I miss you already, you wonderful, self-important, walkable, sporty, humid, pretentious, kinetic, dazzling, overpriced, overcaffeinated, cobblestoned, self-conscious, self-unaware, popped-collar-sporting, popped-collar-mocking, preppy hipster college town masquerading as the political capital of the world.
QR Code Link to This Post
I was just 17 when we met. You were my first love, and you stuck with me through thick and then - the years rat-racing through college, that weird time after college when I worked in a restaurant, the overpaid paralegal job, the misguided semester of law school, and then even when I moved down to Virginia I still visited you every single weekend.
When the plane hit the Pentagon, I watched the smoke from across the river and cried. I thought the scaffolding around the Washington Monument was beautiful. I sat in Einstein's lap. When I was flush I drank at the 18th street lounge, and when I was broke I went across the street to Lucky Bar. I could lie in my bed at night and listen to the monkeys making a racket across the street at the zoo, and wake up on a Saturday and sit in my front yard and smoke a cigar with my best friends and watch your young families and your gorgeous, gorgeous young women strolling by.
Georgetown was the neighborhood I loved to hate, and seedy Adams Morgan at 3 AM on a Saturday was the neighborhood I hated to admit I loved. Afternoons laughing out loud at the human circus in Dupont Circle, then getting my butt kicked at chess by some homeless guy. All those weekends we spent Running Against Bush. Man, that seems like such a long time ago. Hitting up Mount Pleasant for real, authentic Mexican food, or crashing with my Hill friends and waking up early to get breakfast at Eastern Market.
Running on the Mall. Playing Ultimate or soccer or rugby on the Mall. Flying kites on the Mall. Building a snow sculpture of the Capitol, on the Mall. Worshipping in the temples of Lincoln and Roosevelt and most of all, Jefferson. Taking pretty girls for walks on the Mall and ending up on the top deck of the Kennedy Center, looking out at your beautiful lights and wanting it all so badly.
All those mornings for all those years, waking up before daylight to row up and down and up and down and up and down the Potomac. Running from the cops under Key Bridge. Drag racing up Rock Creek Park in the middle of the night, and a thousand other crazy stupid things we did together that in retrospect were idiotic but at the time, just meant being young and being broke and alive and full of ideals and most of all, happy.
And now they've finally taken me away from you, and made me come live in this desolate little town in the middle of nowhere where the highest form of culture is the Barber shop/Tattoo parlor combo, and the nearest movie theater is 40 miles away, and the people weigh too much and talk too slowly and I can't complain any more about strangers in bars always wanting to ask what's your job and what's your politics, 'cause around here, everyone's job is the same and people don't understand why a polite person would want to bring up politics in the first place.
I guess I never really told you how I felt, DC. They say that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone... only, I guess in our case, you're still there, and I'm the one who's gone, but anyway it works out the same way in the end. But now that I'm gone, I just wanted to tell you hey, thanks for all the memories, all the good times, all the things you taught me about myself and my country and the world.
I'll never forget you, the city of my youth. You're beautiful to me. You'll always be my first love.