Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear Washington DC: Here's to false first-impressions

Dear D.C.,

I didn't think much of you before moving to your coast. You were the land of pressed suits that melted in sticky humidity and young people who took themselves too seriously--a swamp of cutthroats, over-achievers, politicians, charismatic charmers...and mosquitos. There would be too many wannabe mature young adults, not enough wrinkled, weathered wisdom. There would be too much politics, not enough understanding, too much chatter, not enough silence, too many masks, not enough vulnerability. And your humidity? I had left that for four years, enjoying months of "good hair days" in Northern California. My fro had been tamed, thank you. Yet you landed in my lap, like a cat, and all I could do was go along with it. And buy more gel.

Dear D.C.: I was wrong.

You showed me another world. One that could be reached by brisk walks or squeaky varieties of public transit. One that had a color and scent for every season, coming at just the right time and revealing something more magical than the one before. One with free museums and art and monuments and baseball.

I skipped along your river. I marveled at your marble face. I cried in your shows and concerts. I danced to the jazz in your gardens.  I gazed at your weathered parchment and rotunda, felt small against your spangled banner, grasped your monument from my office window.

I walked on your mall in the daylight, visiting museums and participating in the occasional march. I played on your mall at sunset, hitting balls at passing cars. I sat on your mall at twilight--drinking tea and discussing life.

Just when I thought, D.C., that I had already known and experienced joy, that I had traveled and seen so much of the world, that I had enough beauty in my life to last me a lifetime, you one-upped me. You gave me more.

You gave me fireflies that trumped the mosquitos, blossoms that outgrew the bare trees, crisp sunrises outshining the darkness, love from friends that could bring me to my knees.

So thank you, D.C. I guess I owe you one.


p.s. I miss you