If you are a person who leads a relatively mediocre life, or who is prone to bouts of envy, might I suggest that attending a happy hour meetup of French speakers in the Washington, DC metro region may not be the best thing for you? Because everyone there is someone, and they are all doing cooler things than you. Case in point: the first conversation I had was with a twenty-something young woman who does international something and is traveling to Mali for work next week. Ok, not the best example; I missed a lot of details there.
But let's move on to conversation #2, which I had with a bubbly young industrial engineer with beginner French skills whose job sends her to France for 2-3 weeks out of every month. So, effectively, she splits her time between Paris, Nancy, and DC. Logistics aside, because I realize there are some serious downsides to that situation, which she was happy to enumerate for me, it still sounds like a pretty darn awesome opportunity for someone young enough to probably never have seen an episode of Seinfeld. "But oh, you can only work 35 hours a week there, at most, and how are you supposed to get any work done in only 35 hours? And oh, dating is so hard with this career; well, I do have a French boyfriend there, but he only speaks English to me," she lamented. I did my best to act sympathetic. I asked her if she had always wanted to do this, if foreign travel had always been part of her career plan. "Oh, no!" she enthused. "My boss just asked me if I wanted to, and...now I get paid to learn French and to travel!" Moving on.
Conversation #3 was with a leggy Rihanna lookalike who recently graduated from college, where she had played on the women's basketball team. Since graduating two months ago, she has been in DC working at the State Department. At the end of the summer she will move to Boston to attend a graduate program at Harvard. Her fellowship at Harvard will be entirely paid for by the Foreign Service, and at the end of the program, she will have a job with the Foreign Service. The very same Foreign Service, I should mention, whose entrance exam I recently failed. Yeah. That. Although, for all her apparent merits, this young prodigy did insist on informing me, multiple times, that Colgate University is located in Ithaca, New York, when in fact, I lived there, and it is not. I tried to gently correct her as to her error, telling her that actually, I lived there, and-- "No, Ithaca, New York," she interjected. "Er, yes, but," I said, "as I mentioned, I lived in Ithaca, and there are actually two colleges there: Ithaca College, and--" "Colgate," she interrupted again. "Cornell," I said, flatly. "Well," she said, waving her hand in the air, "somewhere around there." It was time for a new topic of conversation.
"Are you married?" she asked. "Oh, no, I'm not," I said. "Oh. All my friends are getting married," she offered. "All your friends who just graduated from college?" I asked. "Yeah," she said. It was time to move on.
Conversation #4: You know things are bad when talking to a judge fails to impress you. Oh, you're a judge? Cool. What else you got?
Then I went home and thought about where exactly my life went wrong. The end.