Friday, May 13, 2011

A Dear John Letter to My City

Dear Washington, DC., 

     This is not easy for me to write, and believe me, I am not taking this lightly.  It just doesn't seem to be working out.  It's not you, it's me.  Well, I guess it's a little bit you, but really, I'm willing to take a decent amount of the blame.
     The difficult part, really, is that now we have to enter the part of our relationship where we pretend to make it work.  We know it's not going to work out, but we pretend for the kids, or in this case, because there is a legally binding lease preventing me from packing up all my shit an leaving you in my rear view mirror.  We're like those divorced couples who have to live together because the recession has affected absolutely everything.  I can't afford to live without you and you don't mind me being around so much because at least I don't litter and I pay my taxes.  At a minimum, I help you appear to be more gentrified.  Sure, you may be slowly draining any soul or sense of self I once had, but at least I've already mastered your public transit system.
     You may feel a little blind-sided by this.  I understand that.  You did your best.  You provided free museums and reasonably priced sushi, both within walking distance.    How were you to know that I would prefer the rat-infested urine-soaked train lines of Boston and New Your City?  Sometimes, District, I find your silence deafening.  Also, this may seem trite, but I have had it with your escalator issues.  You spend more time fixing them than you do keeping them operational.  Why do you even have them?  At this point, I think it would be more economical and less frustrating to replace them with stairs.  Except for the ones at Dupont Circle, because people aren't meant to climb up 10 flights of stairs.  I guess I'm just saying that rather than spending all your time, money, and effort fixing the 1952 clunker, why not just replace it with a shiny 2011 model?  
     Also, District, your police cars.  At the risk of sounding like a stand-up comic, what is the deal with your police cars?  First, they always have at least one light illuminated, usually blinking.  For the first two weeks of our courtship, I thought I was constantly being pulled over.  I eventually just gave up driving rather than trying to decipher their light codes.  And the siren.  It's the worst.  Of all the sirens I've heard before, and I've heard a lot (don't give me that, you know I've been to other towns), yours is the worst.  How to describe it?  Bwap.  Bwap.  Pause.  Bwap. Bwap.  It's like a high pitched ape mating call.  
     If it helps at all, our friends are on your side.  They have gone so far as to calling me a dummy straight to my face.  "What's not to love?" they ask.  I try to explain that your relationship with them and your relationship with me are just different.  They don't see the things I see.  They find your traffic circles quaint and your diagonal state-named roads running through your supposed grid layout to be "easy to follow" and "not fucking ridiculous."  Having four separate M streets is fun for them.  So no worries there, DC, you still get to hang out with our friends.  This is another example of where I actually do believe it's not you, it's me.  We just don't fit well together.  
     There isn't anything you need to do.  I'm confident you'll find another girl who actually enjoys being overrun by douchebags and humorless sycophants.  We gave it a try, but when you get right down to it, I'm just not for you.  I hope you can understand.  
     The hardest part of this breakup is, as I previously mentioned, I'm not actually leaving.  I'm going to continue to go through the motions, but I felt as though you should know, when you look into my eyes, a dead soul will be staring back at you.  We'll keep up appearances and I will continue to tell acquaintances that you're lovely.  Your weather is mild and your culture is varied and approachable.  I promise to not speak ill of you; again, I know you gave it your best shot.
     I hope we can still be friends, and I would very much like to visit and still use your Metro system.  Even though I think it's generally terrible, it is better than being shot while walking through the hill.  I apologize.  My impropriety has led me down a dark path.  I know you're trying to clean yourself up.  
     So, if it's ok by you, I'm going to stick around for a little while longer.  I plan to ride your Metro and maybe visit a museum and enjoy your sushi, but my heart won't be in it.  Please don't expect too much from me.  This is now strictly for appearances until the economy turns around or I find something better. 

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