I've lived in Washington, DC since I moved here for college (class of 2012 - you do the math!) There are things I absolutely adore about this city and things I abhor. I think that my time here has taught me a lot about life and while people have what they think DC is actually like, here are the lessons I've learned while living here:
- Tourists will never learn to walk on the left side of the escalators: In the DC metro, there's an unspoken rule about the escalators - you stand on the right side and you leave the left side open for people who are in a hurry and need to walk down them. Every time during tourist season, you will see unaware travelers who stand on the left and cause a line of exasperated locals who just want to make their train. If you're in DC, please stand on the right or walk on the left. I beg you. I have missed so many trains and been late more times than I care to because of this situation (also, DC metro should put up a sign for this).
- Snow is mightier than the federal government: A lot of people from colder parts of the country laugh whenever the government closes because of two inches of snow. The problem is DC is just not equipped to handle much snow so the government will shut down their offices (and every other business entity that follows the government will also close). *shrug*
- Brunch and happy hours are sacred and should be treated as such in this city: We DC folk take Sunday brunch and happy hours very seriously. You can't walk three blocks in this city without passing a bar with a happy hour special or a restaurant offering bottomless mimosas on the weekends! It's a lifestyle that we are not willing to change.
- The eight wards of DC are extremely different from each other: Before I moved here, I just thought that since DC is not a very big city how different could one end be from the other? How wrong I was. There are eight different wards and to know them is to know DC.
- You can tell if you're a politician or a resident depending on whether you call it "Washington," or "DC": You may have noticed that I've been calling this city DC and not Washington. There's a very good reason for that - DC is what the residents call the city. It's different from Washington in that not all residents are political (here's an article that explains the difference). And on that note...
- "Washington" isn't broken - the people here most definitely aren't: Washington isn't just congressmen and women (most of whom don't actually live in this city). There are people who work at non-profits, trade associations, think tanks, government agencies, and the private sector who are hard-working individuals. They support good causes, have families they care about, and love this country. They are not broken. Let's differentiate.
Thanks for reading!