City Paper is not for tourists
It boggles my mind how all you District dwellers don’t appreciate the scenery around here. Yes, I’m a recent transplant to D.C., and to the East Coast in general, so my sense of newness really helps the amazement of seeing the beautiful architecture and famous buildings and monuments. But let me tell you, on my drives up and down Interstate 5 in Seattle, not once in two years did I glance at the skyline, see the Space Needle, and not feel amazed. Every single time I saw that World’s Fair monstrosity hovering over the Seattle Center area, I felt a tinge of excitement. “I LIVE in Seattle,” I’d say to myself with a bit of a smile. “I live in Seattle!”
Almost every day since I moved, I’ve caught myself in a moment of equal amazement. I watched the fireworks from the Iwo Jima memorial and said to a date, “I live in D.C. I’m watching fireworks in the capital!” While on another date Thursday night, a guy and I took a stroll by the White House, the Mall and over to the Jefferson Memorial. I felt the little-kid giddiness start to swell up in my chest, and I asked him if we could pause to look at everything and take it in. He humored me, and I think I perplexed him with the huge grin plastered on my face. I went to a Nationals game Saturday night and saw the Washington Monument in the distance. “Holy crap!” I said to my group. “We’re in Washington, D.C.! Do you see that?!”
Each person I was with had the same sort of reaction: “Huh. I guess I’m jaded.” To which I’d say something like, “Really, how cool is this?! We’re in Washington, D.C.!”
Don’t give me that “I guess I’m jaded” nonsense. That, to me, translates as “Gee, I’m so caught up in my everyday life that I can’t take 10 seconds out of my busy day to appreciate my surroundings.” I’m sure you get that rush when you travel, right? It’s not that hard to feel the same way about a familiar place—and it might lower your blood pressure a bit, too.
Thankfully, on a bike ride to Virginia (Virginia!) yesterday, my housemate picked up on my excitement and pedaled with it (though he’s lived in the DMV area his entire life).
Try to enjoy here while you’re here, because there’s no here anywhere else.