The last time I arrived in DC the city was also gearing up for an inauguration, but the similarities pretty much end there.
It was late 2004, and I pulled into the District fresh off Sen. Tom Daschleâ€™s losing re-election campaign in South Dakota with all of my worldly possessions crammed into my dingy little Sentra. I was 22 and broke, with no job and no prospects, but I had found an apartmentâ€”a rowhouse with barred windows and unreliable plumbing at 6th and G NE that I shared with my college roommate and somebody else weâ€™d gone to school with.
Nobody was hiring Democrats then. The GOP had strong majorities in both the House and the Senate, and Dubya had just defeated wooden dildo John Kerry to win another four years in the White House. Dems had so little political currency then that you couldnâ€™t even get an interview in the District with names like Daschle and Edwards on your resume.
So, I did what any enterprising young lady would do in my situationâ€“I got a job as a sales clerk at Victoriaâ€™s Secret in Union Station, helping Senate staffers whose jobs I desperately wanted figure out if we had the black one in their cup size, and biting my tongue to avoid telling the more amply-built women from the neighborhoods north and east of us who asked if we carried anything in 44-GGG that for the kind of support they were looking for theyâ€™d probably have more luck at Home Depot than Victoriaâ€™s Secret.
Now itâ€™s 2009, and Iâ€™m arriving in DC in a decidedly different style. I still have the Sentra, bless itâ€™s little heart, but itâ€™s parked behind my house in Santa Monica and Iâ€™m on a plane, flying in to DCA to attend Barack Obamaâ€™s Inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. Iâ€™m a million miles away from where I was in 2004, and yet Iâ€™m coming back to the exact same place.
Iâ€™m a little bit apprehensive that once I get off the plane Iâ€™ll realize I made a huge mistake leaving DC. The city certainly feels a lot different when your party controls the House, Senate and White House and youâ€™re in a position financially to rent an apartment where water doesnâ€™t come pouring through the bathroom ceiling every time it rains. On the other hand, the weather is still crap, everyone still works way too hard, and Georgetown is still full of collar-popping douchbags and overpriced, watery martinis.
I have a wonderful life in LA, and I wouldnâ€™t trade it for anything. But coming back to DC in another year, for another inauguration, itâ€™s hard not to wonder what might have been.