Vicarious Tourism: The District

I wouldn’t call myself a tourist in DC, exactly. I’ve lived here before so I know my way around, mostly, and I understand how to walk on the left side of Metro escalators and stand on the right. I haven’t given the White House more than a passing glance and I haven’t been to a single museum except the U.S. Botanic Garden, where I waited in line in the wilting sun to see (and smell) their blooming corpse flower. This giant phallic plant hoards energy for years – sometimes decades – saving it all up for one powerful blooming burst of heat and the stench of rotting meat to attract every pollinating dung beetle for miles. I apparently missed peak stinkiness though, sadly; I definitely caught a whiff of something foul but it may just have been the crowd of very sweaty onlookers.

It’s a little strange being back though. Old stores and restaurants have closed, and new ones opened in their places. My old stomping grounds around 14th Street are getting increasingly chichi. I no longer automatically know, as if through a sixth sense, the time, place, and misery level of the inevitable Metro track work. My geography has gotten a little bit fuzzy; I still have enough of the “local” aura that people constantly ask me for directions, and usually I can help, but sometimes I’m not quite sure. I too am only passing through.
However, in lieu of participating in such classic DC tourist activities as visiting the Capitol and standing in the ridiculous line at Georgetown Cupcake (my cupcakes come from baked & wired), I’ve been getting things done: going to meetings, getting my badge renewed, and sorting out paperwork in preparation for the big move, which happens TOMORROW. Wow, that was fast. I’ve also been forced to keep up a hectic eating and drinking schedule in order to see as many of my DC pals as possible while I’m in town. My life is so hard, I know. Highlights include, but are not limited to: fiery Thai at Little Serow, a gluttonous brunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers, and a porcine feast at The Pig. Yum. I’ve always liked DC and it’s been a pleasure to be here this trip, paperwork notwithstanding. And now for something completely different – next stop, DUBLIN!