An American Girl in Washington

Context and Catharsis on the Metro

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 31 October 2010

On the way in to volunteer at the DNC today (shameless plug: we need lots of help!  Go on the website and volunteer for a few hours before or on Tuesday!) I checked the balance of my Chase account while on the down escalator in Dupont Circle.  Big mistake.  Lucky as I am to have a job at Local Department Store, the sad fact is that my paycheck is not enough to survive much beyond the weekly bills.  So, after a day and a half of dinner and lunch and a rally and a bottle of wine, my available checking had dwindled to the low teens.  Like, seriously, it wouldn’t be able to drive.  I should be used to this, but it’s always a little upsetting, especially when I know I have to load my SmartTrip card at the bottom of the escalator.  So of course I started thinking, and brooding, and feeling sorry for myself, and pretty soon the tears were starting to well up in my eyes while I was being bumped and pushed and elbowed by thousands of marathon watchers.

As I rode the red line to Metro Center I started thinking about how sad my life is, how I’ll probably never find a job, how dating in this town seems to be impossible, how tired I am of being broke, and how angry I am at the Dems for losing the message and having no spine and how nauseous I am about this election.  Pushing past the crowd at Metro Center, trying to find my way to the blue line, I couldn’t help but think about how I’ll probably spend the rest of my life adding money to my SmartTrip card a few dollars at a time and eating bean soup from the bag of beans my mother sent me in one of her Costco boxes.

Waiting for the train I started to think about the winter clothes I’ll have to buy, the health insurance I don’t have, and the Indians who call me every week to ask me when I’m going to pay my credit card bill.  By the time I took hold of six inches of pole I was wondering if I could get a job dancing on one just like it.  But then we reached Smithsonian, the tourists got out, I got a seat and felt the rumble of the train under my feet.  I remembered that I’m living in DC, that I have an amazing Palace to sleep in every night, that I have great friends and am meeting more amazing people every day, that we’re going to keep the Senate and so many people are motivated to vote that maybe the House slaughter will just be more of a butchering.  I remembered that at least my job at LDS means that I am staying ahead of my bills (except for the aforementioned credit cards), that my mother is sending me beans and canned tuna, and that I have, in fact, lived most of my life with somewhere between -$38 and $15 in my bank account.

By the time I stood up at Capitol South, put on my sunglasses, and rode the escalator up into the sunlight, my spirit had been lifted and I was ready to face another day.

Never underestimate the healing power of catharsis in an underground train.

Enjoy the sunshine!



2 Responses

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  1. Steve B. said, on 31 October 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I can’t tell you how similarly I felt during the beginning of this year, and during my first month in D.C. (or maybe I can… maybe I just did)…

    I remember, particularly, before getting on the Metro at L’Enfant after work, but before my first paycheck, when a beggar asked for money and I was able to inform him, with too much sincerest, that I had absolutely no money to offer him.

    It sucked.

    It is good to hear that you are getting over the emotional hurdles that your financial situation is causing you to encounter. I wish I had practical advice to offer. I simply applied to every admin position I could find available, and was eventually hired by a Government agency. I also become much more thrifty and things have worked out well ever since.

    My luck has turned over, and I hope the same for you!

    • agindc said, on 31 October 2010 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks! And I’m glad you found a job! 😀

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