I was. As good a friend as he is he immediately called his dinner date, pushed it back an hour or so and said we will make this work, without flinching for a second.
“We will go back to your house get the keys and try again, simple.” he reassures me.
We got the keys and started heading back. At the risk of being late to his date that was already postponed we decided that dropping me off in Herndon was just not going to work. We decided to drop me off at a restaurant next door to the restaurant he was schedule to have dinner and I would await his return………Note: I thought it would be far more entertaining for me to eat at the same restaurant but sit two tables behind them as they ate their dinner and just leave at the same time. I understood his objection to that plan. He dropped me off at the restaurant and pulled away.
As I was walking into the restaurant I began to realize that this was less of a restaurant and far more accurately described as a dive bar. Being that it was passed 8 there was a bouncer inside checking ID’s…..doh! With the cunningness of a fox I took out the phone and stared intently at the screen with my thumbs positioned on the key board and facial expression framed in disbelief. If a director was involved and giving me…well….direction…he would describe my character as being a guy finding out his friends may not be in the bar, worried about the situation he texts them frantically hoping to find out.
I positioned myself against the wall on the apposite side of the bouncer next to the entrance way and noticed out of the corner of my eye that there was a bathroom around the corner I was leaning against. When the bouncer looked away I walked into the bathroom calmly and camped out there for a min or two. I took of my coat ruffled my shirt and walked back out in the opposite direction of the bouncer…..I did it! Fucking James bond shit! Okay okay, it could be that I had a 5 o’clock shadow and salt and pepper hair that gave the bouncer the impression that tracking me down was less then important but the point is that I avoided yet another check point and was quite proud of myself. I surpassed two heavily guarded entry ways today with nothing but my good looks and wit! Top of the world Sean, top of the world……
I had over an hour to kill and no cash or credit cards…..Damn! I found a nice private seat at the bar and sat down. I’m going to feel like a real douche bag telling the bar tender I don’t want food or drinks, but would like to sit here for an hour and a half. I am probably not the star patron the owner was trying to attract when starting his business. I kept my head down trying not to draw to much attention. One of the bar tenders finally made his way over to where I was camping out and asked, “What can I get ya?”
I looked up and low and behold, I know this guy! Even better he his also friends with KT my chauffer for the night! Yup things were looking up. I gave him the patented guy friend hand shake fist pump and told him a synopsis of my situation…..
“That sucks” he responds, “What can I get you to drink?”
“A Guinness would be great man!”
He poured me the perfect pint and I reflected on my current position as I took a sip from the sweet black nector:
I am without cash, credit cards, or a government issued id, in a dive bar with the average patrons completion no darker then an egg shell, with a bouncer out front checking ID’s, 30 miles from home, in god knows where, waiting for my friend to finish a date, while drinking a Gunnies and watching a 42 inch screen TV showing tonight’s game. I that wasn’t enough moments after my moment of reflection the bartender graciously threw a plate of boneless buffalo chicken strips out in front of me.
“Enjoy” he says.
“Fuckin’ America!!” I respond with a smile.
The hour and a half go by quicker then expected and I was soon back on the road. KT tells me that a good friend of ours was visiting us from Chicago at a bar down the street and they knew the staff their too so we can further drink with out prejudice. We visited them, had some good laughs, I ate and drank well and we then headed home.
This time the entry into my parents house goes far smoother thanks to the keys I know possessed. I walk upstairs to my room, still in the condition I left it before college. I slipped into my super-man pajamas and put on my wonder woman crown and headed to the bathroom to wash up. I turned the knob on the faucet and — nothing. I go to the shower and turn that knob as well — no water.
Yup, my parents shut all the water off while they are away and there is no chance that I will try to figure out how to turn it back on so late at night. Shit. Okay. I guess there goes my bathroom, drinking water, and washing up privileges. I at that moment finally understood what it’s like to be from India. I decided to ruff it for the night and went to bed.
–ring– –ring—WTF is this? Who the hell is calling me at 3:26 in the morning?!
“Hello?” I said barely conscious, making an extra effort to ensure the caller was aware of the fact that I had indeed been sleeping when he called by crackling my voice extra hard.
“Yeah, umm sorry to call this late but I just figured you would want to know that I found your wallet.” He said with a slight uncertainty in his voice.
“What?!” I said, suddenly revitalized.
“Yeah I feel bad but I found your wallet outside the falafel house and figured I would hold onto it.
I hope you don’t mind but I went through the wallet in order to get some information on whose it was so I could track you down. I’ve been searching for you name on the internet and was able to find this number, so….yeah. I just figured you would want to know I have it and it’s all good. I want to let you know I didn’t take anything in it , its just like I found it. It’s good karma you know?”
“yeah of course man thanks!”
He proceeded to tell me about how it was a bit of a journey to get a hold of me but he was very proud of the level of honor he demonstrated by doing this deed. I was happy to thank him and assert that feeling. He gave me his number and told me to call him tomorrow so we can co-ordinate a pick up.
“Where abouts do you live”, he asked
“Well I’m at my parents house in Herndon”
“Perfect, I work at the Dulles airport” he said excited to get this burden of protecting my wallet of his shoulders.”
“Great! I’ll come get it!”
“hmmmmm actually there is a problem……My car just broke down and I’m in Maryland and the wallet is at my house. I wasn’t sure if I should hold it with me where ever I went till I found you”
“Where is your house?” I asked
“In DC on pen nave”, he said not realizing that it couldn’t have been a better response if he tried
“I live on Penn! That’s perfect when can I come by”
So it turns out he lives only block from me on the other side of the bridge. I have traveled back and froth from Herndon VA to Washington DC twice canceled plan to make time to visit the DMV and all for not. The whole time my wallet was only min away from my house resting comfortably.
Oh yeah one more funny interaction occurred due to this lost wallet. Since it would take another 5 hours before my schedule pick up time I needed cash to get something to eat. So I went down to the bank to pick up a temporary ATM card. Once again not having an ID was a major problem and the lady behind the desk said she couldn’t give me the card without some validation that I was who I said I was. We sat there trying to think of a way to validate that I was indeed Sean Shadmand. I suddenly realized that my picture and name was on the front page of the business section of the Washington post and took her to the site.
“What more validation do you need then the Washington Post verifying my identity”
She smiled and issued my card.
As my friend later said so wisely everything happens for a reason. It’s a good story, I got to see friends I otherwise wouldn’t have seen and I have my wallet back no problem> It’s also kind of funny that if it wasn’t for the article written two weeks prior I wouldn’t have eaten a delicious bean burrito. Plus I’ve never been a good writer and need to practice but needed motivation. Maybe losing my wallet is just what I needed to become a better writer! It’s just interesting just how many people and things losing my wallet effected. Oh yeah i promised the guy that found my wallet that I would refer people to his business. So, if you need anything moved i.e. furniture etc let me know and I’ll put you in touch with this great guy!!