6 Things I Took Away From Living In DC


1. I learned to hate summer and really appreciate autumn.  

If you come from California or most places on the West Coast, summer is wonderful.  A West Coast summer is warm, kind of hot sometimes with low to zero humidity.  Autumn comes around and it’s no longer beach season every day.  In D.C. summer means sweat!  A true D.C. summer day means sweat coming out of pores that you never knew you had.  From Memorial Day to well past Labor Day, you’ll find yourself inside an air conditioned Smithsonian building.  Autumn brings beautiful falls leaves, a cool crispness to the air and election season.  (Every two years for the last one)

2. An Appreciation for a real traffic jam.

Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas?  Forget it.  Few places can match D.C. for its nonstop backup of cars.  The 495, 295, 395…it’s brutal.  Most people in D.C. work in government or in government contracting.  630-1030 – Terrible.  4:00pm – 7:00pm – Awful.  Leave a little early or a little late?  No better.  On top of the over spilling highways, you have “drivers” from 50 different states and multiple countries navigating the roads.  Of course you also have I PAD/Tablet drivers — these are the incredible folks driving in D.C. while reading an E-Book on top of their steering wheel.  And the honking?  Well, other than Manhattan, there is no place that like to aggressively honk at you and cut you off as much as a D.C. driver.  It took me a few months of driving elsewhere to drive without my hand hovering over the horn of my car.

3. Great baseball city.  

The NFL team in town (whose name I hate to mention) might rule D.C. and the surrounding area but Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals have captured the heart of Washingtonians.  Nationals Stadium has amazing views of the monuments at a great price.  They’re generally competitive and if you’re like me you’ll see a cabinet secretary hanging around the stadium.  Hard to believe D.C. went without a team for half a century.

4. You won’t truly appreciate the museums until you’ve left.

Nearly everything in D.C. is free.  You read that right, they’re free. Washington D.C. is loaded with amazing works of art, historical artifacts, concerts, speeches, science exhibits and more.  The Smithsonian Institute is what makes a D.C. summer tolerable.  If you still live in D.C. go to every place you can.  If you’ve moved, you’re probably sad that you didn’t go to more places.

5. Everyone thinks that they are important.  

This a city where Senators, House members, cabinet secretaries and Generals live.   You would be incorrect to think that everyone else has their ego in check.  Another writer on TC alluded to this in an earlier post, but it needs repeating.  Every intell anylsit, Pentagon or Hill staffer or K street lobbyist thinks that they are a person of extream importance.  The building that they work in or the politician that they work for defines their existence.

6. Great Friends

D.C. What can I say?  For all its problems, the city has a lot to offer.  I met people in D.C. with amazing backgrounds and stories to share.  Maybe people in D.C can sometimes come off as a little conceited, but it is a place where great things — made possible by great people — really occur.  I like that in D.C., everyone has an opinion and is willing to share it.