Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Capital Musings

I was sitting in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station waiting to meet a friend earlier today. There's almost a constant throng of people moving through there. People in suits, people with luggage, people with some place to go, quickly. Even the birds that soar overhead in the main lobby of the building seem to be rushing to some unknown destination. There's no stopping to breathe, there's money to be made somewhere, and I'm not making it.

Some of these people I probably 'competed' against yesterday at a career fair at the Verizon Center. When I say competed, I don't really mean competed, just that we are vying for the same thing: a career with a sports and/or entertainment company. We all have 30 seconds to talk to a particular employer and really 'wow' them. Is that really even possible? I felt crappy leaving the career fair yesterday because I felt like I didn't really wow anyone, but then I think, if it were me that was the employer, would I even remember someone 'memorable' if they were drowned in a sea of 100 other mediocre applicants? That's some relief, I suppose, but it also means that I have to let my resume doing the talking for me now. And that can be another form of discomfort.

Exiting the Metro at Chinatown (the Verizon Center exit) today, I got stuck behind a group of college-age looking girls, no doubt carrying tickets to the Britney Spears concert there tonight. One of them was telling the others how proud of herself she was that she had finally learned how to smoke cigarettes during the day. What does that even mean? And who the hell brags about it or even tells others? Are these the type of people that are getting jobs and keeping me out of one? If that is what people are like nowadays, does it make me out of touch to think that bragging about smoking during the day is lame?

I was going to sit in Union Station amongst the crowds and write this blog post, sipping my hot beverage and typing on my computer at a table in Starbucks, just like the people I railed against in a recent podcast episode. But I didn't, I decamped to a different place, a wonderful place. I am sitting in the enclosed courtyard of the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery and museum of American Art, one of our country's most important collections of any type.

Gone are the bustling hordes, all dressed in their business suits and rushing off to make that money I'm not making. In its place are quiet limestone walls protecting our nation's cultural heritage, the soft flowing of water over the floorstones, and the gentle of hum of respectable people walking slowly, with almost a sense of reverence, through the courtyard.

I feel different from yesterday; I feel inspired.