Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Is In The Air

A new season has arrived along with the erratically warmer weather—tourist season. Like most District residents, tourists annoy me. But many more things annoy me than annoy most District residents, so having a city full of tour groups (from middle school age to elderly) really does not demand the percentage of my attention that it seems to demand from others. Sure, I’d like to be able to go for a jog near the monuments without dodging roving packs of people, and I’d love to be able to eat at my local Chipotle without having to fight 30 high schoolers for a table. But tourists are just a fact of living in the capital.

Of course, like all District residents, I am somewhat fixated on my right to walk up the left hand side of a Metro escalator while the non-walkers stand to the right. If I’m unable to exercise that right, though, I’m surprisingly not usually miffed. I usually just wait behind the offender, or if I’m in a hurry, politely excuse myself and pass on by. I generally find myself more annoyed with the DC residents who spill countless ounces of ink and waste ridiculous amounts of breath complaining about people who do not understand the “fundamental laws” of Metro escalator riding. But when the tourist stands on the left side of the escalator to take a picture of himself on the escalator with his camera phone, I draw the line. I know the escalators are long and very interesting, but please use the right side for all of your picture-taking needs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Giving Thanks

I was raised to be obsessed with the performance of acts of gratitude. Whenever I received a gift from anyone, I was ordered to express my thanks in person and in written form, regardless of the size of the gift. As I grew up, I chafed at the ritual of writing the half-sincere thank-you note—thank you very much for the [blank]…your generosity is very much appreciated…thanks, again! But I knew that the sentiment conveyed by the note meant something to its recipient, and although I no longer believe in the multi-pronged thanks-giving strategy, I still make sure that the words are said in some form whenever I receive something from another. I thank those who hold doors open for me, who hand me change, who serve my food, and who help me do my job.

And this is why it is inexplicable to me that a simple thank you is so often omitted when I complete an assignment in the workplace. I know very little about managing people, but I do know what I was taught about how to treat others. I know it sounds petty, but a simple (even insincere) expression of gratitude goes miles when someone is asked to perform a task that she is not interested in performing on her own accord (even if she is being paid to do so). It doesn’t take managerial genius to figure this one out, only the simple politeness that most of us were taught as children.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Exactly Where: DC

I’ve wanted to live in Washington, DC since I was 16. Having been a bit of a political junkie for as long as I can remember—picking a favorite presidential candidate in 1988, religiously watching the State of the Union address every year, reading The Economist as a freshman in high school—everything felt right when I first arrived in the capital for my junior class trip. As we toured DC and its surrounding areas, I was excited to be where I thought it all happened. Seeing the Capitol Building gave me goosebumps, and I’m pretty sure that I stared somewhat slack-jawed at the White House. And it didn’t hurt that I was completely enchanted by the federal-style architecture and the grandeur of the government buildings. It just felt right to be somewhere that held so much history, and continued to play a vital role in the making of that history. I knew then that I would live in Washington, DC.

I spent two summers here during college. While interning, I would spend quiet evenings sitting alone at the back of the Jefferson Memorial, collecting my thoughts and feeling content with the knowledge that I was where I believed to be the center of the universe. Countless other short trips for conferences and vacations solidified my desire to make the city my permanent home. I would wander the Capitol grounds, all the while still feeling those goosebumps. And I spent my time in Chicago dreaming about the time I would spend away—one of the (true) reasons I gave a boyfriend for the end of a relationship was I knew that if we stayed together, I’d never live in DC. Nothing was going to stop me.

A few years later, with a law school summer and a year and a half of permanent residency under my belt, nothing has stopped me—I’m exactly where I always thought I wanted to be.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Dreaming of Green

View of the fields from Monticello,
Thomas Jefferson's home.
Charlottesville, Virginia