Now and then I stumble upon some shining nugget of coolness in D.C. Some hidden cafe or blessedly undiscovered club. Then, invariably, just as I’m settling in, some dislocated hipster slinks out from the shadows to tell me how much better it could be, how much better it is, in New York.

These are the same people who, no matter where they are, whine about the weather and the bad waitress and their allergies. As small children, they yammered on, boring even their own mothers, about how much better third grade was than fourth, and how Steven has a pool and why don’t we. Wah. Then they ostensibly grew up and, instead of doing the obvious and moving to New York, they now live in a very vocal malaise, adamant that things would be different if only…

Fine. You’re right. You are. It’s bigger and better and bolder there. You don’t have to convince me. You just have to shut up and go. Get out.

You punks leave D.C. every other weekend to go to New York. Then, come Sunday afternoon, you take that Metroliner right back. Why do you come back? So you can look bored and whine? I think you come back because you don’t have to work so hard to be hip here. You can dye your hair white and call it a day. That’s why you stay. So you don’t pale by comparison.

I have a friend, or shall we say forced acquaintance, who spent years talking about “the city.” We could have been in Gaithersburg or Prague—she would have meant New York. Like a child deprived of candy, she bitched and moaned about all the things she couldn’t have, about the bagels and the bars and the brave new world.

Somehow, by the grace of God, she moved to New York last year. I saw her, again involuntarily, a while back. She was living in a hole the size of an airplane bathroom fending off rats the size of schnauzers. She was unable to go out, of course, because of the maniacal rent she paid for the hellhole, so she looked even more wan and sallow than she always had. But she still dutifully reiterated how glad she was, relieved even, to at last be in the chosen land. She said this with a roll of her bloodshot eyes as she sniffled through a sinus infection sparked by the icy January draft wafting through her sad hovel. You’re right, I told her. You would be crazy, simply out of your goddamn mind, to think about ever going back to D.C.

So if you’re in New York, stay. If you wish you were, go. Do it now. If I had the money, I’d buy you a first-class plane ticket right now. In fact, there should be a special rate for one-way fares to the big rotting apple. Say the word and I’d drive you to the airport and carry your bags. I’d stand at the gate, watching to make sure you got off safe. Then, at last, I’d wave to you through the plexiglass, with a great big stewardess “buh-bye.” And the city, this city, would be a far better place. CP