|From 2008 10|
He cursed the 30 bus line again. Joel knew he shouldn't have been tempted by the chance to have a garden and live near Whole Foods for under $1,500. It meant giving up living near a metro stop and instead having to depend each day on the erratic bus service. John Catoe could say all he want about improving performance, but it still seemed like every day three buses came at the same time and it was worse odds than the DC lottery to figure out which one might get him to the cubicle on K street faster. And then once on, he had to decide whether to force one of the priveleged kids to get up so he could sit by the window. The chances were always better with young women that they might move over to let him sit down, but they might also want to chat. He knew he was just what most of these bright young women wanted: handsome, dressed in a suit, wearing the requisite blackberry on the belt and under 40. But, he didn't want them and indeed after 15 years in DC, he'd lost patience for having the encouraging conversations about their futures while subtly making sure they understood he was gay.
Nevertheless, with his Ipod plugged in, and his hand carrying the blackberry, he figured it was worth the risk. He went up to one of the blondes, nodded at the seat by the window, and watched her sigh and move over. He nodded thanks. He kept his eyes on the scrolling blackberry screen while he thought about his latest conversation with Jackson. Jackson, a state department worker, was both married and in the closet. And he lived in the Virginia suburbs and pretended to be a republican when the republicans were in control. It was such the DC cliche that Joel even thought about him. After dating Navy officers, Republican Hill Rats, committed non-profit activists who couldn't ever pay for dinner, he should have just stopped talking to Jackson once he came clean. But in contrast to all those others, Jackson was different in one way crucial way: he wasn't an idiot.
Joel, like most people who stay and live in DC longer than five years, had come firmly to the conclusion that most people who want to work in DC are foolish. In addition, he knew most of them would leave. Like other DC residents, most of his best friends had moved other places. Those who loved the outdoors were in one of the Portlands depending upon the predilections. Others got lured to Chicago for some job in the arts where the MacArthur money was dependable and they didn't have to work for the feds. The straight ones didn't necessarily move out of the time zone, they just set up their houses in the suburbs that required a car to get to and then produced the requisite duet of children. Joel found himself turning down most of their invitations.
As the bus finally freed itself from the traffic disaster of the mall known as Georgetown, Joel realized it was time to focus on work. He was going to make it just in time for the latest meeting with the marketing team that was doing pro-bono work for the non-profit, Save Our Generation, where Joel had worked for the last five years doing membership development. He knew they were going to suggest a new name. SOG just didn't work as an acronym and the effort to use SaveOG or S-Our-G had all brought nothing but endless mocking within the organization. After the finance department head had been convicted of skimming money, the non-profit bloggers were going wild on the name. Joel thought for a second about life without the web and got off the bus.