Saturday, February 23, 2008

from D.C.: good things

People like San Francisco and Seattle and New York. I’m saturated with New York and I can’t relate to the west coast. They have weather superiority issues. Every time I talk to my own mother (who lives in Berkeley), I hear about how uniquely special the skies are over there. When I am out visiting, all I notice is how crowded it is underneath their brilliant skies. And of course, Seattle isn’t that brilliant. (I haven’t ever traveled there, so I shouldn’t comment, but I’ve heard enough about the problems with their leaky skies.)

But this year, I have come to love visiting Boston and D.C. It may have something to do with two of its inhabitants, but there’s more to it.

I gave Boston its fair moment here on Ocean a couple of weeks back. Let me focus on D.C.

I go outside to pick up a couple of steamy coffee concoctions and I notice that I am not wearing gloves and it doesn’t matter. The air reminds me of Paris – cold, but nothing a scarf can’t take care of.

Around me, there is light. D.C., unlike any other city in the States, has no sky-scrapers. I think the tallest building (the Cairo apartment house, built in 1894) is 13 stories high – that’s just one more than my condo building in Madison. It caused an uproar when it went up and since then, structures are kept to more modest levels. You get to see a lot of sky. I like sky.

Food? Oh, like Boston, it reeks of good food. Low-end southern tinted, high-end perfectly composed and, what I tend to sample on our nights out – excellent fresh and honest (they list the farms!) middle of the pocket-book stuff.

Like last night, here (and yes, we devoured one of those pies):

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And did I mention museums? You know, the free ones? Where you can enter, not wait in line and walk straight up to a painting with your little ones and transport yourself to another place in seconds.

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Or, come back years later with the now not so little one and take in a visiting exhibit of mid-nineteenth century British photography.

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…And then watch a dad teach his kid to skate (in the Museum sculpture garden).

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You know, the sculpture garden with the big typewriter eraser. (Are you too young to have ever used these? Times were tough for writers of yore.)

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We cross the Mall to the metro stop. The Mall. My office looks out over a mall back in Madison. Bascom Mall. But the D.C. Mall is huge. With room enough for a game.

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In the late afternoon, we make our way back to Georgetown. Because it’s always so enchanting there. And because they have great cupcakes.

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On the way home Im taken (for balance) to a "favorite" rat-sighting places.

So okay, there are rats. I do indeed see one. Squirrels with less attractive tails. An animal-friendly city! Me, I hate pigeons and yet I still love Venice.

There isn't a city in the world without issues. And still, they draw me in. Complicated places. But beautiful too. You can't get too lazy in life and hide. D.C. wont let you hide.