I love to visit D.C. Every ethnic restaurant is represented (I love food!), visiting family, walking everywhere, the Mall, the shopping, but most of all, I enjoy being in the total opposite of what I am used to—a small town in Northern New Mexico.
Washington D.C. is palpable—this energy of “doing.” It is in the air like a leaf quivering in an imperceptible breeze. Young mothers push baby strollers while talking or texting on their smart phone. On morning walks, I pass young staffers as they stride to their senator’s or congress person’s office, brief case slung over the shoulder, ear buds on and phone in hand. Honking horns are not a melody—well, they aren’t a melody anywhere I suppose—their constant beeping signaling “get on with it, get moving” if the car in front of them hasn’t moved within 2 seconds of the green light. Movers lug boxes in and out of row houses as tenants relocate. Police guarded motorcades, black Suburbans all cloned from the same manufacturing lane, reverberate their presence with the incessant sirens. It is exhausting to the eyes and ears for me.
Thankfully, we realize we do need quiet spaces to recoup and regenerate our minds:
D.C. is a young person’s, career making, 80-hour work week, networking town all under the political mother ship. Old houses and schools are being renovated and turned into condominiums and new condominiums are being built in urban renewal areas. Cranes compete with jets in the skylines as their yellow buckets bring down another load of 19th century bricks. More and more neighborhoods epitomize the word gentrification. Generational ties of school, church, history, families and neighbors are lost as higher income populations move to DC.
It isn’t just here in DC, it is throughout the US. History is lost. A rift happens. The old timers eventually die or move out. And where do the people go? Move further away from a town’s center where prices are more affordable and taking with them the small tailor shop, dry-cleaning shop, Hair by Lucille, Mame’s Pies, the corner meat market. A generic living center takes their place with coffee shops, trendy restaurants, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
Driving from Maine to DC, crisscrossing through the New England States, these changes in DC are not surprising to me. But, perhaps, since I am walking everywhere here and I am not accustomed to city life, this turbulence has unsettled me. I remember when living at my family’s ranch and silence reigned, visitors would say, “It was so quiet last nite, I couldn’t sleep.” Travel is constant change, be aware and appreciate the challenge of acceptance.
Take good care, Lisa & Alice