14 April 2008

Not in Kansas Anymore (DC Sites)

"Girl from the South", a blogger who has just left DC, writes:

"We decided that you weren’t a jaded Washingtonian until you no longer felt awe or inspiration when gazing upon the Capitol Building or the White House."

I love DC. It's no Cozumel, but it suits me just fine while I'm workin' for a livin'. (Cue Huey Lewis: "Livin' and a-workin', workin' and a-livin', I'm takin' what they're givin' cause I'm workin' for a livin'." [Obligatorytangentinatangent: This link is a 1982 video but you can find him rockin' out just as fine on the same song in this current video, if you don't mind the poor production quality of a bootleg.])

I do react when I see the Capitol Building or the White House but I'm not sure I've ever felt awe or inspiration. Because my reaction has very little to do with what goes on inside these buildings.

I've lived in the DC metro area for over 20 years (first in the MD 'burbs then in the VA 'burbs) and I've always had the same reaction when I see these sites, as well as the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, etc. I think "this is surreal" because it boggles the mind to think that I am living in a place that is so familiar to the rest of the country--nay, the world--whether they've set foot in DC or not. Regardless of what the politicians do or don't do and whether you're a fan of the current political spectacle or not, we live in one of the most recognizable places on earth.

This city has so many famous landmarks; so many recognizable features. Think how many movies and TV shows feature it. The news uses these sites daily as backdrops. It's in every school child's text book. It's on the money in your wallet. That's the Lincoln Memorial (well, duh) on the 5, there, for example. DC is inescapable.

To me, driving into the city and past one of these buildings or monuments is like when the screen turns to color and we're in Oz: FREAKY. I don't take it for granted and I never get used to it. I think it's way cool. I'm happy that Dorothy and Girl from the South found their way home. I'm not trying to get home. I am home, flying monkeys and all.

5 comments:

washwords said...

totally agree. i heart dc. right size city where I walk by the white house and the monuments everyday without thinking about much more than how great they look against the blue, blue sky, but yet, every once in a while still gasping - oh I'm in a congressional hearing, oh i just walked to the monuments, oh the national mall (and rock creek and ) are some of the most amazing true public spaces.

lacochran said...

It's true! And so much of DC is free to explore, too!

Thanks for your comment,
-lacochran

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes we live amongst icons. I love the giants and consider them to be good friends. In particular I'm good friends with the Capitol, since it's only 10 blocks away.

I've danced with these icons, gossiped with them, put my hands on them and delivered Reiki, photographed them endlessly, (but never with people standing in front of them, waving).

Great post! I like it here, too, including the flying monkeys.

Angelo De La Vega said...

I wasn’t dumbfounded with DC wonder until I re-watched the 1951 sci-fi classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” When the sympathetic alien protagonist is pursued along 14th street, he cruises through my neighborhood, and then proceeds along a route I travel every morning. I’m not sure why our bills, text books, and news shows never had a similar impact, but that movie really made me feel like I was participating in something historical significant.

lacochran said...

Reya: When you dance with an icon, who leads?

Angelo: I'm embarrassed to say I've never seen this classic. Maybe I can catch it on the Sci Fi channel.

Thanks for your comments!