Wednesday, March 20, 2013
What I Will Miss About DC
Our friends and family. I grew up just seventy miles south of Washington. My parents are a little more than an hour away. I have so many wonderful friends in the area: high school friends, college friends, law school friends, work friends, playgroup friends. And where we're moving, we know nobody. I know we'll make new friends, but I'll miss the ones we're leaving behind.
Living on a movie set. I used to walk past the White House to work in the mornings. Sometimes, as I trudged past the groups of tourists, I'd imagine the people who work in the shadow of Big Ben, or the Eiffel Tower. I'd wonder if they appreciated their proximity to those landmarks any more than I did. I always love driving home from the city at night, past the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Kennedy Center. We forget to look at them because we see them every day, but they're beautiful.
Verizon FIOS. Before we got FIOS, I got daily workouts running up to the office on the fourth floor of our townhouse to reboot the router. Then Verizon came with its magic fiber-optic cable and changed all that. Oh, how we will miss FIOS.
Takeout. As much as we like to bitch about Washington not being a truly international city for cuisine, one can -- if one is not inclined to make dinner for oneself and one's husband every night -- eat pretty well on an everyday basis here, particularly with the help of Yelp and Tyler Cowan's Ethnic Dining Guide. Farewell, Haandi, A&J, and Crystal Thai. Goodbye Lebanese Taverna; I'm savoring your creamy hummus for the last time as I type this. (Although it seems there's hope in the hummus department if I can only summon the patience to peel chickpeas.) And for those weekends when we're not in the mood to make lunch for the kids, we have Pie-Tanza and Elevation Burger. Where we're going, there isn't even a Chipotle.
Fun places for kids. Museums. Public parks with cool sandpits and spray-grounds in the summer. Libraries. The Fall Festival at Cox Farms.
Our house. I picked the paint colors. My husband replaced every light switch and electric outlet. We brought our babies home to this house, rocked them to sleep in these rooms, watched them stumble down these hallways. We'll have other houses, but this was our first. I'll always love it.
And what I won't miss:
The traffic. It's bad. Enough said.
The lack of a regional identity. One of the things I loved about living in Alabama was the sense that I was living somewhere, a place with a distinct history, culture, and identity. The DC area is full of people from every state in the nation and every corner of the globe, which makes for wonderful diversity and ensures that you'll meet fascinating people at parties here. But the flip side of all that transience is that everybody is from somewhere else. It's easy to find your own community here, in the sense that it's easy to meet cool people and make friends. But without a larger sense of community (and maybe what I'm describing is just primitive tribalism, but it's real) it's easy to fall into the trap of assuming anyone outside your bubble is an asshole.
The crowds. Those museums? Those public parks? They're usually just a notch or two too oversubscribed for introverted me to really enjoy myself.
The housing prices. When I first started researching real estate in our new city, I nearly wept. Tears of joy.
Onward to a new city, and new joys and new gripes.