One of the things I love/hate about Washington, DC is how it is very much two separate worlds in one city. One is Washington City — Federal City, Diplomat City, the capitol of the free world — the center of which lies in Capitol Hill and the federal politicos. The other world are the residents of the District of Columbia, most of whom have nothing to do with the national or federal aspects of the city except to complain about the traffic problems and the assholes from out of town. Sometimes, though, the best of both worlds can be had.
Last night started out with a dinner party in Dupont Circle, at the home of one of the young Democrats I\’ve been hanging out with recently. He\’s working on a Congressional campaign for a representative in Florida, as well as working with a young-Democrat organization. The party was full of young do-gooders drinking wine and eating dinner from paper plates balanced on their laps; fifteen people crowded into a studio apartment with only eight chairs. It was good to see a party that wasn\’t being put on the \”company\” tab; in otherwords, this was a private affair that happened to include all the folks from the various official mingling events that get paid for by tax payer dollars. But I\’m not knocking it, truly. I got to have an amazing conversation with the youngest chief-of-staff to ever be on Capitol Hill (even being Dick Cheney\’s famous entry at age 34 by a full seven years), Casey O\’Shea. (Yeah, I know — ew, namedropping — but this is relevant, I swear.)
O\’Shea\’s district is the one hardest hit in Louisiana by Hurricane Katrina. The guy has stories like you wouldn\’t believe, about how his constituents are still living in tents, how the local economy has been completely destroyed with severe long term consequences, how there are still missing people, how so many people working in the recovery offices even in his campaign have committed suicide, how the banks and lenders are being forced by the fed to hassle now-homeless and still shell-shocked people for money they obviously don\’t have, how all the insurance companies are kaput… Really harrowing stuff. But, of course, what\’s big news? Two coal miners lost in a mine shaft. Iran\’s dangerous. The Superbowl is around the corner. Clearly, our minds are focused on a different picture.
After the dinner party was my impromptu frou-frou fest. I brought the last guests home at 4:30 in the morning — four very drunk young men sitting on the straw covered floor of my dad\’s contract work van (formerly the family\’s minivan back in 1992), bluegrass overnight blaring on the stereo, plastering himself to the back windows a la \’28 Days Later\’ in an attempt to disturb a woman in a vehicle behind us (mission accomplished), three other pairs of hands whooping up in the air in time with the music, all culminating in a foot-stomping, hand-clapping blow-out down 13th Street. Laughter, hollering, screams of pleasure, and none of us smelled like ashtrays the next day. When I woke up at 10 this morning, I didn\’t even have a hangover. Nonetheless, I decided to skip the Cap City side of the world and forgo my usual Sunday morning pundits, to crawl back into bed and enjoy some more of the morning, District style. Brunch with the young Dems on U Street at 1pm, $1 mimosas and bloody marys, with the lot of us doing our best screaming queen impressions (\”Another drink, another drink, dahlink, I plan to be drunk before three!\”). Then the young Dems went back to bed and I went back to work with the District kids.
I live in-between the two worlds in this city. Not everyone in this city does, but I prefer the company of those that do. I like it here.