When I first moved here in the fall of 1995, I had a fresh juris doctorate degree, a free place to stay even if it was in the hinterlands, and an optimistic belief that I’d easily snag a job with the EPA so I could follow my dreams (well, half-baked idea because everything else sounded so hideous) to practice environmental law. The next thing I knew, the government shut down not once but twice and I was trapped by a blizzard. What the hell IS THIS PLACE?! I didn’t understand what was going on, politics-wise or weather-wise. I was confused, I was jobless with no prospects, and I was stuck inside with the only walkable place to trudge to being a Hechingers. At least I could buy a shovel to clear a path … to nowhere.
Fast forward more than a decade and a half and I’ve boomeranged back to MoCo and managed to secure a government job. On Sunday, a fellow fed and I were discussing the impending shutdown. She insisted that it would happen. Burnt out by all the hype and cliffhangery last minute saves, I insisted that it wouldn’t. We bet $10 on the outcome. When I woke up, I first checked my e-mail and found that I’d been issued a PayPal invoice for $10. THAT was how I found out about the news. Gob-smacked. Faith-crushed. $10 poorer. Lucky for me, my particular government agency is still in business. It’s not that we are essential, it’s that we’re so paid.
As mosquito season melts into stinkbug season, here I am, plugging away at work while chaos reigns around me (friends out of work, protests galore, beloved panda-cam going dark). It was near 90 degrees today but my thoughts turn to winter. Assuming Congress straightens out its act before four weeks are up (which is when our reserves run dry), the only thing I have to worry about in the near future is a blizzard.