Posted on | August 25, 2005 | No Comments
What’s wrong with DC? Beautiful vistas and stark white monuments, political possibilities and personal ambition, tourists and interlopers…DC is unique. It’s a great place to make some money and to meet educated, interesting and committed people. And it’s a short jaunt from NYC.
So, why does it rub me the wrong way? Why did I come back? Yes, it’s true…I miss my beloved California–the Bay Area–and long for a ride on the NYC rollercoaster. Or would hop across the pond to live in London faster than you can “pint o’ bitter.” But I’m here for a reason. I’m exorcising demons.
First of all, I’m finally making some real money…not that funny money I had to use last time I was here, struggling to make a career in the wasteland that was TV journalism. The 2000 Election, Chandra Levy, 9-11–in NY and here–and the Sniper. I sloshed about in that sea…and each new boat I jumped onto sprung leaks. Oh, how the gentle shores of the Bay Area called me.
Then there was my health…an incapacitating nightmare of TMJ and tinnitus. And my relationship…the struggles took a toll on us both. She was gone…traveling…a lot. I mean, a lot.
Two years in California healed some wounds, but opened another. Demons popped out of that bitter cut in my self-esteem. I exorcised some of them. Then I was alone. And it became obvious that I had to make my stand, and confront those demons that remained.
DC is about demons. The demons of our collective past: a Capitol built by slaves, a city without a vote, an entire race mired in poverty and segregated into sections of the city, the booming war industry and bloated bureaucracies…and the posh, self-satisfied party scene of Georgetown that brings together the journalists, politicians and lobbyists into an incestuous stew of self-righteousness. It’s the source of many ills.
My personal demons are stoked by the grander ghouls, but it is me who is at issue. The money has finally come. One down. The work has fallen into my lap, thanks to an amazing, award-winning friend with an “off center” view. Two down. I got a glimpse of love. Alas. The imp still sits on my shoulder…but hope is always around the corner, or so it seems.
Life ambles on.
And so now I make that life, alone. It’s another demon to expel. Loneliness, or the fear of it. If I can live here alone, I can live anywhere, right?
While the grander ghouls dance gleefully, mocking the residue of an idealism I once made into my undoing, I am slowly spitting forth the froth of devilry that drove me out of DC before. That was a devilry of my own making…the great expectations that rose too high for even Atlas to hold up. DC is more real than ever to me. And the demons are not kocking on my door…at least not too often.