Summer Tour, Part II: The Capitol Charade

3 Aug

So, friends: we’ve arrived. We’re officially past the honeymoon (or in twenty-something commitment-phobe terms, with which I’m HOBviously more comfortable, the everything-you-do-is-cute-i-just-want-to-text-you-all-the-time phase) and into that supremely awkward discovery-of-things-we’d-rather-not-know stage. When getting to know me, this typically involves a very genuine, but I’m sure no less frustrating, disappearing act.

So, my apologies. July took me on a whirlwind tour – and I promise, delicious recipes inspired by these journeys from coast to coast will soon follow – but for now, I leave you with some ruminations on a stop I keep coming back to.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Our nation’s capital. I’d always expected this to be a very dry, white-washed place – and no doubts pockets of it are, and will become again. I think what struck me most about it was this two-sided shock of arrogance : first, that I could believe a place so truly rich in history could actually somehow be devoid of an energy sparked by those driven to live there; and second, by the arrogance of a place that draws such fascinating people from all backgrounds, yet still takes its own identity from a symbol it’s literally impossible to capture in a manner more complex than this:

Really, America? Really.

Seriously, though. I tried as we walked the miles up the mall. I tried from a distance and I tried close up. But you just can’t avoid this:

no but REALLY.

Truly, though, besides the allusions I have a tough time…um… swallowing… I once heard DC was a place that had a million different underground scenes, and I think what’s so different about it than other places I’ve been is that they’re not really underground – here, expressing what you find important is expected. Staying with the person I am lucky enough to count a friend whom I admire most in the world, GlyderGrl (uh oh, sorry friend, but I just found your classy-ass professional profile), I was introduced to a world full of bougie pleasures, free from much of the guilt I typically associate with indulging these – because these people are actually involved with something they care about. I’ll repeat in case many of you didn’t understand, actually involved with something they care about, namely through the Congressional Hunter Center (though I gotta be honest, it’s no “Center for Justice,” Kate’s previous place of employ – perhaps my favorite organizational title ever).

Our generational struggle for a way to pay to rent that doesn’t suck our collective soul in the process is something that seeps guiltily out in various ways. One of the silliest?

The prime hipster food obsession dujour: the food cart. After all, what better way to escape the mundanity of your daily cubeland braindead zone than by hopping on the “social network” we all know is most useless to chart out the location of overpriced, mediocre lunch food sloughed from a moving target?

And sorry San Francisco, though you may take your greatest pride in what you percieve to be your undisputed hipster foodie superiority, you’ve been SERVED.

Curry Up, the Indian burrito truck Aarti and I took 45 minutes out of one typically annoyingly busy day to find and wait in an impossibly creeping line for in our own Financial District, served up chalky cheese that left me feeling full of unpleasant sensations I don’t feel the need to detail for my closest friends and farthest internet acquaintances. Ultimately, all they’ve got going for them is one pun. Please.

DC’s Fojol Bros of Merlindia, on the other hand, manages to dish all the ridiculous ish you should if you’re making your daily living desperately trying to legally park a food truck in the barren concrete wasteland of an American center of global commerce.

The lack of soundtrack is really making these baggy officeworkers look sad.

Ridiculous conceit? Check. Blaring disco music and flashing mirrors? Yuh huh. Organic-sustainable-better-than-you folosophy? Obviously. And last and in this case, probably least, yummy food for a price that won’t give you indigestion? Even that.

this picture even LOOKS humid. 100 degree july, how i secretly miss you.

So maybe that’s it. Washington, D.C., seems to do things with a conviction that make the rest of us, busy pretending to have things like “pride” and “cynicism,” look like the sheepish commitment-phobes we are.

To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever believe any principle enough to stand behind it as much as those who populate this city clearly do whatever theirs may be; but in the meantime, I can certainly try to hold myself and my surroundings to a standard of which they’re deserving.

Like maybe writing in this godforsaken blog once every week. 😉

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