I am in DC today. I actually came down yesterday and stayed at a hotel last night, where I will also stay tonight. Staying in hotels by yourself is boring as all getout, and also slightly existentially jarring (at least for me, but then a lot of things are). I say this because when you are in a hotel room by yourself, you are the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one to witness it. No one there to see if you use all the towels, or make the coffee or not, no one to see whether you hesitate over the porn channel while surfing the cable options. It's lonely.
So anyway, here I am. I am working in the DC office for these few days to help my nice coworker catch up on a job we're doing down here. (He's the nice one who cracks his gum, but so far so good with that these days. I guess I'll need a pseudonym for him - uh, we'll use DCGuy because he only did the gum thing once or twice, so I feel bad giving him a gum-related moniker.)
I am watching a helicopter go by, and DCGuy says it's either GW or Dick, since no other helicopters have rights to fly over downtown DC airspace. Yesterday we saw Dick going home to the vice presidential mansion. I guess these guys don't exactly hop on the Metro.
Topics to explore in this posting:
1. Why does DC suck? (or not)
2. TJ and I don't have a phone relationship
3. DCGuy went to a meeting and his computer is making weird alert noises
4. Reminiscence over living here in the past
5. Had lunch with Nuge
1. DC - everyone seems to have an opinion about the place. Some people really like it. Others who may not have felt any strong emotions in the past rush to defend it when Megan disses it
. Some people seriously hate it; in fact, there's a website devoted to that: why.i.hate.dc.
All I can say is that it is an odd place. I can't comment with full authority, because I've never lived here in a context where I had a community of any kind, or was in school, or had many friends. I did live here for 8 months in 1997-98, but since I was somewhat isolated by my job to having a few friends of convenience, I felt pretty out of the loop. The young-people culture here is very different than what I was used to - people didn't dress the same, there were plenty of boys in ties and girls with pearls. I saw glimpses of a cool, livable DC, but I never got into any real groove here.
2. I already knew this, but the Teej and I don't really have a phone relationship. We never have, I guess because we never conducted any of our relationship from a distance. I first noticed we didn't have a phone thing going on when he was in Seattle for the summer - we'd talk on the phone, but it seemed a little forced, like, "we are engaged, so we should murmur sweet nothings to each other over the phone before we go to bed." Yesterday, I called him from here in the evening... I was walking around in search of a burrito, and I called to say hi. Interestingly, we chatted for a bit and then were like, "Uh, well, ok love you, bye."
I'm not going to ask, "IS this NORMAL???" because who cares? But I do know that I had phone relationships with boyfriends of yore, so at first I felt like one must be able to sustain an hour-long conversation every time one talks on the phone with one. Now maybe it's nice that we have a actual space-time relationship, and we usually get to hang out, like, every day! Still, it must be on my mind a little bit if I bothered to bring it up.
3. DCGuy went to a meeting and every once in a while his computer would make a Donald Duck sound. This was jarring, but it's over now.
4. Living here in the past, I seem to walk past my former 1997 self sometimes. For example, the office here is right across from the YMCA I belonged to briefly. I used to go there, do some ellipting or rowing or whatever I did, and then ride my Huffy home to Logan Circle via Scott Circle. I remember where I used to park my bike, and how I used to go... it's a little spooky somehow.
This is probably because I had just graduated from college and had no clue what I was doing in general. I was here by circumstance, working a term job that I extended briefly out of ambivalence. I lived, among other places, in a house with three slightly older people who had distinct points in life and career vectors, and that made me feel all the more confused.
I listened to a lot of music that year, some of which Tara laughed at me for when she came to visit. For example, I loved Sublime. (I still maintain that they were hella groovy.) I also somehow wound up listening to a lot of Henry Rollins spoken-word comedy stuff, which I found hilarious at the time, and also to a lot of David Byrne. Now, when I hear David Byrne, I am transported to the room in the house on Logan Circle, with the tan carpet and random furniture and a borrowed sewing machine and nothing else but a mess of Sublime CDs and that "Speculations on Seagullism" thesis I was working on. (Come to think of it, I also associate working in DC with Joel Boardman, because I remember he was a very good email correspondent and he was working on his "metro" web project at the time, which accepted the Seagullism thing once I figured out how to scan it and do some image-mapping so it was all clickable and interactive.)
I still think that DC will never be neutral for me, and even if I had to move here and made a million friends, it would still evoke the emotion of wandering-aimless-among-neutrally-dressed-driven-types. Not to mention the physicality of the place, which I find unappealing. Every single building is exactly ten stories high, so it's a bunch of ugly cubes with retail in the bottom if you're lucky. How could it ever compare to the vertigo of New York in that respect? It can't, and I imagine it's supposed to be more humane for that, but it's instead very drone-like in my own personal architectural opinion.
5. Bright side of being here is that I got to catch up a little with E.Nuge, who is now an avid reader of this blog as of yesterday. In fact, even though we hadn't seen each other in forever, she knew almost everything already because of the blog! How convenient, right? Anyway, we had lunch (too short for that much catching up) and as always I was reminded of the unique things about her: she remembers stuff you told her a long time ago, she's hella funny, and she's an all-around good girl who I wish had decided to go to law school in Philadelphia instead of here. See you next time I'm in DC, maybe, and we can move on past 2003 and continue the updating process! xoxo