Stepping Back


it was easy being green

Urgency Day 168

500 Things Item 331: One Green Shirt

  • History: From the only really good Rugged Warehouse
  • Value: Why do green clothes turn yellow so soon?
  • Parting Pain: Only for the label
  • Un-possessing: Donation

G is for Green, roy G biv-wise.

I love the name on the label of this shirt: One Step Up.

It reminded me of a jazz club on M Street in Georgetown, One Step Down. I had to Google it, to see if it was still operating. Alas:

“Dear friends and patrons,
I regret to inform you but the One Step Down is now closed. The building was sold to a developer and will be turned into apartments.”

Damn. Another bit of youth, gone.

Where did you hang out in high school?

My group had the Amphora Diner in Vienna, Virginia. The old one, on Rt. 123, not the newer, less authentic one in Herndon. The Amphora is where I learned to love coffee black, because the management would actually let a group of high school students sit in a booth for hours and hours and endlessly refill their coffee cups.

It occurred to us that this was a pretty sweet deal, so we consciously skipped the cream and sugar– so as not to take advantage. One friend couldn’t abide unsweetened coffee and would provide her own for the duration. Only later did we learn about the importance of turnover in the restaurant biz.

Growing up in suburban DC also gave us access to Georgetown, now known as one of the great college “towns” in the country.

“It is said that Georgetown was designed with college students in mind.” (

But back in the day, a whole lotta days back, we thought Georgetown was designed for high school students. That was before 21 laws, before the 1984 National Championship crowds, and certainly before any of us were responsible people. Or maybe that was just me.

The boy I adored before I met The Love of My Life played jazz. Jazz, like the real thing: Freddie Hubbard, smoky bars, just shut up and play, jam-sessions jazz. He played; I adored. But One Step Down was where I learned to love jazz, not just jazz musicians. Even this place tolerated a bunch of high school kids. It was a different time.

And now it’s condos. Yeah, I know. Life goes on, grandma.

I have a son who is a musician; so here’s what I think about. Knowing what I know, knowing the trouble we got in, and the rules we broke and the reckless, exhilarating crap we got away with, if we lived near a One Step Down now, would I want the Self-Contained Unit hanging out there?

Hell yeah.

And I would be green with envy.


One Response to “Stepping Back”

  1. melanie Says:

    I love the tie-in you made between the green shirt, an experience and the color green at the end. You should be a writer or something! Maybe have a blog!

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