wmata

4

I, as a writer, believe that words are the most used and most archaic thing on the planet simultaneously. Speaking and writing it’s my job to convey an idea or a feeling to you using a system of words that cannot capture the essence of most ideas or feelings no matter how you string them together. There’s so much that goes unsaid between us, but there’s so much that can’t be conveyed at the same time. 

One day I’m sure that our bodies will adapt to the futility of trying to capture emotions with a string of words and be able to beam our feelings and ideas to one another with our brains. Could you imagine? Zapping your feelings–exactly how something makes you feel to someone you’re close to? I wish our vocal cords just disappear and we become a strictly telepathic race of superbeings, then we’d truly be able to understand one another.

Washington, DC

People tend to talk about DC as being just politicians, monuments, hotels, and restaurants, with not much in between. That’s not actually the case at all. So when you’re going to write about DC, here are some things to keep in mind, in no particular order:

DC isn’t a state. While that may seem obvious, it leads to some odd things, like the fact that DC has no vote in Congress. This is particularly weird given that Congress approves DC’s budget and given that DC residents, as opposed to residents of places like Puerto Rico (which also have one non-voting member in the House), are subject to all federal taxes. (This was an issue during the government shutdown, because they refused to pass the DC budget as well.) A lot of DC license plates read “Taxation Without Representation”.

As of July 2016, there were about 680k residents in DC, with the number of people in the city reaching 1 million during the workweek. The DC Metropolitan Area (which is mainly DC, Arlington, and Alexandria) is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the US, with more than 6.1 million people.

DMV refers to DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Visiting the monuments is referred to as “monumenting”.

There is a large public transportation system in DC, consisting of buses and the metro. Nobody calls it the subway. The system is called WMATA. The buses are a flat rate of $1.75 (soon to go up to $2) per ride. The metro cost depends on starting and ending points and whether you’re On- or Off-Peak (aka rush hour). The highest cost is $5.90 for a ride. They no longer (I think) have paper tickets, so everyone uses SmartTrip cards.

The metro is a mess. They’re currently doing repairs, which mostly makes it more of a mess because they’re running shorter hours and frequently do single-tracking, which significantly slows down travel. On the other hand, it catches fire less.

There are twenty colleges and universities in DC.

You can’t take the metro to Georgetown University.

DC has neighborhoods and quadrants. Neighborhoods include Georgetown, Dupont, Potomac Heights, etc. Quadrants are NW, SW, NE, and SE. They’re not of equal size. Addresses contain the quadrant in them. For example, the White House is at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

There is a lot of difference culturally and socio-economically between the quadrants.

Embassy Row is a road containing most of the embassies. On Halloween some of them give out candy and stamp passports. A lot of them also have very disparate architecture style, which looks very weird all next to each other.

Things are referred to by acronyms. Everything has an acronym.

The Homeland Security building is diagonally across the street from American University.

DC is ~48% Black or African American.

There are a lot of gentrification issues in DC.

DC is a very expensive place to live.

Tourists drive DC residents nuts, primarily when they can’t figure out how to use escalators.