Monday, July 16, 2012


Young, rich, glamorous, pretty people -- that's what the crowds are, at happy hour in the nation's capitol, and the seven counties that surround it.

It's a new generation of men, women, singles, married or going-together, who are enjoying the fashionable restaurants and bars, theaters, speakeasies, hot spots, spas, salons, gyms, new businesses that are opening practically every day.

UBER can get you there, anywhere, wherever you are in the mood to go. Even as the nation struggles, it's good times, the good life for the young hipster crowd in Washington DC nowadays.

The guy who wrote about this for Time Magazine, quoted a joke about Miami: "'It's nice, because it's so close to the United States," and added, "Well, Washington is very nice these days."

People have money. They're working. The unemployment rate is around 5.5%, though the national average is about 8.2%0. DC has passed San Jose in Silicon Valley to become the richest metropolitan area in the U.S. The median household income in the metro area over $84,523, nearly 70% over the national median household income of $50,046.

UBER, a web-based, cashless California limo service has just launched UBER in San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia. Customers just call in with a smart-phone app and pay with a credit card on file, the way most hipsters pay for most everything else today.

Who are the hipsters?

They are more or less "contractors." Thanks to massive outsourcing by the Clinton and Bush administrations, there are probably two government contractors for every worker directly employed by the government.

D.C. is one of the few places where a liberal-arts major with no particular skill, can get a job. Colleges and universities have learned to run sophisticated internship programs designed to place their graduates, and soon-to-be graduates. "Interns" are often underpaid, usually overworked and frequently subsidized by their parents.

They've brought the college lifestyle with them -- group houses, hookups, late-night cram sessions, and lots of drinking.

Happy hour is how you meet people, get jobs, find roommates, get job tips. Actually drugstores in the area have been devoting more and more shelf space to condoms, pregnancy tests, diapers, and Pedialyte, (its supposedly a hangover cure.)

According to Time, Washingtonians are skinnier, exercise more, eat more vegetables, and are more likely to have health insurance than the average American. They're also more optimistic -- about the economy and about the future in general.

Whoopee! Want to be an intern? Just pack your essentials and non essentials. You can transport everything and make the move in comfort. Just phone UBER.

Does what I'm saying sound like an ad for boozing, and amusing yourself with doing nothing?

I don't think life in Uberland is grand -- I think it's quicksand.


Ameer S. Washington said...

Maybe it's quick sand, maybe it's not. These days more people live fast, even outside of the criminal world. This is how young professionals operate these days and life seems more like a party more often than not.

My fear for America isn't this neurotic community of people. It's some of the older more powerful members of our society confirming and catering to it. I wanted a tougher meaner America back home where calling a kid lazy isn't a crime. I want us to be at the forefront of innovation and export more than we import. I want the world again to need this country for more than military protection. That will only last for so long as the Romans have.

This doesn't scare me because the hippies brought forth the baby book with their pot smoking, little fan driving, sex having, don't give a damn attitudes that ushered in some of the greatest progress and productivity this country has ever seen. Problem is their retiring, and will this new group be able to do the same in this new climate. Time shall tell.

Carola said...

There was a recent book or article that pointed out that interns in DC have rich parents, because they are paid so little that they need to be subsidized in order to live in DC. Because they gain experience as interns, these interns have a better chance of moving up in the policy leadership world than do people who have had to work at salary paying jobs in order to support their life in DC. This may mean that the people who grow into policy leadership roles really don't know what it's like in the working class world.

Anonymous said...

I live in a college town so it is common to have parties, bar hopping, young goings on all the time. It must be nice to just call up UBER and get a ride everywhere!
An UBER LIFE doesn't sound too exciting or worthwhile to me-I'm a stay at home enjoy the simple things kind of person. kam

Gary Lynn said...

Living in the belly of the beast. What do you expect. When in Rome.......

All true. Ii spent two months there this spring. Just step over the black dude who owns the doorstep space on Pennsyvania near the Newseum.

Another thing. We live in a cyberf world that won't allow me to give my REAL name as a URL. Something about the word cokc, I guess. In the dictionary. Male bird I thought. I know I am. A lawyer in the house? This is discrimination.

Anonymous said...

I've got to admit it--I never heard of a UBER, but I live a quiet and sheltered life.

It greatly concerns me that we seem to have more and more people out there who are being paid to flit around and pretend to be important, while actually doing nothing but texting and flapping their mouths to other people who also do nothing text and flap their mouths. Probably the biggest growth industries will be in psychiatry and pills to treat these folks, because they will definitely end up with no self-respect, and no sense of self-worth.

We used to make things in this country.

Anonymous said...

I agree with A.S.Washington. The hippies grew up and into hard working people.
I want Canada to join the U.S. as world leaders in innovation, and export as much as we import.
Given the cheap labour in China and India, innovation and adaptation are the only hope for prosperity in North America.
As to good times in Washinton, the only thing that stays the same, is change. The good times could disappear in a blink.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Unknown said...

I am in no way, shape or form in that age group, nor do I live in DC.

When I was in that age group, a million years ago, that never would have been of interest to me at all. I lived in NYC. I worked very hard at a career. I had a lot of fun when I wasn't working. But, I can tell you that what you are describing, sounds so shallow and absurd. I can't imagine in a million years, that I would have been attracted to living that kind of life style.