GUEST STAR! Chris J: The education of me
So, I’m cruising the web at work (because it’s my job), and I link to this site called “Why I hate D.C.” Hmm…Interesting. Perhaps a kindred spirit here.
I spent the rest of the day laughing my ass off. Sometimes it takes the naked, unvarnished truth to shake you out of self-delusion.
I moved here from Montana about a year ago with ideals about finding the perfect fit for a meager writing talent and some interest in politics. I was sure I could make a mark with my Western, down-home ways—maybe bring a little levity to Washington. Or, failing that, meet some women. I mean, the nation’s capital. Monuments and museums. Ambitious, driven, idealistic people. The exchange of ideas in public discourse, the marketplace of ideas—more than just the ranting of ill-informed drinking buddies.
Here it is now, about 345 days after I drove across the country with everything I owned (except my damn iron), and I hate everybody. I still love the country, but I have no hope for her. Thank you, Washington D.C.
I’m in the media, and having never attended more than a Journalism 101 class, I’ve been getting an education. Journalists, I’ve found, are the most pompous bunch of incestuous smart-asses around. And not the funny kind. Campaign staffers, legislative assistants, interns and politicians are all forged from the same humorless mold, regardless of party. Everyone has a law degree, and everyone begins a conversation with either, “Who are you with?” or “The last time I lived in Europe, I…”
Driving in the District is the first test of one’s ability to make it here. Assuming you don’t get forced onto a ramp with no exits until you hit Richmond, you still have to avoid the asinine stoplights at every corner. Crosswalks are mere suggestions. Tourists follow the “natives” lead and cross wherever, regardless of the color of the light. The Metro is almost a saving grace, but only if you have enough change after being duped by fifty people’s homeless sob stories on the way there.
I was at a “round table” hosted by a big libertarian outfit here the other night. I ran into some guy I had to re-introduce myself to once again. I asked him how work was going, and he said “Good. We got Tom Delay to speak at a function.”
“Oh,” I say, trying to be clever, “Who’s Tom Delay?”
He looked at me in horror, as if I didn’t know who the fuck Tom Delay is, and said, “The House Majority Leader? You’ve got to be kidding…”
“Of course I was,” I say, trying to be jovial. But he turns away and resumes a conversation with some L.A.
That’s it in a nutshell—no one in D.C. can take a joke. And I’ve barely begun to exhaust my collection of dick jokes…
The one time I’d ever given another driver the finger was when some ass in a mini-van cut me off to take a parking place I didn’t even want at a Perkins restaurant. He found me inside and gave me the bird in the crowded waiting area. I’d never been so ashamed. Here, though, along with the horn, the bird is the lingua franca.
The number one insult is “he’s an idiot.” Don’t like his take on the new bill? "You're an idiot". Disagree with a point raised in that editorial? “He’s an idiot.” Didn’t get your invite to the White House Correspondents Dinner in time? The Administration is packed with idiots. (Well, there may be some truth to that…)
So, welcome to D.C. Glad to be here. Hey—have you heard that Native American men have the longest average penis size, and that Polish men have the greatest girth? Oh, I’m sorry, my name is Tonto Kawalski…
Can’t take a joke? You’re an idiot.