So there's this blog called Life Off Balance. It appears to be written by some vegetarian lawyer who doesn't use capitalization. I find this to be incredibly annoying, but, hey, no one is awarding me any style points either. The author of Life Off Balance lives in Takoma Park. She wrote a post about how great DC is and it got linked to Wonkette. Here's what she had to say about people like me:
i’m so sick of hearing people talk about what they hate about dc. it’s so boring. no one is forcing you to live here. as the post’s j. freedom du lac said to one dc hater in his freedom rock chat yesterday: “don’t let the door to the beltway hit you on your way out.”
Oh man. I just got burned. The post goes on to list the ten best things about the city. I am here to rip those things apart.
1. the diversity, in every sense of the word.
I don't know what senses of the word she's talking about. The enormous gap between the rich and the poor? Because most people would argue that that's bad. The racial diversity? Because the city is incredibly segregated. Hell, any place in Washington that isn't segregated is just being gentrified. This isn't diversity. It's inequality.
2. the people. even when they annoy the heck out of me. was it mark twain who said, “if you don’t like the weather in new england, wait five minutes”? in dc it’s the same with the people. if you don’t like the people in dc, walk down the street five blocks. dc has a reputation for being overly status-conscious and obsessed with politics and power, and among a certain crowd the reputation is well-deserved. but that crowd is just one part of what makes dc. dc isn’t just the hill or K street. if you don’t like those folks, walk down the street five blocks and you’ll find plenty of other people to hang out with. i rarely cross paths with the stereotypical “dc” crowd.
Well, I often cross paths with the stereotypical crowd and it's no picnic. The reasoning here can be summarized as "DC is great because it has both good guys and douchebags." Well, every city has people to hang with. Every city has douchebags too. At best you could say this comes out neutral; a reason that DC is neither that great nor that bad. I say "at best" because I suspect the douchebag to nice guy ratio is slightly skewed in this city. Hollywood for ugly people, am I right?
3. great food from all over the world.
This is a good point. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston don't offer any international cuisine whatsoever. I mean, Hell, Washington has a Maggiano's. That is some authentic Italian right there.
4. very vegan friendly. some of my favorite vegan spots include: java green, asylum for vegan weekend brunch and 75 cent vegan soft tacos washed down with shiner bock, ella’s for vegan pizza and sangria, sticky fingers, the black cat’s food for thought for late night cake, and the burrito cart at 15th and K.
Ugh. If I could eat any animal on the planet Earth it would be a vegan human. Just to prove a point. Yes, DC is very vegan friendly. And I could give a crap. Two weeks ago I had a steak wrapped in bacon and topped with shrimp and butter. Fuck vegans.
Also, please take special notice of her choosing Shiner Bock at Asylum. I've been to Asylum enough times (even getting a vegan burger once) to know that the Shiner tap is fucked up. It comes out flat and warm. People who get the Shiner there don't know what they're doing.
I have heard good things about that burrito cart though. Of course, I'll never try it because they don't offer meat. Sweet, succulent meat. Chipotle has four different kinds of meat. Chipotle wins.
(By the way, does anyone think that Chipotle should start serving breakfast? All they would have to do is brew some coffee and replace the rice with eggs. This would be so freaking delicious. Why won't Chipotle answer my calls?)
5. dc has most of the benefits of living in a small town, combined with all of the benefits of living in an international city. in some ways, dc is a much smaller town than its actual size suggests. in part, this relates back to the second item on my list: dc is actually made up of a number of smaller communities, many of which are very tight knit. i see people i know everywhere. everyone knows everyone. i don’t think i have ever gone to java green and not seen someone i know. same thing with the black cat. i go could on and on. on the other hand, when i start to feel trapped i can easily seek out new people and places and visit a completely different city without leaving dc.
I guess. I admit I enjoy how spread out the city is. I'll give this one to you, vegan lady.
6. ease of getting around. for a city of this size, dc is very manageable. i know people love to complain about the traffic and the parking, but i think i have it pretty good. my metro commute (including walking to the metro) is 45 minutes, or if i get a ride home from the metro from trav, only 35 minutes. if i lived in new york or san francisco, do you think i’d be able to live in a single family house with a yard within a 35 minute commute from downtown? moreover, on the weekends, it takes only 15 or 20 minutes to drive down to the black cat or the 9:30 club, and i don’t usually have much trouble parking when i get there [knock on wood].
Oh, well, not everyone has a car. For those of us who don't, there are parts of DC that are dead zones. Like, almost all of Northeast. Lots of Southeast too. Or up 16th Street. And people love to complain about traffic and parking because the traffic and parking are notoriously terrible. The Metro is the Metro. Some days it's the greatest public transportation system in the world. Other days it's a disaster where you're stuck stationary on the tracks for 15 minutes without a damn explanation.
7. tons of stuff to do, often cheap or free. film festivals, concerts, art galleries… i think a lot of folks here take it for granted how lucky we are to have access to all of this stuff. in particular, i appreciate the cheap dance nights. i never pay more than $10 to go out dancing, and often much less. for instance, most weekends i could go to a free dance night at the backstage of the black cat, spend $5 ($4 plus tip) for a yummy red room ale, and have an entire night out with my friends for the price of a cup of coffee from starbucks. i suspect my dancing addiction would be a much more expensive habit in new york or san francisco.
Dancing addiction? Jesus Christ. You had me at film festivals, museums, and shit. But cheap dance nights? The reason it costs you five dollars to dance at Black Cat is because you're only getting one beer. Some people prefer more than one alcoholic drink in one night. Call me crazy, but that's how I roll.
Last time I was in New York I went to a birthday party at a bar on the Lower East Side and danced the night away. (Thank God there are no pictures of this.) There was no cover and the beer was cheaper than the beer in DC (which blew my mind). So your suspicions aren't necessarily correct.
8. the architecture. next time you are downtown, don’t worry about being mistaken for a tourist and look up. there are a million beautiful architectural details everywhere. there’s also the fancy townhouses near dupont, the old neon signs on georgia avenue, union station, the majestic old apartment buildings on connecticut avenue, the old bridges over rock creek park… again, i could go on and on.
Silly blogger. People aren't afraid of looking like tourists because it's embarassing. People are afraid of looking like tourists because they don't want to get mugged on the Mall.
Washington's architecture is a disgrace. The buildings represent the buttoned-up Serious Sallys (Sallies?) who make up this shitty city. It's boring and uninteresting. Except for the Old Executive Building. That place is badass. Naturally the New Executive Buildings a block away are incredibly ugly. They look like they were built soley to keep a wolf from blowing them down. Brick embarassments.
The "majestic old apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue"? Are you out of your fucking mind? Yesterday I walked home from work. Dupont to Friendship Heights. I took Connecticut Avenue all the way to Nebraska Avenue. The apartment buildings are dime-a-dozen. They're boring.
9. i know it’s obvious, but there is no better place to be in the spring than dc. the cherry blossoms are so beautiful they break my heart. but there’s also the magnolias, the azaleas, the dogwoods, the smell of the hyacinths…
Is this a blog or a tampon commercial?
10. it’s the frickin’ capital of the united states! my office is a couple of blocks from the white house! the original copy of the constitution is just a couple of blocks further than that! although it may not seem like it these days, we are living in the world’s epicenter of freedom and democracy. that’s pretty remarkable.
I am so glad that she ended with this point. This is, my friends, exactly why I hate DC. It's the world's epicenter of freedom and democracy and we don't have a fucking vote in Congress. Hell, legislators from neighboring states don't even give a fuck about whatever laws we try to pass as they carry their guns all willy-nilly. The city is segregated. Crime only matters when a white person is the victim. Et cetra, et cetera, et cetera. This city is the capital of the United States and it's being run like a funny farm.
Lady, you seem nice enough. I'm glad you found things to enjoy in Washington. You seem to be a glass half-full kind of gal. However, I'm sure if you look a little closer, you'll see the same things that I see. Incompetent government, crime, inefficient public services, inefficient public safety, and douchebags (and lanyards!) around every corner. This city is shit.