Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Town and Country

I am 100-percent citified, and 100-percent sentimental about Washington DC. Robert Pinsky said (I’m paraphrasing) it’s hard two write about the town you live in until you move away. That’s certainly been true for me. It’s hard to gain perspective on a city I still feel connected to.

What can I say, the clichés are true: DC has always been a town of interns. When I lived there it was full of Gen-Xers—I called the city home in my early 20s. It was the first place I lived after moving away from my hometown of Norfolk, VA. At the time, the city boasted the highest salaries in the nation paid to women; although I was never a beneficiary. But it was great time to start an entry level position, and to learn how to work in the work force.

Late at night, my friends and I used to walk around Capitol Hill and the monuments on the Mall for exercise, because we wanted to, not because we had to. And the museums? They were (are) free, as it should be. Art by, for, and of the people. I loved going into the Smithsonian Museum on my lunch break just to change my perspective for a few minutes.

My friends and I would go to Eastern Market, an outdoor marketplace, for breakfast most Sundays. We would either eat there at restaurants who bought their produce directly from the farmers, or bought food and fresh-baked bread for the week. Unfortunately, the market experienced a fire recently and is in the process of rebuilding.

And then there’s Addams Morgan, U Street, and DuPont Circle—three great neighborhoods with a wide variety of restaurants, clubs, bookstores, and shops. Those havens also are ethnically diverse, so the international population gave the straight-laced city such a flavor. (Here’s my post of my favorite hangout, Kramerbooks and Afterwords.) Throw in an incredibly strong arts community and lots of history, and really—what’s not to like about our nation’s capital?

Ironically, DC still does not have statehood. I know it was created to be neutral government territory, but the city is so much more than it should be its own state, with all the rights and privileges granted to all states. I was there in DC when Bill Clinton took office, even went to one of the many inaugural galas. The hope that engulfed the country was magnified tenfold in the city. Even though the city has had its ups and downs, it is still one of the best places to live.

I'm curious about your perspective. If you've ever visited or lived in DC, what do you think about the city?

Visit Sunday Scribblings for more cities by land and by sea.


Bug said...

I've been to DC a few times, but only for business trips and two family vacations a long time ago. I've seen all the typical sites, but never really experienced the neighborhoods. Now you're making me want to! Maybe next winter I'll plan a long weekend there... BTW, how does the summer weather compare? Is it insanely hot and humid, or not much more so than here?

twitches said...

I have only been to DC once, and I was strangely drawn to it. Still a place I would like to live.

Becca said...

I've visited DC several times, most recently with some friends who had lived there for a number of years. It was great fun to see it from their perspective, visit some of the neighborhoods, and get the feeling of multiculturalism energy, and history that pervades the streets.

My friend was stationed in the army there in the mid 1950's, so things are certainly different today. He talked about the way he used to take his dog over to Arlington cemetary each day for a run :)

You certainly had some great experiences there, too! Lots to share with your children someday.

Shelby said...

I've been to DC a few times too - but it's been a very long time ago. My daughter went there a couple weeks ago with her school and she had a blast! Great post!

My dad is a certified country boy but he loves DC. It is the one city I think he would live in (for a little while).

Happy Sunday :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'd love to go to DC, particularly after reading your descriptions here!

Molly said...

I agree with Pinsky: I write about Tennessee with much more nostalgia then I do about Minnesota, the place I love equally. I've never been to DC, but it's on my list!

Emily said...

One of the huge benefits to living in Baltimore, is its short drive to DC...and many B-more friends eventually end up in the bit more glamorous DC. I too love Eastern market (so sad about the fire) and Kramerbooks...I love the energy...even late at night the streets are full and bustling and this time of year, eating outside on the sidewalks. And then there is just the magic of here's where all these national decisions get made. Two thumbs up to DC! :)


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