Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I Learned from the Commonwealth of Virginia

Last Thursday I came home from work, grabbed my bags, climbed onto my scooter, (which i have named Merriweather Lewis, because he was awesome for a number of reasons. He was the personal secretary of Thomas Jefferson, he got to live in the East Room of the White House for a few months with his laundry spread everywhere, and he explored the American Frontier with his buddy Clark.) Anyways, Merriweather and I rode across the Key Bridge -at sunset, it was beatiful, into Virginia.

When you ride the metro in VA, the driver always says, "next stop ___ blah blah, final stop in the commonwealth of virginia" or "next stop, "pentagon station, first stop in the commonwealth of virginia." i don't know why its not a state, probably because of thomas jefferson's handiwork, but anyways, i was dog/house sitting for a lady from our office who was going to texas. I kept her two fun, big dogs from Thursday through Tuesday morning. Five days. Long time. She lives in a cute townhousey neighborhood out in Virginia. It takes 10 minutes to get there in no traffic from the USDA/downtown DC, but not on Merriweather. So it was annoying being that far out there but all the money I made is going straight to the Europa Fund, which erases the annoying part. Plus, as i told the infamous caitlin hodges, its adventures like this that give me more material for my book. (hitting newstands, TBD)

Anyways, I won't bore you with alot of the details. But I'd like to share some of the wisdom I acquired while out in the green suburbaness that is Alexandria/Arlington, Virginia.

a) i learned that homesickness is right at the edge of life in dc, waiting to suck me in.

Scootering out to my weekend home, it was great to see all the cute houses with their steps up to the door, and the fun-colored front doors and shutters, and all the trees and yards bigger than a sandbox, but. I was hit with the feeling (along with a few bugs in my teeth) that living in a real city would be hard. DC is so unique, and my purpose is so clear. Its the capitol, I'm here because what I'm doing can't happen in any other city and because I'm learning and experiencing things vastly different from Houston/home. I think that if I lived in a house with a regular sized room and a queen bed, in a city with no metro transportation, with no smithsonians and weird things to do on every corner, i'd be sad and wonder WHY AM I HERE when i could be in houston/not thousands of miles from most of my friends and family. (don't worry though, i'm back in the district and all is well.)

b) that houston isn't the only large city with mexico built right in.
so i took a wrong turn on my scooter on saturday, while i was making my way into the city to watch the olympics with dear friend/roomie katherine & holly. and all of a sudden, two blocks off the route i had google-mapped, i am in mexico. seriously. people speaking spanish on every corner, soccer being played in parking lots, mexican import food market, guys whistling at any blonde they see, regardless of if she's actually attractive. it was like i was driving down longpoint in the 77057. i'm not trying to judge or be degrading, i'm just saying - apparently immigrants make it further than houston and create their own version of home right here, not 10 miles from el capital.

c) that my moped is probably the best tangible thing my parents have ever given me, and if i die on it it will so be worth it.
I LOVE MY MOPED. it is ssssoooo fun. (in case you don't know the details of merriweather, he is a ghetto version of a moped. as in, the rearview mirrors don't work because they aren't located in a position that a person taller than 3 feet 5 inches can see out of. except for the left one, but the bolt is loose so it spins forward when you hit a bump. so people from the front of merriweather can see their reflection, great. he also is currently getting 85 miles per gallon. i'm totally getting one in the next city i live. i'm not very gracious at accepting gifts nor do i like to spend money when unnecessary, and this was not necessary, but it is so convenient and fun. and i promise i'm safe, because the last thing my dad said to me about merriweather was "if you die on that thing, that i suggested we get and that i paid for, i will never forgive myself." thanks for the uplifting message dad. now i never veer through traffic or speed through the tunnel on K street. okay, only rarely. but seriously, thanks mom & dad!!

d) i wish there was a soundtrack to my life. (good morning, baltimore!!)
friday morning i made the bus from the virginia house right on time - literally walked up the hill and there was the bus, pulling up for me to jump on. it dropped me off at the pentagon - yes, the one in the movies. i've been there! i told myself - and i metroed over the potomac river. then, i came up out of the escalator on the national mall with blue skies overhead, a light breeze, marine one flying straight over my head over to the white house to pick up the POTUS. perfect timing or what?

e) dogs are a lot of work. especially dogs that shed.
whew, the dog hair. i sure miss pookies/sam and if i could have him back for just one day i would NOT complain about his dog hair or fish breath, but. these dogs aren't pookies. and they had a lot of hair. just like babysitting is good birth control, dog sitting is good don't-run-down-to-the-humane-society-just-to-rack-up-a-five-hundred-dollar-vet-bill-unless-you're-really-really-serious-about-getting-a-dog control.

f) i like trees and art museums and living in the capitol.
the trees in virginia and the winding long streets with cute houses were AWESOME. i miss fresh air and no crowded streets with alleys hiding trash cans. but being in the national gallery of art museum with hodge podge was awesomer. capitol, you win for now.
g) people in the commonwealth like to GET IT ON.
seriously, i went running three days in a row out there, and on sunday night i probably saw five VERY pregnant women out walking with their hubbies. or couples with two kids in a stroller and another two or three on bikes with training wheels. (not a lot of cars on these streets.)
cute, but seriously. babies don't grow on trees. these people are busy.

h) dc, if i hadn't officially told you already, i've fallen for you. good thing we have least 5 months left to continue our relationship.
dear readers, if you've made it this far - sorry this post has turned into a novel. i can't believe its the end of August already!! i say that at the end of every month, i know it's annoying. well, life is great up here. if i keep coming back to texas i may just stay here for a little while longer. (shh, don't tell caitlin. or my mom. i don't want to get either of their hopes up. plus, they'll both be fine without me, they just talk a big game to make me feel loved.

No comments: