Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love Note to _. _.

Can I just say how much I am in love with my city right now? No, not Arlington, that's just where I house my shoes and go running. The District of Columbia. Where I work, study, and play. Home of the National Cathedral, National Archives, the Capitol, and a dozen other prominent and lovable buildings arranged neatly along the skyline. The place I spend almost $5 a day to get to and from, riding on a booming, crowded metro. This normally snooty city has set aside its obnoxious wonky persona for a season and become a real, thriving, metropolis... with PEOPLE in it! Sigh. All for me, the summer-loving, token art girl from the West. How did I come to be in love with you, overcrowded, overcoat-ed, early winter Washington? There's just no explanation for taste!

And yet, there are a thousand and one reasons why I love you, city. Any given day, you are so much better than New York; more J. Crew, less Marc Jacobs. More fog, less wind. More history, same amount of mystery. Less expensive, less crazy, just the right amount of energy. Everywhere I look, you've spawned whimsical, department-store-caliber Christmas decorations. Your homeless musicians, parked on milk crates by the metro entrances, trail a peppy "It Came Upon a Midight Clear" with their saxaphones. One even accompanied my walk home today with a French melody on the accordian- merci! (That doesn't mean I'm any less of a grinch than I used to be. One of my supreme delights each day is having a bakery music station that ROCKS all day long. It only plays Christmas music from 6 to 7 am, when I'm too sleepy/too busy setting up the counter displays to notice. Then it switches to a mix that has included Journey, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park, and Savage Garden. Radom and awesome! Hallelujah!) 

Let me tell you about The Washingtonites I've been meeting and serving carbs and coffee. I love them all. They come in wearing dark but chic coats and sporting the ubiquitous scarf. They disseminate business cards, squeal over our gorgeous cupcakes, croissants, etc., announce the end of their diets with gleeful joy, and round it up by buying each other sugar and going back to work/getting on a plane/metro'ing back to Maryland. I am smiling and running back and forth ringing up sales all day long (Finals? 11 days away. TTFN).

This isn't him, but you get the idea.

This week the city introduced me to a wall-eyed homeless man, who keeps wandering into the bakery. He asks to see "the lady with dark hair" and mutters something about "investments." He never takes a sample cupcake, but I like to harness my inner Ana Pascal and make him feel welcome. The first time he came in, he requested pen and paper and proceeded to write a 7 inch long message to said unnamed dark-haired lady, which was absolutely undecipherable (I tried). He hunched over it for a full ten minutes, using a minutre, scrawled script that looked exactly as you expect a crazy homeless man's note to a bakery owner to look. Thoroughly enjoyable.

City, maybe I'm romanticizing you, maybe I'm not. When I'm with you, the hours seem like minutes, and when I metro away from you, the minutes drag into hours. Things are never as serendipitous in the West, or in Virginia, for that matter. There, things make sense, they have their place, they are contained. Life with you, of course, is anything but. I think about you when I go to sleep. I bless your leaf-strewn, rain-washed streets when I set out in the morning.

National Museum of African Art on the Mall. Where I study.
I don't know how long you and I will last, city, because truthfully, I've been thinking about leaving you in the next few months. But just know that you've been my constant companion, and some days my only source of beauty and joy, these two long years. I can only think to attribute this to the fact that I am an architect's daughter- I was raised to see and connect to humanity best through the structures it builds. In that way, then, we were meant for each other.

Sometimes you stifle me, city, often you baffle me, on occasion you enrage me, but then again, many times you throw open your museum doors and introduce me to artists like Alexis Rockman at SAAM (gorgeous!), or sketch out the allure of Ethiopian processional crosses and Rastafarianism. And thus, our affair continues on. What's going to happen to us in the end, city? You're right. It's a question that need not be answered now. It's Christmas time, and you're taking care of me like no place ever has. I am happy on your streets, in your museums, with your people. And I think you are happy to have me, too- bundled up bright, passing through your midst and working hard in your businesses and at one of your schools. So, for the moment, District, I guess I remain, most sincerely,


LC the Intrepid

(Pictures taken from the DCist group Flickr pool)


Maggie said...

I love this. Please turn this into a Christmas song.


p.s. 100% ditto

Rachel said...

Oh Lindsey! You are soooo Stranger than Fiction! I know you look adorable and sexy working at that bakery! Has this happened yet?

Kathryn said...

I love seeing your insights into the city and to life.
Hope today is the best day of the week yet. :)

M.C. Sommers said...

I see that someone else thinks that your job seems like a scene out of Stranger than Fiction! You make me want to come visit so badly. We might actually be heading out to DC in April for my friend's wedding. :)

p.s. I got several of the books in your blog header for my birthday. They make me so HAPPY!

MOM said...

You're making me homesick for DC!! AND you!! What a fun blog. :) I feel your energy! (PS-I wish I knew all these fun people who read you and leave comments. Hi everyone!)

MOM said...

Alexis Rockman! What a find! Completely fascinating. You could look at those for hours...very fun, cool art. :)

jbroclayto said...

Lindsey! Sometimes I wish that you were the little ballerina in my music box and I could just pop open my box and see you any time I like. I guess this blog is kinda like a music box. You have an amazing way with words. If you ever printed out your whole blog and made it a book I would buy it.

Erin said...

I love this. And I love DC, it's one of my favorite cities. And I love you.

Judy Anne said...

your city looks/sounds like much fun!!!