I’m from a small town where the rooster and the train are competing on a daily basis to be your alarm clock. Where you get up and fire off your pickup and head off to school, work, or down to the local café where all the men gather round for their morning coffee. Where driving into town takes longer than driving through it.
DC is nothing like hometown Texas. You’re still waking up at 6 a.m. but it’s the trash truck slamming the dumpster 14 stories below, or maybe it’s someone hollering on the sidewalk that’s waking you up. If you’re wanting to get anything done in the morning you better take that wake-up call and get to it. Living at the Buchanan requires one to be ever conscious of time spent getting ready as four guys are needing in the same bathroom you’re in, so if you wake up late you’re going to be in the kitchen using the reflection in the microwave door to style your hair and shave. If you aren’t in the lobby by 8:10am, you’re going to be missing the train and you’ll be late; however, take the time to say bye to Roosevelt at the front desk before heading to the metro.
Once you get to work you have to go through security. For me this was a constant battle with the metal detector because it would detect something even though I emptied my pockets. I’m pretty sure the morning shift security guards hate me. After getting into the office and starting the coffee, setting out the newspaper, and logging into your computer the phone calls start rolling in. Just remember to be patient, be calm, and be that young respectful child your mama raised. Get used to the regular callers. These are the ones who you start worrying about if they haven’t called by the afternoon because they would’ve normally called hours ago.
Afternoons may consist of a Capitol tour. If your tour ends early, use this time to take advantage of being an intern and explore parts of the Capitol that the general public can’t go to. Find the tomb below the crypt where Washington was going to be buried, find the tunnels that run beneath the Capitol connecting the House side to the Senate, or stand on the Speaker’s balcony for a few minutes. But the best part of the day has to be when you’ve gotten back to the office and your office dog is so excited to see you. Be sure to treat her and take her on a walk.
Once the day wraps up and you leave the office take advantage of this time again and head over to the Capitol or to the Library of Congress to explore these historic buildings. Take the metro on back to the Virginia unless you’ve got a reception to attend which are probably going to be held in some of the hardest to find rooms of the Capitol. Back at the Buchanan, join the roommates who are now your family away from home for evening fun whether that be a meal share, workout, or a movie night. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour is pretty much a joke as you’re laughing and making bonds with guys that are going to be some good friends for life, after all you’re all Aggies so you’re just strengthening your familial bond.
Office of Congressman John Ratcliffe
Washington, D.C. | spring 2020