Victoria picked me up from work yesterday to go celebrate my new job. We went to the Hawk and Dove on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The bar, tiny and dim as it is, was full of Hill staffers laughing, sipping cocktails and exchanging business cards. We squeezed through the crowd and ordered drinks at the bar.
“What you drinking?” I yelled, standing almost cheek-to-cheek with her as the bar tender took our orders.
“Girl you know me. Ginger ale,” she said.
“One ginger ale, one rum and coke,” I ordered.
We collected our drinks and moved further into the room, careful not to spill as people bumped against us.
“You up here with the big dogs now!” Victoria said, raising her glass.
“Cheers!” I touched my glass to hers. “God is good!”
“How you gon’ mix liquor and the lord?” she laughed.
“Shit was mixed long before I got it.” The majority of the crowd around us was white, mostly young, mostly male.
“So, what’s ole girl like? You get to talk with her yet? Her ass looks mean. I figure she’ll see your little innocent-looking ass and have a field day.”
Victoria had told me stories about when she worked for the D.C. City Council. She said there was always drama with the elected officials trying to get away with stuff they knew was wrong – sliding a contract to a friend, calling some agency head to hire a friend or a friend’s kids, using a tax-payer-funded credit card for personal care. She said I should set some goals for what I plan to get out of this job because in politics, everybody’s got an agenda, everybody’s got a plan, and I better have one, too.
“I’m on the lord’s time, the lord’s dime,” I said with a wink. “I’m going to help the sister get her messages out, tell her story her way. That’s it.”
The room felt electric, abuzz with energetic men and women dressed in conservative blue, black, and brown suits. Some of the women sported high heels. Most wore ponytails or short haircuts.
“You see how they carrying it, don’t you,” Victoria said, surveying the room. “Everybody up in here is working the room, working their own agenda. You got your bid-ness cards yet?”
“We ordered them,” I said. She nodded.
“How you feel? You ready?”
I gave her my best impression of Muhammad Ali bobbing and weaving in the rink.
“I got this,” I lsaid.
“Girl, what I tell you bout them little dick beaters? You better keep ‘em in your pocket somewhere before somebody snatch ‘em off you!”
- Have you ever been in a situation where your conscious would not allow you to go along with the crowd? (This could have been when you were in school, a family situation or on a job)
- How did you handle it?
How could you manage even better in the future?