The Perks of Being a Washingtonian | The Washington Center

The Perks of Being a Washingtonian

In 1999, Stephen Chbosky released "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," a book that brought to light the type of person known as a "wallflower," someone who stands to the sides of life and prefers to observe things happening rather than being involved with it themselves.


I found this piece of literature extremely relevant to my life and appreciated the style of writing used: it is written as letters to an unnamed individual, the reader. This made me think, "What if I was able to write like that, but about a day in my life here in Washington D.C.?"


So, this is my story of being a Washingtonian, all the crazy things that happen in my life, and how I'm able to see them in a way that no one other than myself would normally be able to know.

Original cover for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

7:23 in the morning:

Dear friend,


I'm writing you because they said you were from here. They said you would be one of those people in this city who isn't lying and cheating to get what you want, like everyone does in "House of Cards." I hope you don't. Most people hate you Washingtonians for that.


I just woke up from my first alarm. I have two alarms: one now, and one at 7:53am. People always ask me "Why the weird number, why not just set it for 8am?" I tell them I don't know, maybe 23 and 53 are just underappreciated minutes on the clock. My roommates are at work already. I'm the late riser, so I always lock the door when I leave. But first, coffee. Always coffee. Probably an unhealthy amount of the black liquid that leaks from my Keurig each morning, but I admit it's one of my most prized possessions.


Love always,
Zach

9:04 in the morning:

Dear friend,


I was walking to the Metro this morning and two dogs were walking calm as can be. When they got about three feet from one another, they erupted into barking, snarling and biting little balls of fur and teeth. Then after three seconds, it was done. It reminded me how guy friends get into fights: they get really angry and violent for a very short period of time, but then it ends after a day or two as if nothing happened.


Before the Metro, I had to stop at the store for some coffee creamer so I could supply my addiction while at work. I really should stop drinking so much liquid caffeine. Once I got off at McPherson Square, after getting dripped on by window washers, I headed up the elevator of my building to the office.


I took one step out of the elevator before I heard Brandon (the president) shout "ZACH!!"...well, here goes nothing. He told me I'd be doing a lot of walking today for some court serves. I could only think "My legs are going to hate me, don't do this to us," but my mouth simply said, "Sure thing, Bossman." And that's how I always end up working so much.


Love always,
Zach

 

My version of a cover, inspired by Chbosky.

 

10:16 in the morning:

Dear friend,


I just got commended for being soccer-mom stern for the first time in my life. I called a court asking for an update on the status of some documents being pulled from the archives room. We have been waiting on these files for over a month now.


Instead of my standard little boy sweetness, I responded with some serious sass and said, "Well, we've been waiting on these documents since FEBRUARY sooooo...yeah if you could get those done, that would be very much appreciated" and then I hung up, followed quickly by a strong "ATTA BOY ZACH!" from my supervisor down the hall.


About three minutes later, another process server called Brandon saying that the guy she was trying to serve had just died 15 minutes beforehand. It was a bit awkward telling the nurses she was trying to serve court documents to a dead guy. Never a dull moment here. I'm going to go have one more cup of coffee before I head out to do my own serves now.


Love always,
Zach

 

2:19 in the afternoon:

Dear friend,


Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you. I've been busy calming my dad down. If you saw the news, you saw the lady who hit a cop car on the Capitol building grounds. I had time, so I walked over there and took a picture of where it happened.


My dad texted me asking if I had been hurt, since he tends to think anything that happens in D.C. happens to me. So, I usually have to show him that I didn't lose an eye and get captured by ISIS. While I was out, I got food...followed by more coffee. I really need to stop with the coffee. Tony (the CEO), says it affected his health and gave him mucus in his throat. This makes me worry because I've had the same stuff for about 5 months now.


Anyhow, I had some interesting serves today. I went to Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and they were unhappy to see me as always. I served a sports announcer his divorce papers. His face was a lot different after he saw what they were than what he normally looked like on TV. The most fun one was the restraining order I served. I showed up, but the recipient wasn't there, so I left a voicemail. It got interesting when he started calling me back knowing my name and the fact that I wasn't simply a "courier." Luckily, Brandon served him at a different address.


I finished the day copying affidavits into the computer system, then got sent to file some more affidavits after-hours. After-hours filings are good because I don't have to deal with people. This lets me get a lot more done than I normally would. Plus, I get to use a stamp machine. Stamp machines are fun. Very fun.


Love always,
Zach

6:45 in the evening:

Dear friend,


I got home from work and experienced the most magical sights and sounds that have ever graced my ears: my roommate cooking chicken and rice accompanied by the words "Do you want some dinner?" There is no greater sin in this life than to reject free food, so naturally I gobbled down every grain of rice that was on my plate. Following my meal, I tried having coffee, but I instead had Mountain Dew when my roommate threatened to smash my Keurig...I definitely have a problem. I sat down for a nice light viewing of four episodes of "House of Cards."


That show is making me feel some kind of way. It makes me think every politician is corrupt and selfish, and makes me want to go into politics at the same time. Maybe I have some weird attraction to power and backchannelling. Then again, that just might be the late-night caffeine talking. Either way, I feel like doing something I've never done before. I think I'm going to go run...here's to hoping I don't die.


Love always,
Zach

 

11:59 in the evening:

Dear friend,


This will be my last letter to you because I'm only writing to you about today and to write about tomorrow would be false advertising. I'm an honest person so I won't lie to you. But before I say goodbye, let me tell you about my run.


I left my apartment to go run. I was planning to go up and around the Capitol building, but something about tonight made me keep going. Maybe it was the fact that I looked up at the sky and could finally see the stars, something I had been longing to see for months. You see, a starry night sky is one of the most calming things to me. I suppose that calming feeling is what made my muscles feel at ease enough to find myself at the National Mall without even realizing I had run there. Once I got there, I thought to myself, "Why not go the whole way?" It was on this run that I felt infinite.


And so, that is why I'm sitting here on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, contemplating my time so far as a Washingtonian and how little time there is left. I'm realizing the things I have accomplished and the people I've met.


My friend, I have appreciated being able to have you to write to today. You have given me time to reflect more than any mirror could. You have made me realize what it means to feel infinite, and I want you to feel that way one day as well. So, I hope when you think of the nation's capital, you think of me, but not too much, because I'm only a small part of your much more important life. And thank you for being one of those people in this city that weren't lying and cheating to get what they want like everyone does in "House of Cards." I hope you never do. Most people hate Washingtonians for that.


Love always,
Zach

 

In closing:

To all those wallflowers out there, I thank you for reading and best of luck in finding that moment when you become...INFINITE.


Stay classy Washington
Zach


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