Dumping the District

I watched Alice in Wonderland last night. I just love watching Johnny Depp freak me out in new ways.  He’s a magnificent weirdo and I am smitten every time. It got me thinking of how I use the term “falling down the rabbit hole” to illustrate wandering into something unexplainable and so far away from where I originally intended to go, but exactly where I belong.

I’m diligently working on my manuscript (and by “diligently, I mean I wrote last week), which is about every guy who has been in my life, for any reason, and how they’ve contributed to my expectations and identity. The range begins with the usual suspects, such as family members and friends, to more complicated individuals who wrote poetry about my feet, proposed marriage in an Irish pub while reeking of sheep poo, and the classic Prince Charming who was and had and promised me everything, but simply vanished one day.

The more I write about the few aforementioned fellows that I had a relationship with, the more apparent it becomes that, things don’t often end the way we had planned (marriage….restraining orders…) and I’m tempted to feel as though it was a waste of time. What was the point? I’m back to square one. Nothing’s changed, when really, everything has.

I’m breaking up with DC this week. The District and I have been together for almost 4 years now, but I’m not the same person anymore. We both seem to want different things.  The 202 has been the facilitator of some my best kept secrets and he’s seen me through many a low time, and also been the one to bring me low once in a while. You know how relationships are. I can say, however, that it has been the most memorable affair of my life. I’m grateful for the good and the bad moments and I have learned so much. Here are some highlights:

I was driving near Logan Circle when I saw this man, clearly on a walkabout. Out of all the things wrong with this picture, I mostly wanted to shout, “Sir! Put some shoes on! I’ve seen people pee on the sidewalks here!” Second would have been to ask him if he could play a didgeridoo.

The Legwarmers at the State Theater. Best 80’s cover band in the land. Best hair. Best costume changes. Best out of shape back-up dancers. Reminding us busy upwardly mobile locals that we do, in fact, want to rock and roll all night…and party every day with copious amounts of Aqua Net in our hair.


Oh, Envirocab. Thank you for not reeking of month-old curry, nor having sticky seats. You are always on time, understand what I am saying, and accept credit cards. My first taxi experience, when I had lived here just 3 months, was trying to get from Adams Morgan to Capitol Hill on a Saturday night. Cabbies would speed away from me while I still clutched the door handle when I mentioned where I needed to go, so I ended up walking 1.3 miles in 3-inch heels and a fur-trimmed coat until an off-duty driver took pity on me and took me home. I thanked him profusely while I pried off my treacherous shoes and wiped my mascara-streaked face with the hem of my dress. He gave me the skinny on how to get a driver to take me anywhere and I gave him all the cash in my bag.


I was roofied for the first and only time at a black tie gala at the National Building museum. The theory is that the two crashers there, one in a powder blue tux and the other in a sharp black tux with tails…and no pants, were the culprits. Either way, I learned my lesson and have a healthy mistrust of men in silly dress clothes, unless I want to end up crawling home with my purse around my neck, asking trees for directions.

Even though I spent of my formative years in Great Bridge, a rural town in Chesapeake, VA, my first monster truck rally was in DC. When the trucks come to my hometown, everyone knows who the drivers are and come out to support their favorite while sipping home-stilled moonshine from a concealed flask, but in DC folks buy the $8 Miller Lite and pick the most outlandish fan in the audience to watch and cheer on.

I’ll miss playing softball on the Mall, at the base of the Washington Monument, while Marine One flies overhead and lands on the lawn of the White House. I’ll miss homeless people asking for a buck on my way to the Metro, while simultaneously carrying on a philosophical conversation with the invisible man beside them. I’ll miss the range of culinary experiences to be had, like wine tastings at Cork, greasy what-nots at The Diner, brunch with live jazz at Georgia Browns, 3 a.m. runs to Ben’s Chili Bowl, $7 curries and naan while watching Cricket on the flatscreen, Sweet Green’s yogurt, Cake Love, and Bistro Italiano with their 6 tables, rude staff, and the best Greek pizza anywhere. I’ll miss Eastern Market in the Fall, where they simmer apple cider in pots right on the street. I’ll miss the germy metro. I’ll miss free summer concerts in the Sculpture Garden. I’ll miss the fast and exciting beat of the city.

I’ve learned so much from you, DC, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you’ve changed me as I move back to a slower pace of life to a town where strangers say good morning as you pass by, people are slow to make changes, even for the better, they bring their children out to restaurants, and most acts of kindness are done directly to their neighbor, as opposed to through a charity organization. They also shop at Wal-Mart, on occasion. Thank you for everything. I hope we can still be friends.



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8 responses to “Dumping the District

  1. Stephanei

    Abi, you may have dumped the district, but the district hasn’t dumped you! I am still in denial and not coping with this loss, but am taking comfort in knowing that we have more trips to the cabin, and weekends at the beach ahead of us.

    • Stephanie

      And I spelled my name wrong, classy girl, classy.

      • I thought it was your pen name, or something. You can count on the fact that, though the District and I are going our separate ways, I get to keep the kids, so yes YES to beach/cabin/anywhere we want.

  2. Celeste

    I loved this entry. It totally made me think about my relationship with Richmond. I miss that city – sometimes painfully – but coming home was the right thing to do when I did.
    And we seriously need to catch up again. Soon.

  3. Barbara

    Girl….The State Theater!!??!??! Did you know that’s my home town??? Ah, the stories I could tell….maybe even one about peeing on a street very near there!
    Thanks for the tribute to a dizzying and captivating part of our country.

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