My 1640 Hobart DC Housemates

My Joe-Cool Mt Pleasant Crew!

I lived in a big house on a shady street in the Adams Morgan
section of Washington, DC for three years. My five ever changing
housemates and I got along, for the most part, trying to live our lives the best
we could. I really enjoyed the neighborhood and I still write to my
neighbours!

Nora in the FridgeNow
with six people all sharing the same refrigerator, things got a little messy
once in a while. I always had the habit of tossing anything that looked
like it would attack me, and every so often we would draw straws to clean out the
whole fridge.

Here is Nora, deep in the process, but still looking good.
How does she do that?! Notice she is barefoot in the kitchen! Yes!

The photo shows our diverse eating habits. We usually had
a 50/50 split between vegetarians like Nora and myself, and omnivores like Scott
or Greg. Some means we ate together, but usually we all ate separately,
playfully criticizing our roomies strange foods. If I was home at
dinnertime, I made a pasta or soup dish, while Nora went for salads. Greg
never ate at home, not in the two years we lived together did I ever see him in
the kitchen, much less cooking. Andrew and Louisa are amazing chefs, so
good I ‘accidentally’ ate Louisa’s leftovers one night. Boy, was
she mad!

We had a vegan in the house for a while. She was a little
bit beyond the norm of our abnormal house. Her rabbit’s poops got
everywhere!

Now living in the city gave us some wonderful friends. I
met William Upski Wimsatt, a formidable writer, and joe-cool friend one day
while reading in Dupont Circle. He was hitch-hiking across America
promoting his book, Bomb the Suburbs. After chatting with him for a while, I
invited him home for some fun with my housemates. First they thought I was
nuts to bring someone home, especially from Dupont Circle, but after they saw he
was cool and wouldn’t pee on the floor, we had a great evening. We kept in
touch, and the following summer he showed up at our door again. He lived
for a while in DC, but now he is doing big and bold things in Chicago. He
runs a nonprofit organizing group called the Coordinators Circle.

Blelvis & I busting a moveI
also brought home some people that didn’t go over too well. Blelvis, the
Black Elvis was borderline, but my friend. He knows every Elvis song and
if you give him a subject and a few dollars, he’ll sing an Elvis tune containing
the subject for you. He lives somewhere in DC and named his children after
Elvis, but I forget exactly how.

When my college friend Graciela came up to DC one year, I
introduced her to Blelvis. She is a serious Elvis fan, even owning a life
size Elvis Lamp, but Blelvis topped her. She couldn’t keep up with his
knowledge of the King.

This is Blelvis busting a move at my front door.

There is another street caricature in Adams Morgan too, he is
the Compliment Man. If you are walking down the street towards him, he
will give you , well your girlfriend, a compliment. He will say something
like, ‘Nice dress, that is your color, girl!’ and she will
promptly look at you with that ‘See he noticed!’ look.

So then you do what is required at that moment and pay the man.
Now if your good, she will say something like, ‘Yeah, that’s what my
man says too!’, and you will be the hero instead of the heel. I
wasn’t always the hero.

Now writing this I am getting a little homesick. I can’t
help but remember all the house parties we had with drumming sessions in the
kitchen, deep conversations on the back porch, and sounds from the bedrooms.
We had a great front porch where I would spend warm summer afternoons
writing letters and sipping a beer, and our back porch faced the
‘jungle’ of our back yard where we could watch the wild city animals
eat our garden. Our dining room had warm sunbeams in winter, while the
living room was a cool cave in summer. That house was the greatest.

Andrew & Louisa doing the Kitchen JigHere
Andrew and Louisa do a bit of dancing while preparing one of their delicious
meals. If you know them, try to invite yourself over whenever they are cooking!

Andrew is a fellow Russia-phile. He studied Russian at
school and spent a year in Gorky (now Nizhy Novogrod). He would always
chide me for not repeating the words as my Russian language tape played. Now
I kick myself for not working harder at this damn language.

Louisa is somewhere in her home country of Denmark. She is
one of the very few people I’ve ever met who, after living in the states, wanted
to return to her native country because she thought is was better than the
states. Power to you girl! And sorry about eating the leftovers.

One of my most interesting housemates was Scott. He had
strong political beliefs that were the complete opposite of mine. Since we
each knew we were right, we had great political arguments, but we always
respected the other’s view. He and I are both trying to change the world,
unfortunately, Scott has chosen the political path to achieve that end, working
for a political action committee. I forgive him for his foolishness, not
everyone can give up the petty rivalries inside the Washington Beltway for the
larger view. (Take that, pork eater!)

Scott & John out on the townScott
(on the left) and his lobster, John.

Scott also has my envy currently. He has found someone to
share his life with who cares enough about the Scooter to exchange the vows of
commitment with him in public. I hope someday to find my lobster too, but
I’ll have enough respect for her not to take her pet name from a Friends episode!

Right before I left a Brit moved into the house. Danny and
I had the hardest time trying to communicate because the woman couldn’t speak
American, only English. One night we had a big misunderstanding when she
came home from the bar saying she was ‘quite pissed’. Now in
American, ‘pissed’ means your angry, and it took a while for her to
explain that in English that means your drunk. Crazy girl.

I really enjoyed all my housemates. Thanks Carla, Carol,
Dan, Danny, Andrew, Greg B, Greg H & Tippi, Scott, Louisa, Mary, Nora, and
even Neva for a good run.

  1. i ran into blelvis for the first time last night… or more like the other way around.

    last night was my first night in that area…. i was in a bar with a friend who has lived there the past 3 years. she feels totally comfortable living there. while we were at the bar, blelvis came in and sucker punched somebody sitting there and ran out. we decided to leave. While walking away I noticed blelvis on the other side of street. He noticed me and ran across the street to me hollering and yelling. I didnt say anything and kept walking. Then he said to the people across the street “Hey did you hear that, whitey said he dont talk to niggers” (i didnt say anything at all). then my friend, who was a few paces ahead of me turn around and said, “i know you, you are blelvis right?” he said yes. she asked him to a sing a song and he did. she gave him a dollar and he took off.

    my impression of the event- he harasses people for a buck.

    i have strong doubts about ever going back to that area.

  2. Yes, I’ve heard reports that Blelvis isn’t what he used to be. Too much wine, women, and song, or at least wine. Next, he’ll be fat and drugged in Vegas.

    As to Adams-Morgan, its a very fun place to hang out, but like any popular bar and restaurant area, there are drunks about.

    Don’t be so quick to write it off.

  3. I’ve heard a few Blelvis stories from friends (one even got Blelvis to sing at his Halloween party several years back), but I’ve either never seen him, or didn’t recognize him and wasn’t with anyone who’d know him to point him out to me. It’s good to see some photographic evidence that Blelvis really exists!

  4. Following up, I FINALLY experienced Blelvis the other night. My friend Sergio and I were walking to Tonic, he came up to us, did his whole spiel, and sang some songs. His Elvis knowledge astounds, and it was great to meet a character I’d heard so much about.