Tuesday, April 15, 2008

#11 Loving/Hating Tourists

If Hill People were Facebook friends with tourists, their relationship status would be classified as "It's Complicated."

Among the lower echelons of Congressional staff, about 60 percent of a Hill Person's duties involve constituent relations. People who call or write their senator or congressman are not normal people. They're needy, have too much extra time, and often chemically imbalanced. And what do these people often find would be a nice way to spend a week away from work? Why a trip to Washington, of course, where they can harass Hill People at their place of employment!

A Hill Person is often willing (and required by their employer) to answer phone calls, respond to flag requests, and address form letters to lonely constituents looking for meaning in the abyss that is the federal government. But when said constituent decides to hop on a plane and physically visit said Hill Person, the relationship becomes strained. Hill People would much rather sit at their desk and Gchat or read blogs than walk around the Capitol, performing the equivalent of herding cats through the corridors of history. Then again, a tour often gives a Hill Person a chance to get away from their normal workload and conduct themselves with an air of self importance. Hill People aren't used to other people listening to them, and tourists give them a chance to feel loved. Hence, the love-hate relationship.

Despite the provision of Capitol Hill Fun Time by tourists, their presence still causes deep insecurities to bubble up among Hill People. Tourists, with their lemming-like manners, digital cameras, and CIA shirts, subconsciously remind Hill People of what they used to be, long, long ago (aka two months prior when they first moved to Washington, after spending the summer after college backpacking through Europe). After all, when they were new to DC, they didn't know the quadrant system, where the White House is, or that you should ABSOLUTELY NEVER stand on the left side of the Metro escalator. Deep down, Hill People remember this version of themselves, and it makes them absolutely sick. Therefore, they project this self-hatred of their former self on to tourists.

Still, Hill People know (or are constantly reminded) that these tourists are the same constituents whose tax money pays their meager salaries and inject massive amounts of money into the Washington economy. Therefore, they will always walk this tightrope between reluctant acceptance and absolute spite -- very similar to how they feel about their own careers and self-worth.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

vaguely funny stuff-- ditch the self-loathing, bitter tone though.

Anonymous said...

This one was missing something...

Anonymous said...

hilariously funny and right on...if any person on the Hill wasn't a tiny bit self-loathing and bitter, they'd be working in the private sector actually making something of their life, rather than pedling propoganda of greedy politicians.

Anonymous said...

right...versus peddling the propaganda of greedy corporations?

Nope- been there- done that. The private sector is far more greedy, discriminatory and motivated by self serving interests than the public sector is. It's an honor and a privilege to serve the people of this great country.

Try a job where you serve others, instead of just yourself, then maybe you'll understand how fulfilling it can be.

Anonymous said...

Here here!

Anonymous said...

when you and your tour are in the House Gallery and they ask you about a model chocolate Capitol Building that some cook on the Food Network made, they deserve to be loathed

Anonymous said...

Speaking of tours, I always tell folks that the model Capitol in the basement of the Cannon building is made entirely of sugar.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this blog is written by a liberal elitist. You should be fortunate you have a job on the Hill!

Anonymous said...

Why? Cause they were elected into office and control the government right now? Sounds like a good workplace environment for a liberal.

Besides, this blog isn't about politics. It's about celebrating the mundane.

RMI said...

The fact is, if youve ever worked in DC, this blog is spot on and hillarious, regardless of your politics. Sure... its not all literalyy true, but what satire is... come on people!

Anonymous said...

Wait, was liberal elitist guy above satire? It just occurred to me that they may have actually been serious despite the obvious logical holes made in the statement.

Anonymous said...

If you can't laugh at yourself it must be pretty miserable. I was an intern this summer and everything that's said is so perfect. I choose not to be offended!