Things I have learned so far in DC

posted in People on Mar 15, 2012

After about three weeks in the great white north (according to people in Oklahoma), here are a few thoughts on what I have learned from experiencing Washington D.C.

  1. People aren’t terrifying. They are just people. Although from what I hear, there is quite a bit of crime in “the area” (which I don’t dispute), everyone seems to just want to get to the thing they want to get to. And that makes sense. The conception from the place I left was that if you walk anywhere in town you will get shot in the face, and while I am not going to go walk around more seedy areas, I haven’t had any unsettling encounters with the locals so far on trains and buses. Every day going forward probably increases the probability that something might happen, but the same can be said for…

  2. Driving. Never mind the fact that you might want want to drive nicely, you can’t. Just stop thinking you will have a chance. There are too many people, and they have no remorse. While you might have someone on the train offer you a seat every once in a while, that will never happen on the road. I suppose that this is simply a big city thing, where “big city” is not necessarily the nomenclature one would ascribe to Oklahoma City, even given its size.

    Plus, there are some crazy road signs here in crazy town. Normally, flashing red lights – where I come from – mean something is broken, but they are par for the course around these parts. There are left hand red flashing lights that apparently mean “stop, and go when you can.” That’s easy enough, but having never seen that in favor of more simple methods (say, understanding what a left hand turn is without signs), is jarring at first.

    Today, I cut off a poor dude that probably had the right of way, but I needed to make a turn. For some people that has always been par for the course, but I would normally have just slowed a bit to pull in behind him rather than downshifting and power jamming the car in front. I guess I am slowly being infected.

  3. Trains are fun. I might still be in the honeymoon phase with trains, as I see quite a few unhappy faces on the trains, but so far I really enjoy riding them. Chalk it up to another “thing thing doesn’t exist where I come from,” but considering driving right now for me is a method of last resorts, the trains provide an easy way to get here and there. And while you see all of these unhappy faces on the train, most of them generally have the right idea and they are unhappy behind books and magazines. If you have a bit of a train ride, why not knock out a chapter or two in your book? Then you won’t feel bad about not reading it before bed.

    Today I experienced a broken train, whose doors wouldn’t close properly. For those familiar with the Metro, it sounded like this: *blingoblingo* “Step back, doors closing.” *blingoblingo* … *blingoblingo* “Step back, doors opening” *blingoblingo* There is more to what the little computer woman says, but this sequence repeated over and over for about five minutes with the doors stuttering open and closed as if possessed. This was during rush hour, so you can assume there were quite a few sighs and harumphs. I just smiled. It was funny. All told it added about ten minutes to everyone’s commute, and surely that screwed up someone’s schedule, but that’s life, folks. You aren’t driving through terrible rush hour, just riding around and reading your book. It’s not that big of a deal. We shall see if my tune changes when something like this makes me late for something.

  4. Very little wind. There really is something to be said for not having wind gusts so hard you just don’t want to go outside. Unlike OKC, where it’s either 40mph gusts every day for a month or 0mph wind on 100+ degree days, around here the wind seems to get up to a whopping 15mph. Granted, I am no expert on the weather around here, and I haven’t seen any snow yet, but for this spring so far, the weather has been brilliant. We’ll see if that lasts.

Those are just a few things that have crossed my mind while milling about town. I still am enjoying the area even though I haven’t seen much of it, and I enjoy the prospect of having things to do. Sure, there were things in OKC. Stuff happened. But does OKC have The Art of Video Games opening this week? Nope.