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Why I'm Glad I Don't Live In D.C. Anymore

I lived in D.C. for three years. Outside of friends I made at work and the free museums, there wasn't much that I liked about the place. I became a recluse, not daring to go out into the crowded, expensive and jerky city except for groceries. The town was mostly devoid of character; traffic was a nightmare, socializing was a competitive blood sport and tourists jammed the place up.

I hated D.C,, and I hated who I was becoming in D.C. The stereotypes are true: the place is a cesspool of type-A, careerist, sharp-elbowed sycophants with over-developed senses of entitlement.

And that's not all.

Here, then, here are 10 reasons why I'm glad I no longer live in D.C.:

1. My Name is Toby.

D.C. is the only city I've ever lived in which you could frequent a bar/coffee shop/deli every single day and not have the staff ever, ever recognize you. In all the time I lived in D.C., there wasn't one place I frequented where the staff recognized me when I came in.

For example, I went to the same sandwich bar three times a week for years and ordered the same thing, and the waitress always looked at me like she had never seen me before; every single, fucking time was the first time she had ever taken my order.

2. $1,800 For a Closet?

Living in D.C. was like paying Manhattan prices for Rolling Meadows charm. I get that rents are high in urban areas. But at least in Chicago, New York and L.A. you get character, charm, cache and convenience for your high-dollar rent. Not in D.C.; there you lived in a drab, faceless apartment miles from a grocery store or bar. You might have well as been in Arlington Heights for all the blandness and need for driving.

3. Fucking Half Street?

Urban streets go straight, they turn, they do goofy things sometimes; I get that. But D.C. is a study in poor urban planning. I've never seen a place where you can be driving on one street on the north side of town and somehow, magically, be driving on a totally different street on the west side without ever making a turn. I once spent an hour driving up and down Half Street SE looking for Half Street NE. You guessed it: they were a half block apart.

4. Tracy Flick.

Imagine going out for a drink and the bar is filled with nothing but people like the lead character from Election. That's what D.C. socializing is like: attractive, vicious, competitive, personality-less and utterly driven by ambition. The town is overrun with class presidents looking to do whatever they can to climb up whatever food chain they have their sights on.

5. The African Bank Environmentalist Physicist Congressional Liaison,

Everyone in D.C. has a fascinating job; the town is filled with people making the decisions and controlling the issues that shape the world we live in. You would think that power and experience would make them interesting people. It doesn't. It's so disappointing to find out that the person who will decide whether we feed starving children or save the whales is only concerned with how far this conversation will take their career.

6. That One Drunken Frat Boy, Republican Intern Douchebag That Peed on My Front Door.

That's right, you suck, and you made D.C. a worse place to live. You worked for a Christian Coalition "family values" senator, and yet you couldn't make it upstairs to pee because you were too drunk at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night.

7. CVS.

Where the fuck is the Walgreens?

8. The Nationals.

Not a real team in a not real stadium. Nationals Park has as much character and comfort as a colostomy bag. The best part of living in D.C. was being 30 miles from Camden Yards.

9. Douchebag Manufacturer.

I found myself constantly complaining about the anti-social, careerist, self-centered pricks living there trying to pad their resumes until I discovered that was exactly what I was becoming. I wasn't making friends outside of work because I was no longer friendly; I no longer discovered new things because I became utterly self-centered and whiny; I became a prick, angry at all the other pricks in town. I was everything I was complaining about.

10. It Wasn't Chicago.

D.C. had its charms: free museums, cleanliness, lots of history, presidential sightings. But I never gave the city a fair shake because I was so heartbroken over leaving Chicago and nothing there, no matter how great, would have compared to how fantastic Chicago is. So stay classy D.C.


Comments welcome.


Other Lists By Drew Adamek:
* Today's Syllabus
* Shit My Dad Says
* Work Weirdos
* Things I Miss About Chicago
* 20 Albums I Wish I Had Never Bought
* Their Chicago
* Cities I've Slept In
* My Favorite 1980s Chicago Radio Memories
* Why Milwaukee Rules

* Fan Note: Me & Metallica


Posted on March 5, 2010

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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