That used to be me sitting at the table in the upper right of this photo. The woman being jostled by photographers is the official Senate court reporter assigned to this hearing, and that’s what I did 3 days a week for most of my adult life. When Congress wasn’t working – which is a lot of the time, ya know – I’d work in the federal courts or really anywhere a transcript was needed, but the halls of the Senate and House were where I spent waaay too much time, and I’m happy to report that that chapter of my life is over, finished, kaput.
Kaput? Yes, unfortunately the company I worked for went belly-up last month, which was a very sad thing for its other employees and I hate to seem callous but personally I just feel FREE AT LAST. Yeah, instead of taking jobs with other court reporting agencies I’m making the break to get my second career off the ground – in gardening. Isn’t that the dream, to turn your passion into a career? Well, I’d never dreamed I could do it but it’s looking awfully promising, thanks to this blog.
This humble blog, you see, resulted in my being offered the 4-month contract I now have to write for and organize the DC Master Gardeners. (I’d written several posts about the program and it turns out the powers that be saw them and liked what they saw.) And the first thing I did for DC Master Gardeners was to create a website, which also serves as a newsletter, and because I’m being paid to write the site and it uses a blog program, I guess that makes me a professional blogger! Take that, you ignorant blog-bashers.
But back to my preblogging days, before I was discovered. I don’t expect too much sympathy for the day-job-I’d-come-to-hate because, after all, it was a part-time job that paid the bills, plus it could be so damn interesting. I worked for the grand jury hearing the Monica Lewinsky case and the congressional staffers investigating, most recently, the Katrina response. I worked with celebrities giving their depositions, testifying in Congress, or meeting as the Board of the AFI. I had a few junkets, like accompanying senators grandstanding around their states or far better, a stint at the World Court in The Hague. I had assignments everywhere from D.C.’s morgues and prisons to the Roosevelt Room of the White House to the very best hotels. The Nation’s Capital, top to bottom.
But despite the occasional dose of excitement, the day-to-day reality meant spending too much time in that bastion of incivility and corruption, the U.S. Congress. I often thought of the popular bumper sticker “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention,” wishing I had the option to just tune the bastards out. But lacking that option, outrage became mine, seasoned with a big dollop of cynicism.
And now that’s all behind me. Today I happened to see a senator on the news acting like a major jerk and I wasn’t filled with dread at the thought of having to be charming to him the next week in his committee room. Ah, freedom.Tweet