Hey, y’all! It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in DC for about 6 weeks now, so I thought it was time to give the people what they want – an update on my life.
To be clear, probably the only people who really want an update already have one, but nevertheless, it’ll be good for my soul to pause for a little reflection. As a reflection piece, though, this post may be a bit more stream of consciousness than some of my other writings. I don’t have a format, but just a collection of thoughts on my time thus far: the good, the bad, and the ugly (and maybe the beautiful, too, but that messes up the expression).
First things first, DC is big and I never know where I am. I ordinarily have a good sense of direction, but I don’t drive very much here, and when I do, it’s in Northern Virginia, rather than “the District.” You can’t get much of a sense of geography when you’re underground in a metro car with 100 of your closest strangers. Also, the roads are confusing, something I remember from the days I used to travel here for work. It’s really easy to turn left only to discover it was the wrong left.
On a related note, I’ve already gotten a ticket. In hindsight, I remember the cops being particularly aggressive when I lived in Virginia Beach, too. The last time I got a speeding ticket was the last time I lived in Virginia. But, I was on a road that I thought was a highway (you know, since there were giant green signs overhead and other signs that said things like, “No merge area”), so I was going a highway speed. It was not a highway, and the officer did not care that I’d lived here for 3 weeks and didn’t know better.
However, driving does sometimes lead to some very beautiful surprises. The other night, I took some road I’d never been on, and came into full view of both the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument all lit up. It did my little patriotic heart some good to be reminded of the reasons that I came in the first place.
And, I’m actually really enjoying walking everywhere. I thought the commute would be one of the toughest adjustments for me, but it’s not been an issue in any way. Other than my well-documented fear of escalators and the one time (so far) that I got on going in the wrong direction, I’m pretty much a metro pro at this point, and I enjoy the walk. I also like stopping in the grocery store or at Target on my way home, or just walking up the street to get some dinner. There are 2 different Gold’s Gyms within walking distance of me – and three more within a ten minute drive. So, I just pick my gym based on what else I have to do that night.
The negative about walking, though, is that no one is friendly. Like, no one. I’ve lived in the North before, so I thought I was prepared for less sunny dispositions. But, New England is way friendlier than DC. Here, no one makes eye contact with you at all, and if they do, they don’t smile, so you think something might be wrong with you and start smoothing your hair or checking your teeth. When I first moved, I was determined to make everyone be friendly to me and I’d imagine walking around in the morning greeting everyone like I was Belle in Beauty and the Beast singing “Bonjour”. But, no one would look at me so that I could greet them, so I gave up.
Every day on my commute, I can’t help but get the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” in my head: All the lonely people, where do they all come from?, as we all put in our earbuds, squish next to each other without speaking, and never, ever smile.
This disillusionment might be compounded by the fact that Nashville was recently voted the Friendliest City in America- so the contrast is startling. I miss the idle small talk I’d make with baristas or people behind me in line or really just anyone at all.
Yet, the people I’ve met so far have been really wonderful. I’ve plugged in with some old friends and already made some new ones, and I’m still optimistic about the social aspect of my life here. It’s been a little slow getting out and doing things because I’ve been so preoccupied with getting my house in order, but I’m starting to venture out more and that’s been fun.
I really like my apartment and my neighborhood. I’ll like my apartment even more once I finally find a couch (apparently my vision and my budget are not as compatible as I would like – surprise, surprise) and can then buy the remaining coffee table/accessories and hang my final pictures. But, the parts that are put together are very nice, and there’s plenty of room for all of my shoes.
And now for the topic everyone has been waiting for me to address…no, I haven’t been dating yet. I’ve heard the dating scene in DC is terrible, but I think that’s probably said by single people in whatever city they live in, so I’m not too worried about that. I am a little disappointed at how few military men I’ve met in the city I was told would be crawling with them, though…
I’m not intentionally NOT dating, and I’d be glad to get out and explore the city some more. I just didn’t want to use the apps for the first few months here to give myself some time to develop friendships and also to see if anything happened organically.
The city is not exactly chock full of hotties, either. I’ve met one or two very good looking people, but for the most part, everyone looks “smart”. Because they are. Nashville, on the other hand, in addition to being very friendly, is an extremely attractive city. It’s an entertainment city, and everyone looks the part. Everyone looks the part here, too, it’s just the part of a congressional staffer, not a country star.
Things are more expensive here, of course, but I’ve found a Target hack. The prices on the app are cheaper than in stores – sometimes by several dollars. My assumption is that the app uses the national average for prices, whereas the store is going by the local market rates. So now, I buy everything on the app and just go pick it up. It’s a great system.
I haven’t found a church yet, but I’ve tried quite a few, and hope is still springing eternal. I’ve just found that I’m a little more picky in my old age than I thought I was.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the fashion. It’s not good, y’all. So many drab colors, so little imagination. I’m doing my part to spruce it up, though, and I consider wearing bright colors part of my civic duty.
I will say, the men’s sock game is on point. At both the office and on the metro, I’ve seen lots of bright polka dots, animal prints, and other fun things that make me think all hope is not lost.
In that vein, here are a few of the outfits I’ve worn so far. You may also notice the progression of unpacking my bathroom/closet in these pictures. I think I’m finally done with that section. Hopefully.
And last but not least, to prove that I am officially a government employee…
Thank you all for reading, and for being my friends – wherever you may be located. I don’t have a couch yet, but I do have an air mattress, and I’d love for you to visit. The cherry blossoms are right around the corner…
With love and ALL THE FRIENDLINESS,