Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Early Observations

Having been in DC for almost two weeks now, I've started noticing certain patterns when it comes to observing the population and its habits. I am sure at the conclusion of our time here I'll laugh at some of these, but because everything is so new and different compared to where we came from, they stand out as obvious now, so this little list could be fun to laugh (or cringe) at later.

  1. We are DEEP in Hilary country-lots of yard signs, with a small smattering of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. (Fun fact-while Scott was driving across America and searching for radio stations, middle American radio was evangelizing for Trump. Not surprising geographically speaking, but still an interesting observation coming from what I feel is somewhat more of a split region.)
  2. I continue to be impressed by the greenery around me. I've been so desensitized to the drought that walking by front gardens and beautiful lawns is so refreshing. I know I speak for every Californian when I say, I really hope it rains there again. 
  3. There are a lot of dog owners here, and they are pretty responsible about walking said dogs as well as picking up after them (a gripe I've lamented about many times with SIGNAGE while I still lived at home with my parents and as a homeowner myself.) I probably see about 25 people walking their dogs every day from my living room window and being outside or at the park, and in 12 days, only one in those 300 people did not pick up after their canine. Of course that was the one in the parkway so ughh, but still good odds.
  4. Speaking of people walking, everyone here does-to the metro, to the store, to school and work. What I'm surprised by is that unless they are moms they generally all have earbuds in, and are surprised when I make eye contact to say hello. I am of the mind that when you are sharing sidewalk space it's nice to acknowledge one another with just a smile, but perhaps it's so common and that the sidewalks are practically highways themselves, that people just don't do it? I'm not giving up on this one-I WILL get you to smile or accept my greeting!
  5. Two words: The architecture. (I apologize in advance that everything I likely write about will be in comparison to Fullerton. While I wasn't born there, I consider it my city and know it so well, that it will continue to be my benchmark for comparison-this is both a good and bad thing!) Anyway, I love me some Fullerton architecture-we've got craftsman, Mediterranean bungalows, sprawling ranch homes--really an eclectic mix. But we don't have these (Victorian?) townhouse row-style houses and living in another historic district, my eyes have not tired taking in the homes and buildings we're surrounded by. I need to find at least one home and garden tour while we are here.
  6. One similarity I've found slightly humorous are the sounds--I can occasionally hear trains running at night which reminds me of Fullerton and the comforting hum they provide, as well as helicopters. The helicopters fly quite low here--I haven't figured out if they are police helicopters or a higher power, and while the frequency isn't the same, they are low and loud. Overall it's just generally louder. Our home is set back from the sidewalk but when people walk by and the windows are closed, it sounds like they are on our doorstep. My guess is because the buildings are so tall that the sound is bouncing off the walls and amplifying.
  7. Along the same lines are emergency vehicles and the frequency at which they run. Living off Commonwealth in Fullerton, I was used to hearing fire, ambulance, and police sirens each day, but here, it's multiple times a day and down every street; not just main roads. I'm guessing it's just due to the dense population and higher demand for services, but still surprising.
  8. I'll end on the fact that I'm glad we live in an age of smart phones when it comes to navigation. Previously while traveling it was pretty obvious when you were a tourist with your giant map unfolded in front of you. Now, I can blend in more easily as a tourist with my map and GPS concealed in my phone. It's really just this guy that gives me away as more tourist than resident still:


Jen said...

YES. The earbuds! And the greenery! And the dogwalking! And the loudness near where you are!

The first time I was on the Metro there at rush hour, I was like...baffled by how dull everything was with everyone having their earbuds in and not speaking. It was a strange quietness. I mean, I get it, but I'm not sure I'm ok with it?

But the dogwalking is SERIOUS. I guess when no one has fenced-in yards, that's just how you do? So it's all normal to you?

And the greenbelts. Gorgeous. Going there, and the PNW make me long for rain and green-ness SO much more. Seeing sooooo much green just on the sides of highways and in the middle of roads? SO WEIRD. Not a concrete jungle, really.

Erin said...

Yes! So cool that you understand having been here so many times. I agree to the strange quietness with the earbuds.

And yes, the dogwalking-wow! I am actually quite impressed with the responsible pet ownership and getting those dogs out of the house and some exercise in.

And agreed, the greenbelts are amazing. Driving the freeways with the absence of billboards and everything beyond the road covered by overgrown trees is surreal or feels like something out of a movie. We aren't in Kansas anymore!

andrea said...

Having had family in the DC area my entire life, I have been the told that helicopters are a constant presence because they are used to shuttle government officials to and from various buildings, especially between the Pentagon in Virginia and other offices on the DC side of the Potomac.

Erin said...

@Andrea-thank you!

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