I’m sitting in the lobby of the Washington Hilton, where President Reagan was shot, sipping on my second glass of Pinot Noir and chewing through a bowl of gourmet pretzels, the fat stubby kind, like the kind that might be stuffed with peanut butter if you had them somewhere else, in maybe a seedier place. Not here though. They’re salty and they are delicious. The actual bar is packed…and very, very loud. It’s filled with DC women too. Lots of them. And let me just say this…it’s 80 degrees outside and something about warm weather brings out the hot women in this town. But I’m in the lobby. I want to write. I want to have a glass of wine. And after that? I want to sleep. It’s a good feeling…I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Five years into marriage and things are good. I feel good. My brain recognizes situations I used to feel driven to be a part of that I don’t care about and it feels…good.
The bar is packed with what I assume are convention people. What is it about going to conventions and feeling like you have to wear your nametag even to the social events? I get that not everyone knows everyone else – but how is that different from real life? Should we all wear name tags? Makes no sense to me. Some girl just walked by organizing people to go out now. Ugh. It’s midnight for f-sake. What am I talking about? I’ve been that person before, true…more than once. More than 1,000 times probably. Just sounds so unappealing tonight. I guess it’s all the travel.
Two nights in a row I’ve sat in hotel bars in states where I don’t live watching the NBA playoff games …and been into it. Last night I was in St. Louis and watched Denver lose to the Lakers. I didn’t care who won; I feel an affinity towards both teams seeing as I’ve been a resident in both cities. Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers just lost to Orlando, and I was (kind of) pulling for Cleveland since, you know. I’m sort of an Ohio native. Did I really just say that? Kill me. Kill me now.
While I was on the plane today I had a unique slant on déjà vu. It was from 1998 when I was on my first big campaign. It was a federal race, one that was getting a lot of national attention because it was a special election in a targeted district, blah blah blah. I remember this woman came in from DC on behalf of the DCCC to check up on our race, make sure their investments were being wisely spent, all that. People flipped their shit when she got in the office. Now she was maybe 28. MAYBE 30. I was exactly 27. It wasn’t that she made people nervous that made her so interesting/appealing to me…it was that I figured that girl had to know something. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to know something too.
Important backstory – This was 1998 and I was nursing a rough breakup. My personal life was in shambles, my professional life was non-existent and I knew I needed to dig into both of them if I was going to get anywhere worth going in life. I had the chance to pick where I wanted to go for political work – stay in California or go to Hawaii or New Mexico. There were reasons I didn’t want to stay in California, reasons I didn’t want to go to Hawaii (believe me, they made sense at the time). Albuquerque…never been, I thought. All I could envision was me on a sand dune sitting Indian style and figuring out all my shit. Sounded like a winner.
Anyway…back to the girl in the campaign office. Right then I had this fantasy picture of what my life could be in politics (fair warning…this is silly…). Remember, most my friends didn’t go to college and my parents were teachers so I never entertained ideas about being a brain surgeon or a corporate litigator, etc. But I thought, what if I was the person that could be important enough to fly in to a place, talk on a cell phone, get everyone jumping, solve problems and then leave. That would mean I was specialized and valuable, wouldn’t it? (Obviously things I didn’t think about myself back then.)
Revelation. This week as I spent four days on five planes in four states meeting with state and national leaders it hit me. I’m that person that I thought about. Like I said, it’s a strange slant on déjà vu because I’m not feeling like I’ve been here before. I’m feeling like I wanted to be here before. And then irony strikes – now I don’t care.
Everything I do I do for Ava & Lily and my plan to build a career that supports their future. The needs of my ego were met, apparently, without my knowledge and have been put to bed…and the unfortunate part is that I didn’t get to throw a big HAHA! to anyone. I mean the truth of it all is that there is nothing interesting here. I’ve been working hard for over a decade so I should be where I am. Also true is that the most important thing to me is family. Now that work is good, I could give a fuck about work. I will exploit it to make it meet my family needs…not MY needs (big difference). Like I said…irony strikes.
By the way…I have never even heard of that woman again. Ha ha ha…
Some dapper black guy drinking blended daiquiris (out of a straw) and toting around a beat up looking white woman just requested the bartender turn the lobby bar tv to Sean Hannity – the poster boy of conservative talk shows. I always think of black conservatives as self-loathers and not all that educated. Truthfully, I always think of all conservatives as one of two things: 1) not all that educated or 2) not all that enlightened (big difference; there are lots of smart people who haven’t had a wealth of experiences or don’t spend time picking apart the personal reasons they think what they think). Those things transcend color/race/ethnicity. No educated, introspective, self-aware person with a sense of community has any business being a conservative. Think I’m wrong? Assess each criteria I just listed. Be honest. If you can’t identify the intersection, one of them applies to you.
Another black guy just came up and beat the guy down.
“Free country brother but I’m surprised you’re watching this show.”
“He makes Obama have to react. He makes him better.”
Not really, but whatever.
I haven’t been gone this long (for work) ever. Ava hasn’t wanted to talk to me on the phone, although she did tonight…I think because she knows I’m coming home. Lily is just realizing I’m not there and cries every time we talk, usually being able to choke out ‘I miss you daddy!’ and ‘I love you!’ I was in the national office on Monday and hit speaker phone right when Ava, in her higher than high voice squeaked out ‘Bye Daddy! I love you!’ Everyone in the office melted. Me too.
I just got a third glass of wine. Wine makes me feel good. It makes me feel grown up. It reminds me of food and just gives me an overall pleasant disposition. It’s different from other things I drink. I also don’t feel compelled to drink a ton of it, which is good. This will be it for me. Tomorrow I have a Political Directors meeting and then I go home. Dentist appointment and renewing my license on Friday…a couple calls…and then I am going to swim with my kids and hang out for the entire 3 day weekend.
Things are good.