I moved to Washington just over four years ago, to work on Capitol Hill for a member of the House of Representatives.
I came to the Hill fairly ignorant about federal politics, beyond what I read in the papers. And I was suddenly surrounded by 22- and 23-year-olds who drank like fish and took the ridiculous hours in stride because they didn’t know any better and because they could still rally at that age.
The other big challenge I faced on the Hill is that it’s easy to gin up righteous indignation and man the ramparts when you’re a true believer. And though I have always worked for Republicans, I am and have always been a Dem. So. I didn’t agree with the Member on Iraq or Afghanistan, but I flacked those views because that was my job. But after a while, it got harder to hide the eye rolls.
There were other reasons I struggled in the job, reasons I won’t go into here, but it’s safe to say that I realized I wasn’t in a good environment and I was grateful for the opportunity to move to my current job, where the pay is good, the hours are fine, and the bosses are, for the most part, sane.
I learned a lot on the Hill, but the thing I wouldn’t trade in a heartbeat will be celebrated again tonight, as it is every month, this time at a French bistro on Connecticut Avenue.
Jason and I met because we were fellow press secretaries for members in the same party, from the same state. We clicked and started having dinner once a month — Jason would pick the restaurant and I would pay one month, and then we’d switch roles for the next month.
I think we did our dinners for a bit more than year before John came into Jason’s life. For a while, we made John a regular guest star, putting him on an every-other-month schedule. But at this point, he’s made it clear he’s in it for the long haul, so shortly after he and Jason set up housekeeping, John got a regular invitation and a spot in the restaurant-picking rotation.
Our latest addition is Kate, my first Washington, DC, friend and Hill co-worker. Kate, in addition to knowing my heart and my soul, takes the pressure off of me, entertaining Jason more than I do and helping me feel less like a third wheel at these dinners.
And tonight, because Kate was in the home district, Jason and John and I were joined by the wonderfully frank and funny Marissa, also a former colleague, and her lovely boyfriend, Mike. We had a wonderful dinner, full of laughter and good food and toasts to all of us.
I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever go back to the Hill. Ever. But I’ll fight to the death to hold on to the dear darling friends I made there. Love you kids!