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.
As much as we complain about DC – the metro issues, the draconian gun control laws, the insane cost of living – it’s actually a beautiful city, filled with history, incredible architecture, and beautiful nature. Sometimes I almost feel the need to hoard my city, because mine! I know the good places to eat and to take a walk. I know the coolest museums and monuments. I know the best angles to take the best photographs. MINE!
And yes, I fully realize this is America’s city. This is where national-level decisions are made. This is where the monuments commemorate our history – both tragic and rich. This is where people come to learn about this amazing nation called America and to pay their respects to her founding. I get it, and yet, I’m still filled with this sense of ownership.
At no time is that feeling of proprietorship more acute than when the tourists come flooding into town!
They clog the streets and metros.
They take photos of my place of employment, just when I’m leaving, forcing me to duck behind columns and hide my face, so I don’t wind up in their shots. It sometimes feels like they treat those of us who work here like monkeys in a zoo! “Oh, look! A person coming out of the building! How cool! Washingtonians in their natural habitat! Let’s take pictures!”
They stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take selfies, and walk into you because they’re too busy looking at their phone apps or their maps as they wander around.
It’s aggravating. The metro is more crowded than usual. The smell is sometimes unbearable, because you’re trapped body to body with hundreds of other, sometimes sweaty, unshowered people, who have no problem burping or farting on a crowded metro car, because dammit, better out than in!
I remember a few years back, having to do a briefing downtown at the peak of cherry blossom season. We took a car and parked on the street, so we could head to the Pentagon after we were finished with the brief. BIG MISTAKE! It took us an hour and a half to drive the less than three miles to the Pentagon that day! The streets were absolutely packed. It didn’t matter that the light had turned; the tourists just poured across intersections in literal hordes, blocking traffic, and causing irate drivers to lean on their horns! It’s like they forgot that the little illuminated red hand means DON’T WALK, GOOBERS! We sat there through several light cycles until finally, we just started moving slowly toward these pedestrians walking across the street like the red light didn’t apply to them. You should have seen the surprised looks on their faces as they quickly dispersed!
Yeah, I hate tourist season.
I don’t hate tourists per se. They’re people just like you and me. That said, it’s like they lose their collective minds when they hit the streets of Washington, DC, because the power of stupid in large numbers is frightening. So, I’m going to hand out some free advice to those who decide to visit our fair city this year. Ready?
1 – STAND TO THE RIGHT, WALK TO THE LEFT! Seriously, this is the biggest reason why I fight the urge every day to mutilate at least a dozen people. Some of us are on our way to work. Some of us are in a hurry. If you’re not going to walk up or down the escalators, get the hell out of the way! Those of you from Europe know what I mean. If you’re not passing on the highways, you need to be in the right lane. Same principle here. Recognize that not everyone has the entire day to chill and explore. Some of us have jobs and are in a rush to get to them. Get. Out. Of. The. Way.
2 – Federal workers are not monkeys in a zoo! No, really. We’re not part of the scenery, and we’re not there for you to photograph. If you see one of them exiting a federal building – even one as pretty as the White House – realize they are people doing their jobs. They more than likely don’t want to be part of your trip memories, so have some respect for them, and stop taking their photos.
3 – Red means DON’T WALK! If the light turns red, ferpetessake STOP! Again, DC is full of people who actually work there! You clogging the crosswalks when your light turns red, and theirs turns green, is only delaying them from getting where they need to go. It’s rude. It’s disrespectful. Stop and wait your damn turn!
4 – Sotto Voce at Arlington, assholes! Arlington National Cemetery is the place where thousands of military heroes are buried. There are people mourning their loved ones who were lost in war. Have some damn respect. It’s not your family picnic. It’s a friggin cemetery!
5 – The memorials are not wading pools for your crotchfruit! I cannot tell you how many times I was horrified to see parents with their kids, splashing around in the World War II Memorial fountain, despite signs that clearly admonish them not to! It’s dedicated to Americans who served during the war – both in the military and as civilians. It honors those who died and recognizes our victory over tyranny. It is not a place for your kids to splash around. Have some damn respect!
6 – Ferfuckssake, look up! There are people, cars, bikes, segues, horse-drawn carriages, and police with whom you’re sharing roads! We understand that it’s tough to navigate your way around the city, but please, look up to ensure you’re not walking into someone, forcing a biker to swerve out of your way, forcing another pedestrian to dodge your dumb ass, as you stumble about, trying to figure out where your iPhone map app is taking you, and violating admonishment #3.
DC is a busy city. There’s a ton of stuff to see and do. Don’t just stick to the usual spots. Venture out. Enjoy the Spy Museum, the Newseum, Chinatown, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and other neat areas. But for petessake, remember that people also live and work there, and have respect for their time and their homes, OK?
Let me get this straight. Walmart is evil, right? They sell cheap goods, drive smaller businesses in the area out, and pay slave wages, right? That makes them a player in Satan’s team photo, right?
So why is it that DC residents are now complaining after Walmart has decided to divest them of its evil, odious presence?
Melinda Jones needed a Walmart badly. The 50-year-old lives in the far eastern corner of Washington, D.C. The closest grocery options are over the line in Maryland, well out of walking distance. Because any shopping trip is a production, she typically takes the train out to Virginia and carpools with family to a military commissary.
“There’s nowhere to shop around here. A Walmart would have been great,” Jones said. “I can’t believe it … This makes me want to cry.”
Jones was supposed to have her shiny new Walmart, at a site called Capitol Gateway, as part of a five-store deal hatched between the company and city officials in 2013. But late last week, the Arkansas-based retailer said it was scrapping plans for the two as-yet-unopened stores in the city. Faced with lagging sales, Walmart is closing 154 locations and laying off 10,000 employees in the U.S.
After all, the District was less than welcoming when Walmart initially proposed to build stores there, according to the Washington Post.
Pushed by labor unions, a majority of the D.C. Council at first pushed back against welcoming Walmart to the city. Opponents cited Walmart’s large profits and refusal to let workers unionize, as well as its reputation for low wages.
And then, there’s the District’s minimum wage, which is already high at $11.50/hour, which is apparently not enough for those who want to do minimum work and get paid like skilled labor, and the proposal proposal to require D.C. employers to pay into a fund for family and medical leave for employees, as well as a plan to require a minimum amount of hours for hourly workers.
Apparently, DC expects Walmart to run its business at a loss, as long as the entitled get theirs, including former DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who brokered the deal with Walmart and was hoping to use it to resurrect the carcass of his political career after some not so savory activities came to light.
Melinda Jones apparently can’t get fresh produce where she lives – at least not anywhere close – so she was counting on the Walmart to build its store there, so she would have somewhere to shop.
The residents in the neighborhoods where the two stores were to go up apparently expected the company to run those businesses at a loss, because they NEED them.
Another resident said he planned to get a job there. “Everybody around here probably would’ve tried to get a job,” Mayo said. “Here one minute, gone the next.” Were they hoping to get easy work for high pay, because DC politicians think they can continue fleecing “the rich” while getting themselves re-elected? Well, guess what! Instead of getting work at $7.25 per hour, getting much-needed experience, and perhaps moving on to better employment, these residents now have no jobs at all. And they can thank DC government that they put into positions of authority for that!
But Walmart is evil, horrible, and awful for not wanting to open more stores where they will undoubtedly make no profit, because apparently stores only exist for the benefit of those who want to work there (at inflated wages), those who want to shop there (at low wages), and the politicians who want to put said deal on their resumes.
So DC wants to force Walmart to pay higher wages for jobs that require few basic skills and practically no education, and are meant to be a gateway into the working world, not a lifestyle.
DC wants to force Walmart to keep employees on the clock even though it might not need them.
DC wants force Walmart to pay money into a pot for benefits it does not see fit to offer, because somehow everyone is entitled to them.
And now DC seems surprised and upset that Walmart doesn’t want to build two more locations in the city?
Someone in DC needs some lessons in basic economics.
We all know that it’s nearly impossible to carry a firearm for self defense in Washington, DC. We’ve covered that issue numerous times here, as well as the elitism and hypocrisy in the treatment of folks who unintentionally violate the city’s despicable, freedom-quashing gun control laws. This is not news.
What is news, however, is that the criminal savages in DC are getting bolder. There has been a rash of attacks in the city’s metro stations lately.
A couple was assaulted a couple of days ago for no reason in the Pentagon metro station.
Some teenagers were beaten on New Year’s day.
Another group of savages attacked a lone man in December – six of them vs. one of him.
A reporter was attacked by a roving band of females.
A man was stabbed to death on July 4 last year. And neither in this case nor in the one above did anyone lift a finger to help.
A gay couple was attacked.
And yet, DC residents cannot defend neither themselves no others with the most effective tool on the market today – a firearm. Because as soon as the train enters the city, that concealed carry permit you have is just another worthless piece of paper. And in DC, the thugs know it. Not that I believe these punks are smart enough to deduce anything about the capital’s gun control laws and link them to defenseless victims. But I do believe they see themselves as untouchable, given the fact that passengers are too scared or too defenseless to do anything about them.
Enough is enough!
I’m not a big, brawny person, but I’m also no slouch in the self defense department. I commute into the city every single day, and I have made a personal commitment to fight with everything I have to help both my fellow passengers and myself, if the need arises.
It’s no secret that we are all disarmed, but frankly, a handful of teenage punks doesn’t stand a chance against the slew of passengers I see every day on those metro platforms.
So yes, I will beat anyone trying to victimize a fellow passenger to a bloody pulp. I will make sure they don’t get up again. And if I have to, I’ll toss one onto the tracks. I carry in Virginia, but if DC is going to insist on disarming me, I will make sure – one way or another – that at least one of the cretinous fuckbags winds up in the hospital or in the morgue.
It’s time to stop allowing these shitstick thugs rule the public transportation system here in the city, and I would hope that the rest of my fellow passengers are as fed up as I am.
If the city wants to prosecute us for taking the steps to protect ourselves – something the police here have not been able to do – so be it.
But these delinquents won’t stop until we stop them, so it’s about damn time we at least tried.