Michelle introduced me and told everyone to tell something about themselves besides just their name. I couldn’t take my eyes off Billy, who was settled back into the couch with one foot crossed over his knee, pen in hand, yellow legal pad balanced on his knee. He was well-bred white, but rugged, some kind of city-cool. Brown, curly hair, yellow polo shirt, jeans and black loafers. He was wearing a suit jacket when I saw him before the meeting, but looked even more attractive without it.
“I’ve been with Madame Senator five years. I love helping the constituents who call in asking Madame Senator to show up at their event to attract the media will, or to write a letter for their event souvenir programs to lend legitimacy,” Sandra said. “I’m just here for the people,” she concluded. “That lady’s got no respect for me and if she comes at me one more…”
“Ok. I think R.C. gets it,” Michelle interrupted. When I met her a couple years ago through my little brother, I told her I was proud that she was rising through the ranks in the office of a woman I admired much. She had shrugged off the compliment, and now, watching how calm and confident she is, I’m even more proud of her. I noticed the trinkets on her desk as I walked past this morning – a ceramic plaque that reads: “When the prayers go up, the blessings come down,” a figurine of a church-dressed woman lifting her hands in praise, and a flowing plant.
“No. Let me tell this poor woman what she’s gotten herself into. She might as well know up front…” Sandra continued.
“We don’t want to chase her away. You know how hard it was to get somebody to take that job. Now, hush it up,” Michelle said, making others giggle.
“R.C. welcome. I’m Garrett. I worked as a construction site manager out in Arizona before I came here. My friend owned the company, needed a manager and told me to wing it. I did for a while, then hitch-hiked across country looking for a new adventure, wound up in the nation’s capital, needed a job, and ended up here,” a short, White guy with shiny black hair and an infectious smile said. His wrinkled button up blue shirt, faded, wrinkled black khakis, and scuffed brown shoes said he just didn’t give a damn. He rode to work on a bike this morning. Came in wearing tennis shoes, carrying a bag and a helmet. Hung his suit jacket on the coat rack.
“Garrett, you had done some impressive work with the ex-offender population and in the courts system back in Arizona. Don’t make it sound like you were some clown we just picked up,” Michelle said. “Tell her what your G.P.A. was all through college.”
Billy told how he worked as a bartender after college, decided to go to law school, and then landed a job working for a City Councilwoman in the District of Columbia. After his boss lost her re-election bid, he applied for the Legislative Director opening in Senator Jackson’s office, and he’s been here two years. He said he didn’t know anything about Jackson’s state, the tiny state of Vas Calucca, in the mid-west, when he started, but now he knows too much.
“Billy helped draft the legislation to build our new world-class shopping mall, the first mall ever funded by and benefiting private investors and taxpayers,” Michelle said. “Madame Senator hires only the best, R.C., and we’re happy you’ve joined the pack.”
“Glad to be here. Looks like exciting work,” I said. “I am a Vas C. native. I’ve admired Madame Senator since before she was elected to Congress. Of course I voted for her, too, to become the second African American woman in the Senate. Working with her will give me an opportunity to offer more support of her work…”
“Girl please. You’re not on an interview. You got the job,” Michelle interrupted. “Tell them about you!”
I laughed, glad she broke the ice.
“I like writing, love writing. Looking forward to helping Madame Senator get her message out. I worked for her before in her District office, as some of you know. But I here The Hill is a little different…”
“Understatement!” one of the guys yelled from the District Office.
I chuckled and continued. “I did some reporting and managed a small newspaper back home and one up here…”
“R.C. is also a playwright,” Michelle interrupted again. “She wrote that play Till We Meet Again, back home. We are happy to have her. Madam Senator’s quite impressed with her work, and I know her work ethic ‘cause I’ve seen her do her thing over the years.”
“A playwright? Oh, yippie. What we have here is a tragedy of Shakesperian proportions,” one of the guys said through the speakerphone. “Mid-west colony denied basic human rights, used as scientific testing site…”
“O.k. you’re about to get cut off,” Michelle said.
- Think fast! In one word describe yourself.
- In the next few days ask three to five of your friends to describe you in one word. Did one word come up more than once? Do you agree with your friends’ characterization of you?
- Would you like to change the first word that comes to mind when describing you? Why/why not?