Thursday, May 14, 2009

The International

i've never been a fan of Washington d.C. Too many people who believe in the government, I used to say. I mostly went to D.C. to protest stupid shit the government was doing or not doing enough to stop. So I didn't exactly have a positive perception of it--and all those white, white monuments and federal buildings on the Mall seemed even more fascistic when I thought about all the segregation and poverty in some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

But in the last few days, I really liked the District of Columbia. Maybe I've changed. Or just admitted to myself that I am one of those people who believes in the government.

Of course, I could also just be so tickled to be back in the USA that any place here would have felt like a warm, wet kiss.

My stay didn't start off so well. My hotel was in Bethesda, and when I got in Sunday night, it looked like a long, lifeless stretch of bad retail architecture. Wisconsin Avenue--empty. At 10:05 p.m., I struck out to find a bar--nothing. Even the chain joints like Uno Pizzeria had already locked down. I grumbled a lot, went back to my room, fired up the flat screen, and watched...a lot of infomercials.

But the next morning, as soon as I stepped onto the Metro, I was back in the company of actual human life again, and what a lovely color it was. Black and brown and gimme caps and head wraps and doughy white tourists and lots and lots of Ethiopians. After living in Vienna for four years, I have forgotten how it feels to be elbow-to-elbow with so many different kinds of people. It was like a fist-bump to my soul.

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