Life Here

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.

nats

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.

old-exec

And being able to come to work in one of the nation’s most historic, beautiful buildings.

treasury

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.

white-house

And driving in to see the dawn over the Washington Monument.

dawn

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.

 

24 responses

  1. You have some very nice shots here.

    I may look at DC and shudder. ((Too .. Many .. people.)) But that does not prevent me from seeing some of its beauty. And the museums are worth dealing with people and metro.

    Some folks need to get over themselves and remember that not every see beauty the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. And the biggest thing is: why do some people feel the need to defecate on other people’s joy? Despite everything, I love this city. I love being here. I love the sunrises and sunsets and sites. Why do some feel the need to take a crap on that, I will never know.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I lived in Arlington in the late 1990s. The Metro was a source of pride back then, one of only two things that worked in DC, the other being parking enforcement. I’m shocked by the reports that it’s gone far down hill. But given that Marion Barry got elected after he did jail time, I shouldn’t be.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ll have you know I live on the edge of nowhere, not the middle of it. (Or, as Mal Reynolds phrased it, the corner of No and Where.) Drive east from where I live and it’s a couple of hundred miles to the next town of any significance (Hays, Kansas). Though you might want to go another hundred or so to get to Salina, which (I think) is about six times larger. Drive west and you hit a city of half a million people pretty quickly. “Nowhere” is the huge space between Colorado Springs/Denver and Hays (or Salina), and I live near the western edge of it.

    Seriously, you live in a fascinating/historic place, I know this, I’ve been there (and I got to deal with Metro suck too). There are people trying to ruin it, to be sure (and it’s infested with people who want to change its meaning), but still a fascinating place.

    Some people like cities, some like the open spaces. Arguing over it is like arguing over caliber.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Some people like cities, some like the open spaces. Arguing over it is like arguing over caliber.”

      Amen.

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      1. Only for people whose girly wrists can’t handle the 10mm. 🙂

        I do run into assclowns who diss the 9mm in earnest and can’t be talked out of it. Of course, there’s also just jokin’ around, which is (I hope) what’s going on here.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely joking….I have multiple calibers and I love them all.

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  4. Similar circumstances here; retired from the Army in 2008 to Front Royal, and only had to commute to Haymarket. Got a job soon after in Reston, keeping me on 66 for almost an hour. But the job rocks and pays absurdly well……

    We recently moved to the west of Warrenton, to our zombie apocalypse compound, but only shaved off about 5 minutes of drive time. Other than an annual pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetary and a couple other locations, we avoid D.C. and especially the Metro, like the plague. We’re trying to see all of the battlefields and historic sites within rural Virginia….but there’s so many, we may not accomplish that before we’re six feet under.

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    1. Not sure why, but it spammed everything. I deleted the dupes.

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      1. Appreciate it! I was losing my mind trying to figure out what was going on.

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        1. No problem. That was just weird. I literally had six comments in the spam folder for you!

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    2. I used to go foxhunting (over fences, on a horse) through that area. It was like Centreville, quite beautiful, but all the tract housing kind of spoils it for me.

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      1. My area to be sure, has no tract housing. I live in a forest thankfully. Can’t see my neighbors, but I see dinner walking through daily….

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    3. More of a rural person here, always liked the idea of “if i’m not doing anything illegal then i could do whatever i want.” Though if i were to live in a city i’d want to get in the more historic district. I’ve always been a sucker for classic architecture.

      PS: Here’s a bonus of living in the country; you can pee in the bushes without getting in trouble.

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  5. I moved back to Illinois a year after leaving the Navy in 1974. I spent time in classes while I was looking for a job in Chicago, and finally got on the summer of 1976. Carter’s recession didn’t help with job finding, but I did get one. I spent 29 years living in the city of Chicago, until I moved out to the far north suburbs near the state line. Chicago is possibly the most beautiful city the Midwest has to offer, which I saw again today during the ‘Welcome Home’ parade for the Cubbies (108 years!!!) and it is really beautiful, but with the currently incompetent, gladhanding idiot in the mayor’s office, it has become more and more plagued with crimes, right on Mag Mile.

    My old neighborhoods are getting hit. I wouldn’t move back there now if I were paid to, but it is still a beautiful city, no matter what.

    You have to know where your heart is and ignore the grinches. They wouldn’t be happy if they were hung with a brand new rope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I *had* to live in one of the three big metropolises (metropoli?) it would be Chicago, not New York and certainly not Los Angeles (a/k/a “the cancer”).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I lived in Arlington 88-91 and worked in Vienna, and then Reston but I was third shift, so I had a reverse commute. I used to look at the traffic going the other way and shudder. My last promotion at work while I lived there they wanted me to go to first shift. I was lucky enough to be someone they really wanted to do that job, so we compromised on second shift.

    I pretty much avoided the area until 2011, when I drove up there for CPAC. I was astounded to find that the parking lot started around Potomac Mills and an hour earlier than it used to. (I was shocked to discover that Woodbridge was no longer a small town with a great Commodore computer shop, but then I remembered that what had once been open mesa in San Diego where I’d ridden a dirt bike was now paved over and had an RV dealership in the middle of it.)

    I’ve found that I’m happiest in exurbs, where I have a city if I want one but can pretend that it doesn’t exist when it suits me. But that’s just me. Others in my family prefer small towns or city life. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong, their happy place is just different.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will not argue that there great beauty in DC. I do however think that is despicable. They should have spent the money beaten out of the serfs(taxes) on simply functional, comfortable certainly but not ostentatious, like that marble and what looks to me like rosewood item in your photo.

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  8. Just left after 34 months there (lived in Alexandria). I agree with your view of Metro. And yes traffic sucked. But Skyline Drive. Hiking Shennandoah National Park (hey bear, I see you). If you get a chance, take a tour of the Department of the Interior. The murals commissioned by Harold Ickes are ‘interesting’ if you like New Soviet Man realism. But they have some amazing Ansel Adams photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obama hung a bunch of proletariat-looking art in the West Wing. It creeped me the fuck out.

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      1. Just when we all thought “Soviet Realism” was dead…

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  9. The “mine is bigger” mentality.
    Where is Zap comics when you need them? This brought to mind a particular one that involved a bar top and a cleaver.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Envy. The do it because of envy. It’s the vandal mentality: If I can’t have something nice like that, nobody can.

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