Washington, DC is a strange place. Few people are from there, and as a result, people are coming and going constantly. Which means, for one of America’s great cities, a disproportionately high number of people eventually have the “leaving DC” experience.
I am one of those people, having departed earlier this year for Los Angeles, and I’m not saying I’ve been listening to Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” on repeat, but, well, when it comes to DC it IS kind of true. The things that once made you crazy could weirdly become the same things you feel nostalgic for. Such as...
1. How alarmingly aggressive everyone is
While living in DC, many people bemoan the fact that the city is made up of super-zealous, type-A workaholics. “I just need an escape from the city,” you’ll tell your friends, “I feel like I can’t relax here.”
Then you’ll move away from DC, and wonder why the hell everyone in the rest of the country is so goddamn inefficient. Work emails requesting even the most menial things will take hours to be returned. You’ll move to a place (like, oh I don’t know, LOS ANGELES maybe), and your waiter will try to give you his headshot instead of the burger you ordered 30 minutes ago. You’ll find yourself longing for the crisp efficiency of Washington. Elected officials excluded.
2. Conversations that actually have substance
I worked for a national news program while in my first months in DC, and one time after work while getting drinks with my coworkers, one of them asked the group what our opinions were on the merits of offshore balancing.
Offshore balancing, for those of you who don’t obsess over political science, is a concept in international relations relating to how a country chooses to deploy its military power globally. It can also be a somewhat dry topic to bring up over drinks. But after spending way too many hours over the past couple months listening to people give their hot takes on the evils of GMOs and how an Internet article they read really does prove vaccines cause autism, I’d give anything to delve into the subtleties of geopolitical strategy again.