Sure, there are a lot of drawbacks to living in Washington. It’s expensive, it’s pretentious, and it’s full of workaholics, traffic, crime, and guys who try and pick you up by flashing their business cards. The climate leaps between frozen tundra/wind tunnel and swampy humidity, with maybe one or two nice weeks in between. D.C. will never be as hip as New York or Los Angeles. But that’s why I love it here and don’t want to ever leave again. So, here is a tribute to the dreadful overpriced hellhole that I call home.
I love that DC is so transient. Nobody who lives here is from here, and that’s the way I like it. I enjoy the fact that, compared to most people, I’m considered a hometown girl. (I’m from Woodbridge, for the record, it’s an outer suburb.) It also thrills me that we have a ten-second test for spotting a local. Simply use the phrase, “The bitch set me up!” If they laugh, they’re one of us.
Washington is a dorky, fashion-challenged hick town. You get the occasional preppy hipster, sure, but for the most part we never could let go of cargo pants, shoulder-padded skirt suits, and the dreaded white commuting sneakers. It isn’t beautiful to look at, but it means that today I went to work with visible bra lines, ill-fitting corduroys, and a prissy pink sweater, and I was STILL the hippest girl on the Metro. I imagine in New York or L.A., the Fashion Police beat you senseless before you can even leave the house.
I actually missed the Jersey barriers, the constant paranoia, and the fact that if you dropped a nuclear bomb on the Capitol, my apartment would be in the “instant kill” radius. The rest of you suburban suckers can mutate then die, or just mutate, I’ll be vaporized within seconds. Instant kill is the height of hip.
I never cease to be amused by the stupid rolling briefcases that people bring onto the Metro. Every morning, at least one person will run over my feet or hog the escalator. Seriously, what do these people carry around? Maybe a book, their lunch, gym clothes…what on Earth else do they need? Does anyone really have to lug that much crap around? Only in DC do people pack for eight hours in a cubicle as if it’s an African safari or a lunar expedition.
I love Adams Morgan. I don’t know whether that neighborhood got nastier, or I just got older, but either way, the sheer ick factor fascinates me. The puking frat boy 22-year-olds, the dirty sidewalks, the three women wearing two outfits (seriously, all women who hang out in Adams Morgan look the same to me). It’s the only place you’ll hear a woman brag to her friends, “I didn’t want to make out with that guy, but there was nothing else to do!” Uh, crochet? Jogging? Whatever, Adams Morgan is people watching at its finest.
I am very happy that my old apartment building is now an abandoned crack den. I’m not pro-drugs, it just pleases me that I’m such a badass for having once lived there.
D.C.’s Bluetooth mania is fascinating. Every day, I see well-dressed people ranting to themselves. Since it always seems like they’re talking to me, I’ve started to play along. “No, you want the skim milk.” “So dump the boyfriend already, OK?”
“Black Cat, Black Cat…gimme some money!” I like to picture Black Cat Guy on vacation. “Margaritaville, Margaritaville…gimme some money!”
I love that every time I walk across the Mall, a family of tourists will ask me to take their photo with the Capitol. Invariably, I cut off their heads.
I’ve been here so long that all of my hairstyles since 1991 have been dutifully cataloged and mocked. I wither as soon as I leave. D.C. is home, and I don’t see myself ever leaving again. My town is backward and gross and work-obsessed, but that’s the way I like it.