I moved to Virginia in 1998 after I left the Army (the first time). I enjoyed Winchester, and I loved working for the radio station in town. My commute – if you could call it that – was literally five minutes from door to door. It was peaceful and nice.
But over time, life happened, change in career happened, and I got tired of doing a one-way, 90-mile commute to work each day into Washington, so I moved to Arlington, where the traffic is shit, but the perks outweigh the transportation woes.
Let me be clear: there are definitely things about living in the Northern Virginia area that are awful, and metro is probably the worst. I’ve lived in a number of different jurisdictions throughout my life, and I have never seen a worse, more mismanaged system! Ever! It’s crowded and expensive too, which, if you know anything about my “love” of people, you understand how irritated I am from day to day having to deal with them! All of this is well documented on social media, as I have a tendency to post lengthy, obscenity-laden rants about the latest Metro fuckuppery – mostly for laughs, and sometimes for catharsis. It will make a great coffee table book some day.
But then there’s going to ball games in an awesome stadium near the water with my kids. Or taking in a hockey game and feeling the passion and excitement in the middle of Chinatown.
And being able to visit the Eisenhower Executive Office building with friends and seeing and appreciating the history of the structure that used to house the War and State Departments, and which is now the seat of our national security structure.
And being able to come to work in one of the nation’s most historic, beautiful buildings.
And seeing the people’s White House every day on my way to the office, and marveling at its simplicity and beauty, and recognizing that the leader of the free world lives there.
And driving in to see the dawn over the Washington Monument.
And there’s being two hours away from the mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, and being even closer to Great Falls Park, where I can hike to my heart’s content and look at waterfalls and the splendor of nature.
And there are the restaurants, which offer a diverse plethora of deliciousness from all walks of life – beyond the Outback and Chili’s you get in most places.
There are the National Archives, there’s the Kennedy Center, opera season, the Washington Ballet, the Shakespeare Theater Company, the National Geographic Museum, and the Smithsonian. There’s the Spy Museum and the Newseum, which is dedicated to the media and the news. There’s the Holocaust museum. There’s the ability to chill at a sidewalk cafe or walk around in Georgetown.
On any given day, I can hang out and relax on my balcony and watch life go by below, or I can roll out, and be on a train into the city two minutes later to touch history, inhale culture, art, and music, and experience a new place to eat.
So for all the transportation woes, this is actually an incredible place to live and work!
It kind of shocks me when I post either a photo of the beauty I see around me, or a rant about the metro, that there are always several people who can’t help but want to take a crap on it.
I post a beautiful photo of the Treasury building, and I get at least one comment about how obviously I don’t know true beauty, because MOUNTAINS, HORSES, WATERFALLS! Or comments about how much they hate the current resident of the White House, which in no way negates the beauty and significance of that structure, but they feel like they have to shit on it anyway!
I post a rant about how the Metro is running slow yet again, and I inevitably get the “HA HA HA! You chose to live there! My commute to work was so perfect through dirt roads and manure today! I didn’t see a single person!”
I share a picture of mountains, or stunning leaves turning colors each fall, and there’s always some douche pickle who claims what THEY have in THEIR mountains is so much better and DC should really just perish in a fire.
Well, let me tell you something. It’s rude. It’s basically taking a large, steaming, cheap beer dump on something that makes another person happy for no other reason than to brag how much better you have it!
You want to make yourself feel better about your life? Maybe you should focus on making a difference in your chosen profession, without denigrating others’ accomplishments and passions. Do you live for the weekend, and dread Monday when you have to head to work? Then shut the fuck up, because I don’t. I look forward to the week ahead and what I can accomplish. Until you can say that, you can just shove your mountains and trees up your ass.
Here’s the deal. I love my job, and I love what I do. This is the best, most interesting, and intellectually challenging job I have ever had, and it’s a pleasure to come to work each day, do the work I do, and manage my employees, who are some of the most brilliant, dedicated, passionate people I have ever met! And all that is despite the assfuckery that is metro on any given day!
How many people can say that? Not a whole lot, I’d bet. And fact is I couldn’t do this job anywhere else. So, yeah. Nice fucking mountains. Nice waterfalls and trees. I’ll take my job satisfaction and love and passion for the work I do over the fucking tumbleweeds and manure you encounter on your trips from the middle of fucking nowhere to less than the middle of fucking nowhere any day of the week.
This is my second career, and I’m amazed each day at the difference I make. I love what I do with a passion I haven’t had for any other job. Ever.
The Beltway – as a concept – is a very small part of what this place is, and frankly I get sick and tired of people turning anything I say – positive, or negative – into opportunities to brag about how their life decisions to live in the middle of nowhere are so much better than mine, and show once again their lack of depth by disparaging the history and splendor of our capital city by tossing their politics around!
When people can honestly say they love their career and have true passion for their job, and that they feel like they’re making a difference, living wherever it is in the middle of fucking nowhere they live, then fine! I guess they have room to brag. Otherwise, I would appreciate people shutting the fuck up about my supposedly shitty life decisions.