2.26.2006

Why I Really Hate DC (My first long post)

I realized that with the negativity that I try to generate on a semi-regular basis, I should at least try to explain how I ended up in Washington and why I hate it so damn much. I also apologize for this being unfunny.

In high school, I was a political nerd. I don't know how it happened. It probably had something to do with my extra-curricular activities. I did a lot of legislative debate; a form of debate my coach entered me into because of my ability to speak emphatically (or my ability to just be louder than anyone else). I did a lot of research on politics and it's something that I truly found enjoyable.

Obviously, if you like politics, then DC was the place to be. I could intern on the Hill! I could shake hands with the very people who are responsible for daily American life! Etc., etc., etc.

Boy, that was naive.

I "decided" on American University (by getting rejected by GW, which, looking back at my transcript, I still think is bullshit) and prepared myself for a great life in politics. I knew that I would be a small fish in a much bigger pond, but I was special! I could make a difference!!

I get to school and run into my first obstacle. Most people who go to DC for politics are total douchebags. A bunch of ladder-climbers with no regard for reason or compromise. Many of them had no grasp on any of the important issues. I once had to explain to a young conservative why Congress just can't make abortion illegal. I mean, Jesus Christ.

Of course, they were all go-getters. They all immediately got internships and started padding their resumes. I, on the other hand, found an internship to be an impossibility. Internships, obviously, don't pay very well. It turns out that DC isn't the easiest place to live when you have no income. So while my rivals were stamping envelops for Representative Doe, I was filleting fish at the local Whole Foods.

I finally got a Congressional internship in 2004, my senior year. My major required at least 20 hours a week for one semester. That was on top of the 24 hours of fish-cutting and the three other classes. But at least I'd finally see if I was cut out for politics.

And the answer was a resounding no.

I like to think of myself as a decent writer, but I am not nearly talented enough to convey how much I hated this internship using the written word. It was the worst experience of my life. A small office of 5 full-time employees working 60-hour-weeks with a low salary. As Democrats, it was safe to say that they were not making a difference. It was a stationary Bataan death march.

My two bosses, the chief-of-staff and the executive assistant, were probably the two worst people I have ever had to work for. Perhaps the two worst people I've ever met, period. The former would scream at you if you didn't staple papers in the center of the page. The latter was a bitter 28-year-old fat fraternity spawned man-child who used his position of power to abuse me as revenge for all of the other cocky kids who picked on him as a child. He loved making fun of the other interns behind their backs. Of course, that hardly works when the interns are relaying this information back to each other. Perhaps the worst offense of all was when this cock-head told me that I was a bad writer and my column in the student paper was a failure. This combination of pettiness, unprofessionalism, and spite chased me away from politics forever. I will always associate Capitol Hill with misery.

So I took some law classes at the end of my college career. I took the LSATs, cancelled my score, and am taking them again this year. This time I intend to study for more than a week. And now I work in a very small law firm that's really no different than hundreds of other firms in the area as a legal assistant. There's no hope for promotion or anything, but it pays the bills until I can get my act together and go to law school (hopefully in Boston or New York or NOT HERE). I'm really only sticking around because this is where my friends are.

When I look back at who I was in high school, I see someone totally different. Someone supremely confident and talented. And I see DC as having wasted my potential. Granted, I could have sucked it up and worked for free instead of cutting fish. Granted, I could have switched internships once I realized how sour my current one was. I know that I'm partially at fault here. But I marched into this city and I got spat back out as someone completely different. In DC, you basically have to be an arrogant asshole or a ladder-climber to make it. I couldn't cut it. So, I'm angry and bitter.

I am supremely glad that I now have an audience to let me vent. And anytime this city fucks up, I will be there to make sure people remember that we all live on a toxic swamp. The people here may be fine and dandy individually, but their collective attitude is one of indifference and/or disdain. Our politicians, locally and federally, are imbeciles. The Metro is a disaster. Everyday I am confronted by dozens of homeless people. Everything here stinks. And I am reminded of it everyday. Hopefully, with my help (which I doubt you'll need), you will be too.

6 comments:

  1. Hey, I like your attitude. I came into this town some years ago w/ a leggy blonde and now I'm bitter at having wasted too much time here, too. At least you're not 30 yet. Jesus Christ.

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  2. At least your not 34.

    And I completely agree with the chewing up potential part.

    Its a town of leaches, and I relish the day I can escape.

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  3. You are absolutely right about two things: 1. DC completely changes you if you are here for longer than a week, 2. Individually there are great people but collectively everyone just wants you to get out of their damn way so they can make that 6-car train home lest they have to wait one minute for the next.

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  4. At least it's not Atlanta-the Southern capital of douchebaggery. Try living where the first questions people as you are: "What do you drive? Do you have spinners? Where do you shop?" IN A SOUTHERN ACCENT. Oh, and "Did you just see Ray Lewis out here?"

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  5. Hey, I think you should check out the movie- Upside of Anger. DC cannot be the sole cause for your bitterness and anger, it probably stems from the fact that you're pissed at yourself for underachieving while living in the city. I hope you find better luck in another city, but I'm fairly confident boston or ny won't change your attitude. Good luck though.

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  6. DC has its flaws, that's for sure. But don't play the victim. "I had potential and DC wasted it." Take responsibility for your own life.

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