Maureen Dowd the Humble Irish Maid

Maureen Dowd recently discovered that if you make Uber drivers wait an inordinately long time after they’ve arrived to pick you up they will give you a low rating which makes future Uber drivers less inclined to pick you up at all. This realization was disheartening because she’d harbored fantasies about being treated like Cinderella by the riffraff. She actually wrote this, so I’m not being uncharitable here.

It seemed more like The Flintstones’ car than Cinderella’s pumpkin coach…Coming from a family of Irish maids, I had been looking forward to the concierge democracy, where we could all be masters of Downton Abbey, butled by drones and summoning staff by just touching our smartphones.

I noted the curious reference to “coming from a family of Irish maids” because…this:

Possibly, there are even more naked women at Maureen Dowd’s house today than there were when this place was JFK’s Georgetown bachelor pad in the fifties. They are lounging in the vintage posters, carved into her Deco furniture, painted in huge trompe l’oeil pastorals on the living-room wall. “My girlfriend Michi said, ‘You’ve got to paint clothes on them,’ like you know how they did at the Sistine Chapel?” says Dowd, who is drinking white wine from a goblet with a naked woman carved into its stem. “But I like them. I think they’re kind of campy.”

Nothing quite says “Irish maid” like living in JFK’s old bachelor pad. Maybe the ghost of Maureen Dowd’s great grandmother is feather-dusting the “huge trompe l’oeil pastorals on the living-room wall” as we speak.

A bit later on in Dowd’s piece she quotes from a Wall Street Journal piece on the explosion of new service apps, including Saucey, which will deliver alcohol to the location of your choice. But this new service fills her with anxiety. She might again receive a poor rating: “Saucey will reveal how politely I grab my bottle of Grey Goose.”

Of course, we know that the Irish (maids or otherwise) are known for their weakness for strong drink, but in my experience, not so much for their taste for top shelf vodka.

The red walls are lined with shelves exploding with books, old record jackets (Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lee), family photos, various feathered ornaments and fans, a collection of tigers, another of mermaids, and a dozen or so antique martini shakers.

I don’t think that these antique martini shakers are family heirlooms.

So, while Dowd attempts to inoculate her sense of entitlement by wrapping herself in the humble Irish maid mantle, I remain unconvinced. She wants to be served hand and foot by an army of “drones,” as she describes them. But, there are unwelcome nuisances in this arrangement. The help isn’t quite a cheap as it could be, but, more importantly, they get to talk back in the form of feedback on her quality as a customer. And this is a sobering blow…like the shock of midnight in her Cinderella princess dream:

What I had loved about Uber was that, unlike in every other aspect of my high-tech world, I didn’t feel judged. My worth wasn’t being measured by clicks, likes, hits, views, retweets, hashtags, Snaps, thumbs-up or repins.

Except then I learned that sitting in an Uber car was pretty much like sitting in my office: How much have you developed your audience? How much have you been shared? How much have you engaged your reader? Are you trending?

I was trending on Uber, all right, and not in a good way.

Now, what most of you will easily recognize here is the staggering degree of her lack of self-awareness. For someone who is weary of being judged, she seems to have no foreknowledge about how she just set herself for ridicule and contempt.

Behold the Irish maid:

It isn’t easy being the lone female on “murderers’ row,” as the columnists’ offices in the Washington bureau are called. (And Dowd’s office just happens to be next door to her ex-boyfriend John Tierney’s. “It’s like, ‘Out of all the gin joints in all the world . . . ’ It is weird,” she says. “We share a bathroom, which I guess could have ended up happening if we’d gotten married.”) Dowd says she doesn’t mind that W. has nicknamed her “The Cobra,” and she probably kind of likes being called “the flame-haired flamethrower,” but she hates all monikers that involve knives or other sharp objects. “I have a fear of castration,” she explains, perching herself with catlike precision on the striped settee in her lacquer-red sitting room. “Not fear of being castrated but fear of castrating.” This from a woman who once referred to Al Gore as “practically lactating.”

She’s such a woman of the people. Do you think she’s ever seen the back of a stretch limousine?

[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.