DC, or, The District of Contradiction

Recently Ren said she has this thing about moving to DC in her lifetime and when I went to comment about the city on the post it made me think to write my own post on DC.
Like, duh.

Living near DC all through high school it seemed like just another big city but a big city that had "all of this important stuff there, too." I didn't know what to expect when I moved there. Well, that's a lie. I thought I was going to get a job at NPR, finally securing a paying job in public radio.
But I didn't know what to expect out of the city itself.

Going in, I had two conflicting opinions...each from friends who are very hip in an unhip way, very aware of music and pop culture, and whose views on 'what to do' I would generally trust. One was convinced DC was lame and that it 'hasn't been cool since the '80s.' The other told me it was one of her favorite places ever.**

Needless to say, DC ended up kicking some major ass and I would totally move back later in life once I get California out of my system.
And it wasn't just because they get good shows, have fun bars, have cool people, blah blah blah; those are things I could find in any city, or even a small, one-horse town, which I have done many times before. (sans the horse).

Nope, you. DC, in my opinion, was cool because:

-Unlike, ahem, San Francisco or Berkeley, DC isn't heavy on the diversity self-promotion. Like, they don't have a "We're SO Diverse, It's Fuckin' CRAZY, Man" Day. That being said, I lived in the one of the top 3 most-diverse zip codes in the whole country (20009).

-When you think of America, for whatever reason (school, history class, car commercials) you probably think of: The Capitol, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Viet Nam War Memorial. If not, you're just not an American, goddammit.
JK, of course, but the point is that DC is THE quintessential symbol of the US of A. Funny thing is...it looks more like a European city than, well, most European cities. (Oh, you know...circles with fountains in the middle, neo-classical architecture on every street, bridges, rivers, etc.)
Take that, you RW&B-Tshirted rednecks!

-Despite being the nation's capital--the hub of international and domestic news and policy--I frequently forgot that that whole part was even there. Then once in a while it would strike me, like, "oh yeah! I live in the hub of international and domestic news and policy!"

-That whole taxation-without-representation thing.
In the world's center of modern democracy.

I worked in a French bistro right across from where Abraham Lincoln was shot. I saw the cherry blossoms--a gift from the Japanese earlier last century--in full bloom. I lived blocks away from every embassy from every country you could imagine, big or small.

Thing is, I've never felt more...American.