A Day in a Life of a Writer for a Newspaper No One Knows About
[Editor's note: Joe Englert asked if he could write an account of his time with Young & Hungry, who followed around the nightlife mogul last week during our Average Day coverage. This is his unedited take.]
By Joe Englert
It is 7:45 a.m. and in walks writer Tim Carman sucking on a Starbucks like a baby would a pacifier laced with codeine. I gather he really wanted to hang out with Doug Jemal or Michelle Obama all day. But they're busy. A trash collector or D.C. tax collector has begged off at the last minute. I am a D-list celebrity, hungry for any words that could promote one of my gin joints. I agree to be tailed by him all day. Just spell it right Carman, it is not Engler......Put a t at the end of my goddamn name.
But the man is on a mission. He needs his Wi-fi—like Chris Brown needs to hit Rhianna or Dan Snyder needs to sign free agents.
"Ohhh," he squeals, as he opens his laptop in my house, "you have a really strong signal!" My wi-fi reveals itself on his laptop.
Carman asks my 10 year old where he likes to eat. Young and Hungry could use a few leads. My kid thinks Vace Pizza is good enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Carman scribbles something in his notebook. I think he is thinking about dinner already. I can't figure out if he is the type of guy who calls his wife from Yes! Oragnic and decribes [sic] the vegetables.
The rest of the day, the same scene plays itself out again and again. "Do you have wi-fi? What's your code?"
Carman twitters his day away. But when the cab or a construction site or tennis bubble doesn't have wi-fi, Carman is at a loss. I just hope he and his wife aren't lost in the woods someday. What if he couldn't log onto a site that explained how to pick berries? Or how to get back to your car? And I am going to skip my daily nap for this??? Damn, I wish H Street Country Club didn't need the publicity.
When he asks my friends or acquaintances questions, they want to know who he writes for.
"Washington City Paper."
"You mean the Post?" Hey, sorry, I have lots of friends from Virginia who are old, clueless and don't know any hipster who bartends at the Black Cat.
"No, Washington City Paper
"Never heard of it, where do you pick it up?" one skeptical man says. He thinks CP is like the Green Sheet or Street Sense.
"The Washington Post is bankrupt," answers Carman, "The future of news is the small independents."
Wow, Tim Carman, company man. I will not bring up the fact that yes, the dearly beloved City Paper is also going belly up. Suggestion, just turn the whole thing into a 120 page "Savage Love" every week. Start running lots of dirty singles ads and in search of classifieds. Advertise Porn Star sites....Oh, wait a minute, you already do that.
Carman tries to figure out what I do all day. This is problematic. I really don't know what I do all day. I try to look busy, engage adults in frivolities like ping pong, pin ball and craps. I try not to go home too early or my wife sometimes asks me to take out the garbage or lift something heavy. I think he is disappointed that I am not a little busier or doing something more important. In fact, there would have been a lot more butt-scrathing and tennis playing if he wouldn't have been doing an interview of me.
"I am having some reporter follow me around. Can you meet me and pretend that we have business?" I did this the night before we met. A couple of partners wouldn't participate in the sham.
I played this game with my partners at Enology, Argonaut, H St Country Club and Capitol Lounge. Its [sic] either talk business or act interested in Nebraska (Carman is a Husker). I did invite Carman to join our tennis game. He demures, pointing to a knee without cartilage. A football injury. Carman says he was a quaterback. And that he started as a sophmore. Tim, I am getting on your Facebook page to confirm this. You know your old Nebraska pals don't have it in them to lie.
But when Carman starts throwing tennis balls, he does remind me of Unitas. The Unitas who stumbled out of the league as a San Diego Charger. The Unitas who in the end made every Colt fan cry out of nostalgia and a bit of shame.
When I log onto the City Paper site, I am impressed how much writing Carman did get done during the day. Bless his little twittering heart, he is prolific. Maybe that's why he reminds me of Stephen King so much.
I love competition. And I do like Carman. I think it is time that I pit him in something to show off his skills.
How about Fritz Hahn, Eve Zibart, Jason Cherkis and Carman in a twitter off?
Maybe we can make them run around Washington with their little laptops, twittering away. They will be required to eat all the regional foods while running, a pupusa in Arlington, a crabcake on the Waterfront, a chilli smoke on U St. First man or woman to reach 5,000 coherent words and 10 kilometers wins. Winner gets to actually blog on a site someone reads, like the Frozen Tropics or Prince of Petworth.
When there is no newspapers anymore, there has to be a place for good typers, right?