This installment of my essay-writing resolution is a little different. It’s my first attempt at the emergent genre of #instaessays — short, pity dispatches packaged with a photo and published on Instagram.
It’s always like this, bitter cold, with thin winter sunbeams brushing the columns and golden dome. Crowds of people in heavy coats, some tailored, some misshapen, some flannel, trudge through the slush and enter New Hampshire’s State House. This place is old. It was built before the Civil War, before the Washington Monument and before anyone imagined that this lovely, cramped building would, every four years, be a destination for everyone who wants to be president. Inside, it’s like a museum. A hall of flags and old portraits on the walls. A gift shop. Commemorative plaques. There’s road salt on the marble stairs, tracked in by the lawmakers’ boots. And there are so very many pairs of boots, so very many lawmakers. Four hundred in the House and 24 in the Senate. On Earth, there are only three legislative bodies larger than this one. Inside, it’s also a little like a high school – and not just because there are lockers in the basement. Underground hallways connect all the buildings in the legislative complex, funneling everyone together as they move from place to place. In cliques, they stop in the cafeteria for coffee and snacks. They sneak outside for a smoke. They know the details of each other’s lives. Some things do change. Different lawmakers in the chambers and different kids singing the national anthem. Sometimes, the flags on the roof flutter high. Sometimes, they’re at half staff, dipped low in mourning. #instaessay