Friday, May 30, 2008

Held Hostage

Remember when cellphones were supposed to be a convenience? Well, the ability to be accessible to everybody in the world every moment of the day has lost its allure. Nobody even complains about them anymore, or rather, their obnoxious users. But allow me. I can't count the number of times I have been held hostage to some idiot's phone call. At the supermarket, when one inevitably comes upon somebody yapping into their phone, oblivious to others around them, at least you can move away. But standing in line at the bank or the DMV or the post office, there is no escape. I am held hostage by the inconsiderate ramblings of strangers who feel no hesitation in forcing me to eavesdrop onto their private lives.

I often feel like a hostage on our metro (subway) system. Sometimes, it's the cellphone abuser described above. But just as often, I am held hostage by DC teen-agers who feel completely entitled to show off to each other by shouting, cursing, and otherwise demonstrating the total failure of the DC public school system. I suppose I should be more charitable in my reactions to their rude, obnoxious behavior; they are only acting the way they have observed their parents behaving. And when I am finally released from their presence, and am making my way up the escalator to the outside world, I sometimes wonder what that outside world has in store for these children. What will happen to these woefully uneducated youngsters who will have a high school diploma but will certainly not have a high school education? Where will they find jobs, when they cannot speak their native English language?

I'm being held hostage by this city, too. I've lived in DC almost 13 years, and have come to the realization that I don't really like it here. Much of the time, I actively hate it here. I hate the long, sweaty summer weather, I hate the mismanagement of the city's government, I hate the invasion of the tourists, which happens every year from March through October. I even hate my mail man. He yaps on his cellphone while sorting the mail for our 22 unit condo complex, and because of his inattention to the job I am paying him for, our mail is consistently misdirected.

I should move, of course, but, once again, I am being held hostage. I get just enough work in my chosen career to keep me here. At this point in my life, I don't feel up to the challenge of starting all over in a new city, so, as long as the occasional acting gig pops up, I'm stuck here in DC.

Held hostage by my own decisions.