Monday, February 21, 2011


Part of the reason I was chosen to write for The Washington Center was so I could give my perspective on my experience here as part of an orientation to prospective students. Well, I think that it would be unbecoming of my objectivity if I were to simply present only the good about my experience here in the nation's capital.

Don't worry; I'm not going to offer some scandalous story. It's nothing like that. What I'm trying to do is prepare -- 

Let me preface this with my philosophy. I think those born in the television age have a propensity to act like weenies. Let me be clear. I think we're deluded into thinking issues can be resolved in an hour or the next day and that you're supposed to have a happy life. The fact is small pockets of excitement or achievement come your way, and then the rest of the time is boring or tedious. That's it. That's the reality.

So I'm headed out tonight -- Sunday night -- to an informal get-together with my Media and Communications program. I live in Braddock Station and the meeting place is in Clarendon, Virginia on the orange line. In my opinion, this should take thirty minutes at the most. However, if you ride the Metro, it could take an hour because the trains run whenever they want to. And Big Sis forbid if you ask what time certain lines run where because that's suspicious. You know, you're OBL's new limousine chauffeur all of a sudden because you dare ask what times the yellow line train runs past Braddock Station. So, if you want to be anywhere on time, you must plan a minimum of 40 minutes.

There weren't any blue line trains going to Rossyln, from where I could catch and orange line and go to Clarendon, at Braddock Station within the next 30 minutes. I decided to take a yellow line train to L'Enfant Plaza and then catch an orange line train going to Clarendon.

The Metro cars were relatively empty, but there's something I've noticed when I'm riding the Metro. If there's a younger, attractive female sitting alone in a seat, invariably, an older man will go sit by her, even if there's other seats available. It's kind of icky. So, in order to prevent this from occurring, I selflessly and chivalrously sit by the young, attractive females on the Metro just so this kind of thing won't happen to them. See how nice and caring I am of my fellow woman?

That didn't occur tonight because the passengers were sparse. When I got off at L'Enfant Plaza and went down to get on an orange line train, the station attendant told me that they were having construction this weekend and I was going to have to go back upstairs, exit the station, get on a Metro Bus, and then take it to Metro Center where I would have to get on an orange line train there. This was impossible.

The whole time I'm swiftly walking towards the exit, my heart is hardening against the whole idea of public transportation. The whole idea of an automobile is an extension of the "pursuit of happiness." It truly is American freedom because you are not bounded by where you can go or when you can get there. Public transportation seems to curtail my transportational freedom -- that's how I see it. Now I'm Archie Bunker because I prefer to drive a car than ride a subway and hold onto a rail touched by hands I don't know. I secretly listen to Richard Nixon tapes as I'm sleeping, you hear.

By the way, here's the kind of car I drive:


The bus ride took slower than Christmas. We stopped at two stops in between L'Enfant and Metro Center before we reached our final destination. My toes were curled inside my shoes at this point from all of the anxiety. I have dreams like this; I do. I have dreams where I'm either going to meet one of my ex-girlfriends that I care deeply about at a restaurant because they're in town for a little while and I don't ever make it for some reason. Or I have a dream that I'm trying to make it in time to one of my high school basketball games and I'm always late or something. The anxious dreams like that were playing out in my reality at this moment.

It was six o'clock by the time the orange line train headed for Clarendon arrived on the platform. At six o'clock, I envisioned myself seated at a table in a restaurant with my fellow program pupils, not seated on a crammed Metro with a middle-aged woman with a Judge Judy haircut seated to my right.

There were two reasons why I was even going to all of this trouble. Of course, I didn't know it would be this troublesome, but there was a point to all of this trouble. The first objective was to spend more time with my program advisor and network a little more with her and the other pupils. The second objective was to "network" with a couple of girls in the program as well. You know, I could offer my services to guard them from old men on the Metro that might sit next to them.

When I got there to the restaurant, there weren't any girls there. There wasn't anyone there, except for one of the international students. So, it was just the three of us: my program advisor, the international student, and me. We didn't sit in ashes and tell sad stories for two hours; we had a good time talking about career goals and objectives. But it wasn't what I was anticipating for the evening. It did not meet my expectations when I RSVP-ed that I would attend some three days ago.

There's a point to my telling of this story. The point is there are going to be moments during your internship here in Washington DC where things don't go like how you expected or they are disappointing altogether. That's the way it is. It's not about the one moment in time. It's about the in and out point of the time itself. I've had a really good time here in Washington DC. I don't care if a night like tonight happens every week from here on out (It won't). This is an invaluable experience and I would do it all over again.

Of course it's going to seem like Heaven when you get out here. You know, your roommates set up the X-Boxes and you all play Call of Duty together. Or you and a couple of other yentas in your program go out and walk down to the convenience store on the corner, all the while doing "The Sammy Maudlin Show" and telling each other how pretty the one looks. But there are going to be days when the Department of Transportation gives you a Metro pass with exactly $1 on it and you have to spend $10 of your precious money to buy a fare for the day. There are going to be days when you don't see the mud puddle and get your light, pointy shoes dirty and feel the wet panty hose between your toes the whole day. If you expect that, along with the good times ahead, you'll have a realistic, comprehensive experience in DC that will be preparational for the rest of your life.

Like this, for instance. Earlier this week, I got a chance to interview my Congressman as part of A) my radio show, B) my capstone portfolio, and C) my real portfolio. That's a great opportunity I couldn't have had without The Washington Center.



Now we come to the part in the blog where you learn one of my dad's phrases. Here's the new one:

"like a hen on a june bug."

Definition: to whole-heartedly endeavor. SEE "gusto of a hound dog"

Example: "My program advisor told me there's a Washington Center alumnus that's an on-air reporter at a TV station in Cincinnati. I'll be on that contact like a hen on a june bug."

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