Wednesday, January 10, 2007

$0.35 bus transfers!

I've been living in DC for almost eight months, and I love this city. I like the system of numbering and lettering the streets on a grid, and the diagonal streets with state names that make it easier to cross town quickly. I like the trees, and the way Rock Creek Park feels totally unconstructed, and the fact that it's possible to have a fairly nice, reasonably affordable apartment not far from the Metro. I like the Metro itselfeven though it has a convoluted pricing structure and doesn't cover vast sections of the city and forces its passengers to travel through crowded downtown stations to change lines, I like that it's clean, organized, and tells you exactly how long you can expect to wait for the next train. I like that the city sprawls and that there are laws against very tall buildings. I like the monuments and the historical sites and the museums and I like the fact that there is a free National Everything (although it should be noted that the National Aquarium is little more than a goldfish in a bowl in someone's basement). I like the way the city is divided into neighbourhoods and I like how the neighbourhoods have distinct feels to them. In embarrassing idealistic fashion, I like that so many people here are working in one way or another to attempt to improve the world, and that you can have intense, thoughtful conversations about basically any topic with a complete stranger. I like how international the city is and how many languages I hear spoken on a daily basis and how many little Ethiopian restaurants there are on U Street.

The other thing that I love about this city is the fact that I really feel like a part of it. We are in this together, we misaligned DC residents who are submitting to taxation without representation. We certainly like to complain about our city in a way that I rarely hear New Yorkers complaining about theirs. I have even, in a rather public manner, joined in on that complaining. Complaining about everything that's wrong with this place seems to be part of the contrary DC attitude. But I kind of love that attitude too.

Despite having lived here for less than a year, I know the city very well. I am familiar with the neighbourhoods, I have more or less memorized the Metro map, I know many of the good (and cheap) restaurants, I enthusiastically support all of the local sports teams (especially the poor, poor Nationals), I voted for Fenty twice, and I no longer do a double take when I pass motorcades or clusters of Secret Service agents. I can be just as blasé as the next complain-ey DC type, and this city feels like it belongs to me (in a collective way, natch).

A lot of concerns about my job and my future career goals are all entangled with my love of DC and my corresponding lack of passion for New York, but I don't really want to get into that at the moment and ruin my little DC lovefest.

So instead, I'll just observe that there is nowhere I would rather be living than where I am right now.

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