Winter this year has been a real beast so it has been somewhat surprising to see the weather change for the better in the last week or two. Unfortunately, this changing of seasons didn’t exactly coincide with the absence of two groups of people who occupy the city on a temporary basis that I have, in my 12 years here, come to despise sufficiently enough to look forward to their absence. The nicer weather has drawn in yet other groups who I had completely forgotten about who have managed to return and add to the levels of suckyness that exsist between September and April.
Group one is (college) students. While often visually appealing this group stinks of the suburbs and miguided childhood experiences makeing them ill-suited for life in the city. Frequently this has something to do with parking their volvos or range rovers in a manner consistent with existing regulations or guiding them to their destinations without incident and while not carrying on a conversation telephonically. Nevermind the issues that arrive while they engage in banter regarding the latest musical stylings or who passed out in which gutter when in the past week. I know this life all too well for my 4-10 years as a member of this group and so it is for this reason that as a regular resident occupant of the city I have come to loath and despise the college crowd. They are also frequently in my way when I am cycling home from work now on the footbridge and while it is clearly not a good idea to bring glass bottles to the river they are often seen in groups carrying whole coolers at times to spend hours mindlessly wasting away in a natrual setting polluted by their very presence.
Group two is the general assembly and it was unfortunate that this year they worked clear until the end of VCU’s spring break averting any possibilty of the covergence of both of their absences simultaniously. This group is somewhat less irritating to the general population of richmond as their presence here is short lived before they return to their respective districts to manage their plantations (hence their part-time status) but is similarly irritating for reasons not unrelated to those brought here by college students. The members of the GA may in fact be worse as they tend to employ the lowliest of beings, the political intern which tend to be comprised of members of group one essentially magnifying their suckyness. While some may preceive their actions as “ambicious” or “motivated” your classic “go-
getters” I find, again from personal experience having been a GA intern, that their percieved ambiciousness is little more than misguided self-importance. Comments like “HBxxxx is doomed for failure, Del. So and so has indicated that he is simply posturing on the measure.” are really examples of their attempts to posture on their status amongst their peers and are frequently representative of nothing more than an older, wiser, member of their peer group manipulating the situation to their advantage on behalf of their delegate. All of this while dressed in business clothing that clearly exceeds their income levels and is more representative of the income of their parents. While it is true you will find dedicated, articulate, and insightful staff I found most of these interns realize that the Virginia general assembly is a body composed of aging jurassics whose views tend to represent a view of the world more akin to what they knew in their childhood rather than in modern civilization and that continued dedication in this arena would restrict them to a lifetime of 8 months a year as a sounding board for regional loudmouths and 4 months a year politically inbreeding in Richmond with other self important interns with similar worldviews and so the good ones move on.
So it was unfortunate that this year the two groups weren’t out of town for the same week as whereever I cycled I managed to be obstructed by one group or the other. Regular commutes on one hand had been free and clear last week and while this week lunch lines have dwindled down for the rest of us pathetic sobs who mull around downtown on nice days and winter crushers alike last week was one filled with the ambitions of snooty interns from the far flung districts of the commonwealth jostling for their literal positions in the lunch line and their figurative positions amongst their small clique. Not unlike the peleton, a small misstep can lead to disasterous consequences if you don’t stand lockstep with those in front and behind you and it is this lack of genuine independence combined with perceived entitlement that drives me mad. One cannot walk in line with their expected rank yet assume privledges only bestowed upon those who have acheived some noteriety and in my eyes it is the townie, the yocal, and the stoop wrangler who have put in the hard work that entitles them to the benefits and privledges our city affords us rather than the infrequent visitor who comes here for their paycheck, to legislate, to obtain education, or to feel self important amongst a group of people who consider themselves of higher improtance than the commoner anyway. It is the “team rider” who deserves the praise for the hard work required to make it possible for the superstar to shine yet infrequently recognition gets bestowed upon them while even marginal actors like interns seek to claim some limelight that they should not be entitled to. So goes the story of our city as a host to so many people of all types and the provider of residence to those who seek nothing more than the opportunity to enjoy her history, embrace, and dynamic essence. Stand firm Richmond as a beacon of light for the entirety of the commonwealth and you will one day find your place as the leader of the peleton of cities. To turn our tide we must simply continue to embrace our role without the imposition of our superior status as the capital of the commonwealth on the visitors from the far flung hinterlands who come to be with us. Perhaps in time their season too will change and appreciation for our city will grow to be consistent with the significance that was curated on our behalf beginning hundreds of years ago.