I am having such the adventure. This city, I love it. This weather, I love it. The strange stares, the weird people, the woman sitting across from me at Cosi who just read something in the Post that made her laugh out loud. I love the young girls my age who look at me like we're friends. I love that when I get on the metro late at night there are college students in hooded sweatshirts and that at rush times its all suits. I love that it costs more to ride the metro at rush times.
I love that Union Station has free wireless and that I can get on a network almost anywhere else. I love the bread I am eating right now. Why do they not have this bread in California?
I love the newsroom. I love the reporters and the cubicles and the piles and piles of paper on everyone's desks. I love the editor who told me my dimples would get a long way and the reporter who looked at me skeptically.
I do not love all the roads. There are so many roads. Driving here is hard and today we got lost. A lot of times. In a row. Finally, we decided to pull over (on the side of the freeway) and call someone for help.
Turns out we pulled over a little too close to the Pentagon. Within 30 seconds three Pentagon Police cars had surrounded us with their lights on. They don't like it when cars stop near the Pentagon.
The place I stayed in Maryland looked like it was out of a movie. The trees were everywhere and so beautiful and the yards sloped up to big, marvelous brick homes where grandparents collected golf collectibles and the gifts for the people who have everything.
Yesterday, a real serious reporter asked me to do math for her. Thank you Mrs. McHugh and Advanced Algebra I. I kinda wanted to ask for a byline, but I resisted.
There was a couple standing on the metro last night because there were no two seat together. He looked academic and official, a grad student at Columbia, I decided. She works "on the hill" for a Michigan senator. They were U of M undergrads once upon a time before the big city swallowed their souls. I think, though, last night on the metro they found their souls again. He was down for the weekend and I don't think they looked anywhere else aside from one another's eyes. She would occasionally look down to catch her step and he would, in that moment her eyes were away, kiss her cheek.
We met a man in J. Crew, where some people can apparently afford to shop, who was so friendly and so lonely that we wanted to invite him out with us. He was from Missouri and was working "on the hill." He had a 10-year plan.
It is against the law to bring food or drink onto the metro. Shepherd said there is an urban legend that "the authorities" pushed a pregnant woman because she had a Snickers bar on the metro. He said that people talk about it as if they read it in the newspaper. I asked Lynn if she had heard about the urban legend and she said, "the one about the little boy?" The little boy had a Snickers bar and "the authorities" arrested him and "it went on his criminal record and EVERYTHING." She was told it as fact.
I play a game here with everyone I see. It's the "I Pretend I Live Here" Game. So far, I'm winning. Today, someone asked me for directions and I KNEW HOW TO GET THERE.
If I lived here I could just blog what I hear other people say. Today, I heard a woman on the metro say, "And I was gettin' all into the game and before I knew it I was DRUNK and it was only 4 o'clock. AND THEN, my MOM called!!!"
I went to a tea at a place called The Cedars yesterday. It is an old old private mansion dating back to 1777. Some of the constitution-framers lived there. The owner in the early 1900s travelled a lot and the wallpaper in the third-floor hallway is imported from China. The marble is from Italy. They have a framed newspaper announcing Lincoln's death and a host of wonderful people that keep up the place. The guest bedrooms are often occupied by senators, community leaders, and visiting dignitaries who need to "get away from the hill."
I abhor the time change. I abhor the distance from my friends. I hate that I have to call home and read the guidebook to my roommates. I hate that the Starbucks here is even cold. IT IS COLDER IN THIS STARBUCKS THAN IT IS OUTSIDE. I abhor the corruption and the money that seems to run under this city like the metro.
And yet, it's nothing less than magical. Every face looks familiar.Click on pictures to see larger images.