A Bittersweet Birthday

Just like Mayor-for-Life Marion S. Barry, ‘Da bitch set me up!’

Yeah, I get Vodka-Happy too easy these days
Let the celebrations begin!
Karen & Sabeans thinking over my friendship
Karen and Sabina feel my pain

I’ve been waiting to write this update until I had news to share about my move back to Washington DC, and after the three great interviews I had last week (two for cool jobs that are both dream jobs for me, and one for a dream room in a friend’s house), I felt I would be shouting words of joy by now. By the title of this update you can tell I’m not all that joyous on my 28th birthday.

The two job interviews were for several hours each, with one job focusing on building the capacity of a membership organization by teaching website writing skills to its members and the other job focuses on awarding grants to Russian organizations trying to effect change in that once-great land.

I’m at a loss to choose between the two downtown DC jobs, if/when I am offered the positions, for they are both so cool yet so different.

The website teaching job would be the culmination of my efforts over the last five years to move out of back-office accounting and into program management, while the grant manager job would keep me in international circles and fly me to Russia, all expenses paid. So far, I haven’t heard a word from either of them, which makes me squirm in sweet anticipation.

I have heard from the housing interview I had last week, and it was a painful shock. Four years ago, a friend of mine from University, let’s call her Mary, was moving to big, bad DC from a small, sweet Florida town and I went out of my way to make her transition to Washington smooth and successful.

First, I kicked out housemates in my group house to make room for her, and even gave her my room for a month so she would have plenty of time to look for a place that suited her style. Then I introduced her to all my friends, giving her an instant social life she was hoping for after too long in backwater Florida. Finally, I went out of my way to support her whenever city life got her down and made an effort to brighten her office with letters and postcards from afar.

Now that I am back in Washington DC looking for work to support my wife at her very expensive English University, I turned to Mary for help in the competitive DC housing scene.

First I asked to spend three days on her couch while I interviewed for much-needed jobs, and she waited till the day of my flight to DC to refuse me. Then, when she had an opening in her spacious house, she left me to find out by recognizing her number in the newspaper. Finally, I hoped she would remember all the help I gave her and how fun & clean I am to live with, and welcome me with open arms, but I was wrong.

I was wrong to think that past favors and sacrifices counted. I was wrong to feel those eight years of long talks, late-night calls, intimate letters, and wild parties mattered. I was wrong to believe in our friendship.

Actually, I am glad she gave me such a rude awakening. It’s when you’re in need that you find out who your friends are in deed, and I have. I am now living on
Sabina’s couch, a true friend’s couch, in her tiny one-bedroom apartment while I search for a place.

Like I said, it’s a bittersweet birthday.