Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homo Republicanus observed in a preferred habitat: Coffee Shop

Watching Capitol Hill wake up with Cat Power as my soundtrack.

I wish I could capture these moments in some better medium than writing—the sounds of metal patio furniture, the subtle smell of newsprint on wet streets and the unhappy looks on everyone's faces.

I held the door at Le Bon Cafe and it confused the sleepy woman behind me.

In one soundless moment when our eyes met I could tell exactly what she was thinking: she believed I would let go and walk away the moment she trusted a stranger to help her cross the threshold with arms full.

And since I have plenty of time to hyper-analyze everything, I think that's a metaphor for my life right now. I'm always just about .5 seconds from bursting into tears, packing up shop, and heading back to Montgomery.

Some stubborn, stupid part of me that refuses to give up and knows how close I am to victory makes me stay.

I'm three hours early for an interview and loitering appropriately in a coffee shop. After being more than an hour late for two interviews in a row I've decided I'd much rather play it safe and be a few hours early than toy with traffic and parking. It's a wonder anyone here actually gets to their offices on time or how anyone accomplishes anything since it seems a majority of my time is spent dealing with the logistics of going from one place to another.

I sit with tea and try to be calm, try to think of the many things I want to say later and how I want to say them. I know I'm prepared and smart and having a good hair day, but this is the kind of position that I came to DC to get. And that makes me nervous. I tell myself to stop telling myself that I don't interview well.

I don't interview well.

I sit and I try to remain composed while people line up in front of me for their coffee but all I can think is "how much longer do I have to pretend to be a grown up before it starts getting easier?"

I will make a confession - since I'm Anglican and we don't like to do that behind screens - I have very prideful thoughts about being better than most of the people around me. It seems they have figured out that 90% of building a career has absolutely nothing to do with an actual work ethic or getting things accomplished, but on consistently selling themselves and their abilities to people who matter.

I've never operated that way.

Conversely, job hunting is a soul crushing exercise in resilience that I have no desire whatsoever to continue for a moment longer than I absolutely must.