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May 17, 2010

Would squatting please her magesty?

This weekend, I experienced three askings I simply must recount.

On Friday afternoon I headed to Union Station to meet La Sorella, who was coming into D.C. for the weekend. Our goal was to catch up over dinner, see some friends at brunch, recover with a relaxing dinner, say goodbye over lunch -- and walk it all off at the museums.

My cell phone was almost out of batteries and I had 10 minutes to kill, so I ducked into a bookstore, made a purchase and asked if I could plug in my phone for a while.

"I'm waiting for my sister to get here and if my phone is dead we won't be able to connect," I explained.

Seemed reasonable to me -- wasn't bothering anyone, the outlet was in an empty corner and the total cost to them would be a few cents. Should be ok, right?

But the people at the register all seemed very nervous at this request.

"You can, but not for long," one employee finally answered. "It's just that my manager wouldn't approve."

"Ok, don't worry -- if your manager tells me to leave I'll just say I did it without anyone's permission. I won't get you in trouble, I promise!"

They laughed, relieved, and I sat down next to the outlet (as there were no chairs nearby) reading my new book and wondering who this manager was.

I soon found out.

"Miss, you cannot sit on the ground."

"Excuse me?" I looked up from my book.

"You have to have your feet on the ground," she said. "I can't have you sitting like that." I looked at my crossed legs, the blue shoed feet peeking out from under the sweater bunched into my lap, and looked back up at her.

"Is it ok if I squat?"

Another customer walked up to her and asked for help finding a book.

Before she could answer me, the phone rang. La Sorella's train arrived and she was walking my way.
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