Earlier this week I was interviewed by our friends at SWDC Blog, a blog dedicated to covering the Southwest beat. If you're not familiar with them, they're definitely one of the more classy and high-brow blogs in DC. Much more classy than Why I Hate DC, that's for sure.
Here's a copy of my interview with them. It's long and bitchy, and I should probably just link to it (here it is) instead of exploiting it here for space filler purposes... which I'm going to do anyway. The folks at SWDC Blog were very kind to me with their editing considering the copious misspellings and other undesirables in my original answers. They make me look S. M. R. T. And away we go, SWDC Blog:
We've followed the why.i.hate.dc blog for a while. Featuring rants that range from the "it's funny because it's true" variety to "it's true, but it's not so funny," why.i.hate.dc points out the tiny imperfections that keep our city from achieving municipal nirvana. So, when the site's new editor, "King Friday XIII," revealed himself to be a resident of Southwest, we decided to find out how he really feels about the neighborhood. Read on to find out a reigning monarch's views on Safeway, the new stadium, the old mall, and what around here just isn't hateable.
SWDCBlog: We already know you hate DC. Do you hate anything about Southwest in particular?
Who told you I hate DC? I don't know where people get that impression. I mean, what's there to hate? Take Southwest for example. The building I live in is run by a completely inept manager. I live 6 blocks from the Mall and 2 blocks from the Federal Center SW Metro station. My gym and dry cleaners are around the corner. It's a superb location. Management is sitting on a potential gold mine, but it's a rent controlled building owned by a company in Maryland who couldn't care less, and because they don't see it as a worthy investment, they figure it's better to squeak by and give the illusion that they meet the District's affordable housing code (assuming there is one). They basically refuse to hire a standing maintenance staff.
The poorly painted hallways in my building always smell like curry. The elevators are so old they were built by cavemen using Flintstone technology (you know, like a pterodactyl working the gears) and they never stop at the right floor no matter which button you push. But that's only if it's working. For one month our building was reduced to a single operational elevator while the other two sat there untouched by repairmen. Unless they waited until they DIED, the old people in my building--and there are a LOT of elderly black women who are absolute sweethearts--were forced to carry their groceries up 8 flights of stairs that were all wet because the roof leaks. Can you imagine a firefighter running up 8 flights of wet, slippery stairs? The building is gated but it looks scarier on the inside than the outside, leading me to believe [the gate] was erected to keep the people inside my building… IN.
For groceries, I have to drive to Shoppers in Virginia because the Safeway down the street is a total nightmare. When he's not haunting my dreams, Freddy Kruger works the Safeway deli counter and he always gives me a hard time when I go in.
What is the best thing about living in a place that you hate?
It's close to my job: the Capitol. I don't think I could find any place closer place to work that's also incredibly affordable. My commute is like 5 minutes. Yes, I drive but sometimes I walk when it's nice out. I like being here because I enjoy working for the federal government. I don't think I'll ever go into the private sector. Most government job skills aren't transferable to any other career anyway. People give me a hard time for staying in DC because it doesn't make much sense that a person would want to stay in a city they hate. But the truth is I love my job, and there's no other place in the world that can provide me the same opportunities as Washington can. Combine that with a long-term relationship and I'm kinda stuck here. Ugh, maybe that's too much love. Excuse me while I vomit.
Is there anything you especially don't hate about Southwest?
This is a tough one. As I alluded to before, the area is definitely improving, but it still has a long way to go. And now that it turns out that the new stadium (on the border of SW and SE) won't be as big of an economic boom like everyone thought, a lot of that progress is in jeopardy. There's also a couple of hidden parks in the area of SW that if they were just maintained a little better by the city would be remarkably charming. Also, the Waterfront area has great potential now that the Legion of Doom headquarters (the Waterside Mall) is gone.
What would make Southwest less hate-worthy?
For starters, the kids on bikes need to stop throwing rocks at my car when it's parked on the street. On three different occasions I've caught them doing that. Also, to quit wasting electricity, the Department of Energy building needs to turn off at least 99% of its lights at night.
Follow up: would this be a good thing?
Well, my car is a piece of shit that I intentionally leave unlocked hoping someone will steal it. Additional dents and a broken window make it less likely it will get jacked. Bummer.
Do people need to hate a place in order to really love it?
I'm a firm believer that hate is sometimes just another form of love. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. I want DC to get better. To improve. Cities are always in a constant state of improvement so, no, DC will never be Utopia. Now some people prefer to bury their heads and hope our problems fix themselves, or that someone else will take care of them. Yeah, that might work if gentrification weren't such a difficult process for everyone involved. My point is that, if I truly hated DC, I wouldn't care what goes on here. I can't blind myself to the very bad not so good things that I see or read everyday. I want those responsible to be held accountable. I hate DC. Because I care.