Looking For The Turning Lane Again

Image Once upon a time (almost ten years ago), I sat on a bed in a tiny third floor bedroom in a very tall house on a hill in New Hampshire. So much of right now is exactly the same as that sentence except the locale.

Anyways, on that night all those years ago, I was procrastinating another paper, pretending to prep to teach the next morning, and main-lining The West Wing with all the self control of a junkie sleeping on her dealer’s couch. It was 2006, and I was nearly finished with my MA in Literature. I was teaching my final classes of Freshman Writing. I was getting that horrific question from a lot of people: What are you going to do next?

In all honesty, I had no idea really. People say that silly things like TV don’t change lives but The West Wing changed mine. That spring I made the somewhat risky decision to throw caution to the wind, pack my bags, and move to DC where I would “change the world.” 

Because that is what we move to Washington for, gentle reader. It’s the only thing.

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help people. I spent a lot of time answering phones, making coffee and bribing other staffers with homemade baked goods in exchange for intern labor. And I spent a lot of time running through marble halls in high heels and saying prayers as I turned corners hoping not to wipe out.

I didn’t change any lives. I worked on Capitol Hill for a year and a half. I worked for a nonprofit for another year and a half. By the time my position there was “terminated” (that’s what they say when the job goes away and thus so do you), I was so done with DC I was gleeful to pack my belongings and my cat into a UHaul and head for Vermont. 

It’s been almost three years since I ran from public service, and I think I can finally admit it: I miss it.

The bottom of the inspiration barrel is mossy and slick, and I don’t like it at all. I think it’s time for me to go out and change the world again. How to do it is the real question I have to answer next.